Efforts to meet the needs of 7.2 billion people for food, water, and energy will fail unless these three sectors are fully understood as a system of interdependent components; and solutions are developed based on multi-sector engagement.

The complexity of this challenge begins with the assertions that: [1] water supply is influence by demands from energy and food sectors; [2] food production requires both water and energy; and, [3] energy requires water for a large fraction of its operations. Climate change, in particular drought, only exacerbates the system balance.

Fortunately, rapid advances in science and innovations in technology and practices are creating capabilities to more effectively understand the connections between food, energy and water systems in new ways. These advances can change the day-to-day practices of farmers, engineers, resource managers, and policy-makers to meet human needs in a far more sustainable manner.

On January 19th, one thousand innovative thinkers in science, technology, policy, governance, business, education and civil society will gather to work across traditional boundaries and address big questions such as:

  1. How will we feed the 9.6 billion people expected to be alive in 2050 while also meeting their needs for water and energy and improving the environment?
  2. What are the opportunities to improve water and energy efficiency and reduce food waste such that every improvement in one area yields gains in all areas?
  3. What are the strategies for resilience in the face of increased climate variability and other environmental changes?
  4. How do we unleash scientific talent, technological advances, human ingenuity and entrepreneurialism, with wise public policy to meet essential human needs and restore the earth’s environment, both regionally and globally?

The conference will emphasize putting ideas into action – moving forward on policy and practice.

This is a conference designed to challenge thinking and spur creativity. Participants will take away new ideas, new relationships, and increased motivation to contribute to addressing these integrated challenges in new ways.

The National Council for Science and Environment is engaging leaders in all sectors of society to shape the conference, select sessions and speakers, and make it a catalyst for progress. Partnering organizations will connect the conference to specific initiatives to advance solutions and engage participants over the long term.