15 Apr 2015, 07:26 am Print
The report – entitled Towards a water and food secure future and launched today at the World Water Forum in concomitance with the World Water Council – urges government policies and public and private investment to ensure that crops, livestock and fish are sustainably produced in ways also aimed at safeguarding water resources.
“Water, as an irreplaceable element of achieving this end, is already under pressure by increasing demands from other uses, exacerbated by weak governance, inadequate capacities, and under investment,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, in a press release marking the report's publication.
She said, “In an era of accelerated changes unparalleled to any in our past, our ability to provide adequate, safe and nutritious food sustainably and equitably is more relevant than ever.”
FAO statistics note that by 2050 some 60 per cent more food will be needed to feed the world, placing added stress on water supplies as global agriculture rushes to meet that demand.
In addition, the dire straits facing the world’s water situation was recently amplified in the UN’s 2015 World Water Development report, released by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and in time for World Water Day, marked each year on 22 March.
According to UNESCO, the planet will face a 40 per cent shortfall in water supply in 2030 unless the international community “dramatically” improves water supply management. Demand for water is slated to skyrocket 55 per cent by 2050 while 20 per cent of global groundwater is already overexploited.
Improvements to the overall outlook, however, are possible, says the FAO.
In its report, the UN agency, in fact, calls for governments to help farmers increase food output using increasingly limited water resources and empowering them to better manage risks associated with water scarcity. Moreover, water rights, the report states, need to be allocated in fair and inclusive ways.
“This is an opportune time to re-visit our public policies, investment frameworks, governance structures and institutions,” Semedo concluded.
Photo: FAO/Riccardo Venturi
- Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative
- New UN agency projects to boost farming practices, improve farm animal health
- Conflict casts shadow on fight to end hunger in some regions – UN agriculture agency
- Thousands in DR Congo’s Kasais to benefit from UN food, nutrition efforts, but challenges remain
- UN agency helps farmers in Latin America broaden their market horizons