by Shenggen Fan Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) March 22, 2014 –Washington, D.C.
On the occasion of World Water Day, it is imperative that all nations and stakeholders rise to the collective challenge of using water sustainably. Anything less will imperil our ability to feed the planet and provide clean drinking water for all, not only today, but as the world’s population rises to more than 9 billion by 2050.
As water is essential to produce food, it is a vital component of global food security. With increasing urbanization and industrialization around the world, securing adequate, quality water will help to ensure the production of nutritious, safe, and healthy foods. This is especially important as climate change will make water even more scarce and availability unpredictable in many food producing regions.
The world’s food system also needs to contribute to sustainable water management practices so that the world can have enough clean drinking water as well as water for environmental services. Governments must support improvements in water productivity and conservation by adopting wiser policies that incentivize efficient and sustainable water use, while meeting the needs of the poor and hungry, if we hope to achieve the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.