‘It is our duty to act now’: WWC and FAO unite to combat water and food security

The World Water Council (WWC) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) have agreed to increase their collaboration amidst growing concerns about global water and food security.

The two organisations will expand their joint activity in areas including technology development, education of water professionals and promoting sustainable cooperation between water and agriculture sectors.

Both groups are seeking to address fears that future water shortages could lead growing to local and regional tensions. Crucially, they plan to cooperate in activities designed to put water security higher on the political agenda and mobilise political will to fight against water scarcity, hunger and poverty.

WWC’s president Benedito Braga stressed the necessity of major changes in policy and management and the need for action from governments around the world. “With FAO, the WWC will support and encourage governments to act in favour of water and food security to fight against hunger and poverty,” he said.

FAO’s director-general José Graziano da Silva added: “The recently-released working group reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) present compelling evidence on the threat that climate change poses to food security. It is our duty to act now.”

The partnership between the WWC – which has more than 300 member organisations – and the FAO – which consists of 194 member nations – will look to address pressing issues ranging from crop water productivity and water conservation to eradicating hunger and driving political action. The two organisations are planning their first major joint activity at a High-level Panel on Water for Food Security, led by the FAO, to be held in the Republic of Korea in April 2015. 

Taking the initiative

This new agreement comes amidst growing awareness about the threat of water scarcity by the business community. Last September, edie reported that 500 million people could be at risk from a lack of water, even if global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.  

Meanwhile, a number of major multinational food companies have stepped up efforts to improve water sustainability. Earlier this month, Coca Cola announced that it was on track to become ‘water neutral’ by 2020, replenishing 108.5 billion litres of water.

Nestlé has also committed to a 40% water reduction across EU operations with executive vice president Nandu Nandkishore predicting that water will soon become the most precious commodity in the world.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie