S-A3 Opportunities for Innovative Applications in Sustainable Development

While the more developed nations of the world struggle with transforming their food, energy and water systems to reduce adverse environmental impacts, the developing nations of the world face additional challenges. They must also meet the fundamental needs of their growing populations for nutritious food, clean water, and access to energy. Simply having these resources, often taken for granted by affluent populations, is core aspirations for billions of people today and is embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September. This session will explore the “chokepoints” confronting sustainable development and innovative solutions in different parts of the world for achieving these goals in an integrated manner.

Moderator: TBD


  • Diego Rodriguez, Senior Economist, Water Global Practice, The World Bank
  • Jennifer Turner, Director, China Environment Forum and Manager, Global Choke Point Initiative, Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Richenda Van Leeuwen, Executive Director, Energy Access, United Nations Foundation
  • Hugh Welsh, President and General Counsel, DSM North America

Richenda Van Leeuwen leads the UN Foundation’s work on energy access and engagement with the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. She founded UNF’s Energy Access Practitioner Network, www.energyaccess.org a 2,000+ member global network of private companies and public sector organizations supporting market-led solutions for decentralized energy access in developing countries. She joined the UN Foundation in 2010 from Good Energies, a global renewable energy private equity firm, and previously served as CEO of Trickle Up, a microenterprise development non-profit. She serves on the board of SELCO India, and as an advisor to many off-grid energy companies. 202-758-5037, rvanleeuwen@unfoundation.org, Twitter: @VanLeeuwenR

Hugh Welsh serves on several DSM global and regional management teams and is responsible for legal, government affairs, corporate communications, financial and HR and other shared services, corporate partnerships and DSM’s sustainability, inclusion and diversity initiatives in the region North America. DSM joined forces with the World Food Programme in 2007 to form the “Improving Nutrition, Improving Lives” partnership, lending its expertise to help improve the nutritional value of the food WFP distributes to those in need. Before joining DSM, Hugh worked for the American Standard Companies McCarter & English LLP and others. Hugh currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Chemistry Council, Partners in Food Solutions, the Safe America Foundation, Tri-State Diversity Council and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Diego Rodriguez is the task team leader of the World Bank initiative on the quantification of the tradeoffs of the energy-water nexus (Thirsty Energy) and the Program Manager of the Water Partnership Program. He is currently also providing support to operational teams on the use of economic analysis in large water infrastructure investments under deep uncertainty. Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked at the Danish Hydraulic Institute and the Inter-American Development Bank. He has more than 20 years of experience in sectoral, operational, policy, and strategy development in water supply, sanitation, and water resources management. (202-473-3432; drodriguez1@worldbank.org; Twitter: @diegorod_water)

Jennifer Turner has been the director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center for 13 years. She has created meetings, exchanges and publications focusing on a variety of energy and environmental challenges facing China, particularly on water, energy and climate challenges, as well as environmental nongovernmental organizations, environmental journalism, and environmental governance in China. Her current projects are: [1] Choke Point: China—a multimedia and convening initiative uncovering how energy is impacting water in China; [2] Cooperative Competitors—research and exchanges on U.S.-China energy and climate cooperation; and, [3] Complex Connections—meetings and research examining environmental impact of Chinese investment overseas.

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