In the last ten years or so, the global interest in, and concerns about, the issue of how the world shall provide a growing population with sufficient food, bioenergy and wood raw material has attracted increasing attention. Will land and water resources be enough, how shall they be best managed to achieve increased production and productivity without causing far-reaching negative environmental and social side-effects, will climate change make solutions more difficult, will there be financial means and know-how available to address all challenges and opportunities?
These and other questions occupy governments, institutions and individuals around the world today. At the same time, the sense of urgency to address the situation, both locally and globally, has increased in the recent past with the surges in global food prices, the alarming apparent increase in climatic events with disastrous impact on crops and forests, the many controversial deals related to transfer of land tenure rights witnessed in Africa, etc. And, as a timely reminder of what it all boils down to, viz. the increase in number of people concerned, the global population passed the 7 billion mark just in between the two seminars reported in this publication.
Several members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) are directly or indirectly involved in work related to the global supply of food, wood and bioenergy – as policymakers and experts at Swedish or international level, as private company and institutional leaders, and/or as scientists.
The need to integrate water issues in land management planning is one of these cross-sectoral challenges. Another concerns the production and use of biofuels, which should be fit into an overall resource strategy, covering energy,
climate, land-use, water and agricultural issues, if their deployment is to benefit society, the economy and the environment as a whole. Land tenure issues have also come to be of particular concern in the context of global
demand for production of food, fibre and fuel since increased competition for land has placed further stresses on land tenure systems. One issue that has been widely discussed as a consequence of past years’ large-scale transnational
land acquisitions is how to secure land tenure rights for local and forest-dependent people in negotiations on land deals. In this context, water tenure must not be forgotten.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.