Natural Resources in the Global Economy – Royal Academy of Engineering Debate

Natural Resources in the Global Economy – Debate 3.

In this series of debates, The Royal Academy of Engineering is tackling some of the most pressing challenges that the world currently faces in relation to the demand and supply of natural resources. The series brings together engineers, industry leaders, economists and policy makers to debate the various aspects of these challenges and to explore the possible solutions on a global scale. The debates also provide participants with an opportunity to influence policy: key messages emerging from the series will be captured in a report to policy makers and will form the basis of future Academy work in this area.

The motion to be addressed in this third debate is:

This House believes that when water is in short supply, engineers should prioritise human needs over environmental concerns.

In 2010, the United Nations declared access to clean, safe drinking water a human right. For numerous governments and NGOs in drought-stricken regions, meeting the basic water needs of human populations is the number one priority. However, meeting those needs can cause serious damage to biodiversity and ecosystem services that can in turn affect global water security. Should engineering solutions in areas under water stress focus on providing water to human beings, or should the environmental effects of their interventions be given equal prominence?


Professor Sir William Wakeham FREng, Senior Vice-President and Honorary
International Secretary of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Speakers will include:

Trevor Bishop, Head of Water Resources at the Environment Agency
Dr Sue Cavill, Associate of the Water, Engineering and Development Centre
Professor Chris Binnie FREng, Independent Consultant and water specialist
Dr Jean Venables CBE FREng, Director of Crane Environmental


6:00pm Registration and refreshments
6:30pm Debate
8:00pm Drinks Reception
9:00pm Close


The British Academy
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH


To reserve a place at this debate please contact Holly Wright on or 020 7766 0612