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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Agriculture holds key to water crisis and food security — FAO

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BEIJING—Agriculture can help conserve the world’s overstretched water resources and make sure people have enough to eat and drink, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said.

In remarks at the recent opening of the 18th World Water Congress here, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said agriculture holds the solutions to the global water crisis, as well as the key to achieving global water and food security by increasing efficiency, reducing negative impacts and reusing wastewater.

With agriculture responsible for more than 70 percent of global freshwater use and availability of water for the sector widely threatened by dwindling resources, climate change and competition for other uses, water is high on FAO’s agenda.

Source: FAO

Semedo outlined an array of water-related initiatives as part of the organization’s “New Water Journey” focusing on integrated water resources for agriculture and food security–and contributing to the achievement of multiple sustainable development goals.

FAO established the FAO Water Productivity Open-access portal (WaPOR) and the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG) platforms to support countries with data and information.

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It launched the Global Dialogue on Water Tenure to explore how to recognize informal and customary water users, to more equitably and accurately account for all users.

FAO is committed to the Global Water Action Agenda as agreed at the UN 2023 Water Conference to ensure there is enough water for all and it is of sufficient quantity and quality for maintaining biodiversity.

In December last year, COP15, or the UN Biodiversity Conference, adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework—a landmark agreement that sets out an ambitious vision for a world living in harmony with nature. Food and agriculture are crucial parts of the framework, calling for linkages between biodiversity, water and climate and food security agenda, Semedo noted.

Semedo stressed that ecosystem-based solutions and sustainable management of natural resources are key. Prioritizing green and blue infrastructure for agriculture and fisheries and aquaculture can enhance water quality, maintain biodiversity and provide other benefits to agri-food systems and rural areas.

The success of each hinges on holistically and coherently integrating sustainable water management as part of agreed actions–especially in agrifood systems.

“We need collaborative frameworks between governments, international organizations, academia, research institutions, local communities and the private sector to ensure inclusive and sustainable planning, financing, governance and implementation,” said Soneda.

As the clock ticks towards the 2030 timeline for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, “we need to make water flow for people and planet,” she said. FAO News

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