If soil is the body of agriculture, then water is its lifeblood. However, we are going to have to get used there not being enough to go around if we continue to pursue current development pathways in agriculture and elsewhere.
Water use expanded at over double the rate of population growth in the twentieth century. The population is predicted to grow further by 2 billion to 9.3 billion in 2050. Combined with changing diets, we will need to produce almost 50 per cent more food to meet demand. This means the available pool of water faces greater stress. At the same time, climate change is predicted to have a massive impact on water availability by drastically altering hydrological regimes across the globe.
At least two-thirds of the global population, over 4 billion people, live with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year. And the situation is set to worsen as populations are growing, economies are developing and climate is changing.
FAO and its partners responded by launching the Global Framework for Action on Water Scarcity at COP22 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The Global Framework brings together key players across the globe to tackle the collective challenge of using water better in agriculture to ensure food security for all. It is a call for partners from all fields and backgrounds to work together to support countries in implementing their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) related to agriculture and water, and in achieving the food security and water-related targets of the 2030 Agenda.
The Global Framework currently has thirty partners from research institutions, think tank organizations, global partnerships, the United Nations and international agencies. The first operational Meeting of Partners is taking place on 19 - 20 April 2017 in Rome to discuss the structure and mechanisms of cooperation.
At the end of the Meeting, the partners will work on a joint statement - the Rome Statement on Water Scarcity - highlighting the importance of the agricultural sectors in coping with water scarcity for food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Partners Meeting - Concept Note - Coping with water scarcity in agriculture