As World leaders forged two new big deals in late 2015 – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Climate Change Agreements – over 200 experts and technical officers working in fields related to land and water management, participated in the 3rd Land and Water Days held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, from 10 to 12 November 2015. The three-day event was organized by FAO, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), with support from a Steering Committee composed of
dedicated colleagues from the three Rome-based agencies (RBAs).Knowledge gaps were identified; in particular the need to ensure that all technical knowledge be “people-centred”. As such, the real challenge is to allow existing tools and knowledge to be linked strategically to facilitate better integration between biophysical and socio-economic information.
Stakeholder engagement and participation, as well as negotiation amongst different interests, that are not limited to the agriculture sector, are central to addressing land and water issues. Finally, it is important to communicate effectively with policy makers to ensure more effective policy reforms and programmes.
The exacerbation of the linkages between water scarcity and land degradation, food security and nutrition, with recurrent shocks and emerging issues, such as human mobility and migration, rural youth unemployment, and lack of social protection, were among the topics debated needing more attention. In fact, when designing projects, it is crucial to take into account the complexity of the situation in a given context and use a multisectorial approach in mainstreaming land and water actions.
Three main overarching themes – governance, integrated approaches and climate change/risk and resilience – were at the centre of the three-day event. Experts from across FAO, IFAD, WFP Headquarters and Country Offices, and project partners, shared the challenges they face in linking land and water governance across scales (from local, to national, to global levels), presented the different integrated approaches they developed and are currently working on, and discussed the ever growing challenges faced by the agriculture
sector in view of the new realities of climate change and resilience building.
Participants raised many issues and concerns regarding the complexity of achieving the highest awareness possible in order for policy makers to give priority to water scarcity and land degradation to ensure sustainable food production, as these are receiving inadequate attention compared to some other sectors that receive subsidy, such as energy and health. Several existing approaches, concepts, frameworks, guidelines, data portals and assessment tools were presented.
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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information.
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.