“I hope people will understand the integration of food, energy and water (sectors). Each one of these has to be seen as part of the whole,” Pachauri tells SciDev.Net ahead of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, being organised by The Energy and Resources Research Institute this week (6—8 February).
Pachauri observed that as populations and incomes continue to grow, the demand on the three sectors was also growing, calling for efficient use of resources in all three areas and attention to the technological and economic issues linked to them.
“I think that what we hope to do is ensure that all these three (sectors) are seen as the integrated elements of a much larger complex. And I think that we would have to make sure that each one of these is seen in terms of how developments are going to take place in the future,” he said.
He cited as examples of the inter-linkages among the three areas as the fact that energy was needed to provide water for irrigation and how water was needed to carry out any agriculture.
Lisa Grande, United Nations Development programme (UNDP's) resident representative in India, said in a message that food, energy and water security were the greatest challenges facing India, and the "magnitude of these problems is serious".
About 40 per cent of India's blocks are facing groundwater depletion, 400 million people in India are off-grid and do not have regular electricity supply; and a very high percentage of people face food insecurity, she said.
Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and United Nations Environment programme (UNEP) executive director said the challenges of food, water and energy security are challenges not specific only to India, but also the sub-continent and the world as a whole.
Steiner said the UNEP has been trying to address the three sectors together as a systemic challenge to a green and more sustainable economy in which the social, economic and environmental dimensions are addressed in an integrated manner.