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1st Conference on the water-energy-food nexus in the GCC between Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands

16 November 2017

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Secretary General of the IEF, Dr Sun Xiansheng, was honoured to host HE Guido Landheer, Deputy Vice Minister for Foreign Economic Relations of the Netherlands, and Dutch delegation leader at the 1st Conference on the "Water, Energy, and Food Nexus" in the GCC, between Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands on 16 November 2017. Senior representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia welcomed delegates and took part in the conference to enhance dialogue on sustainable synergies between water, energy, and food sectors with senior representatives from the public and private sector, as well as technology and research centres from the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and other GCC countries.  

The conference is part of a wider initiative of the Netherlands to structure collaboration with Saudi Arabia, as well as with other GCC countries, through a comprehensive dialogue on these sectors, turning challenges into opportunities and enhancing options for synergies and sustainable development. After Australia organised a similar initiative on the IEF platform in Riyadh on 16 April 2014, the outcomes of this second initiative by the Netherlands, serves to inform the IEF energy dialogue on key developments in this area and help advance a healthy functioning of codependent water, energy, and food sectors, in line with sustainable development, greenhouse gas emission, energy security, and transition goals. 

The full agenda, including backgrounds is available for download under key documents, along with speeches and presentations given below.

Welcome and opening statements:

Setting the scene "Small planet, big issues – water, energy and food" - Alexander Verbeek, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Stockholm International Water Institute, (SEI/SIWI) Sweden

Objective of this conference - Dr Hans van der Beek, Agricultural Counsellor for the GCC, Embassy of the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia

Presentation "Sabic’s sustainability highlights" - Pieter Smeets, SABIC, Saudi Arabia

Presentation "Preliminary results of energy, water and food in traditional and high-tech greenhouses" - Jouke Campen, Wageningen University & Research, on behalf of “Estidamah”, the Netherlands & Saudi Arabia

Panel session 1: Fostering sustainable synergies between water, energy and food



  • Geoff Toms, Deltares, the Netherlands
  • Jack Castelein, Almarai, Saudi Arabia
  • Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia 
  • Omar Ouda, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
  • Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU), Saudi Arabia

Panel session 2: Perspectives from government, industry and knowledge centers on fostering sustainable synergies between water, energy and food



Key Links

Agricultural Office of the Netherlands Report on the Fruitful 1st edition of Dutch-Saudi Water-Energy-Food Nexus Conference

Australian Council for Arab Relations - IEF "Food Energy Water Nexus" Forum 16 April 2016