Friday, September 14, 2012

Water and Food Security: Key Agenda of the World Water Week 2012

 “There is no food security without water security”, quoted Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), at the inaugural session of the World Water Week 2012. The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) organized ‘World Water Week 2012’ from August, 26-31, in Stockholm, Sweden. This year, about 3000 participants attended this global forum to discuss the key theme: ‘Water and Food Security’ for a hunger free world. Politicians, mayors, scientists, water professionals and leaders of the international organizations from more than 100 nations participated in the discussion sessions, workshops and other events. The main motto was to raise a common voice for ‘water and food security’. In the opening session, Honorable Mohamed Bahaa El Din Sad, Minister for Water and Irrigation, Egypt, and President of the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) conveyed that food, energy, ecological footprint and various social and economical activities have direct linkages to water resources, and its improper management in a changing climatic scenario makes the future of water and food production highly uncertain. The Honorable Minister also emphasized the need for altering water policies in order to meet the food demand of 9 billion people by 2045. He stressed further on the need for more efficient use of water and improvement in the food production systems.  Even today, while, 900 million people from all over the world suffer from hunger and two billion people face severe health risks from under-nourishment, about 1.5 billion people over-eat and one third of the food is wasted or spoilt. Estimation has shown that demand for food is likely to increase by 70 percent mid of the century, and without intervention, untenable pressure on water resources in many regions will threaten food and water security.

Poster presentation by Uthpal Kumar in the World Water Week 2012.

I got an opportunity to present a poster on “Opportunity and Adverse Impact of Wastewater Reuse in Agriculture in Peri-Urban Areas of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.” I received positive responses from water resources experts, who gave countenance to the understanding that institutional framework for the wastewater reuse system goes a long way, not only in reducing human and environmental risks, but also in formalizing the system for sustainability in food security in urban and peri-urban areas. During the closing session, development partners raised their voice for better co-operation across all societies for water and food security around the globe and requested for more investment funds to increase water use efficiency with the latest technologies that also help in conserving the Mother Earth.  

Follow-up discussion with an Indian Scientist on scope of an institutional framework for waste water reuse for agriculture in the developing countries like India and Bangladesh.

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