3rd International Forum on Water and Food

More than 300 participants gathered in Tshwane, South Africa for the 3rd International Forum on Water and Food to address issues related to food security, poverty reduction and sustainable natural resource management.

Increasingly severe droughts caused by climate change are stripping many of the world’s most vulnerable people of the land they need to grow their food. Photo: IUCN Photo Library © IUCN / Alicia Wirz

The International Forum on Water and Food is the premier gathering of water and food scientists working on improving water management for agricultural production in developing countries.

Katharine Cross, IUCN ESARO Technical Coordinator for Water and Wetlands (Acting), was invited to take part in the policy impact panel during the Forum. Questions put forward during the discussions revolved around how does work on water and food provide new answers to the dominant development challenges of poverty, food security and the environment? And what does research for development have to offer that is new in addressing the water and food crisis?

IUCN is concerned specifically with the ecosystem links to the different aspects of food security and the ability of ecosystems to continue to provide goods and services that support long term food security. This includes improving society’s resilience to change (i.e. reduce vulnerability to shocks and pressures that affect food security) through the mitigation of risk, including challenges posed by economic shocks, environmental degradation, climatic change, and natural disasters.

The Forum also looked at how the Challenge Programme on Water and Food (CPWF) research is addressing issues related to food security, poverty reduction and sustainable natural resource management.

Research cannot stand alone, there has to be an implementation strategy and needs to be driven by policy from local to ministerial level. It can be a very powerful link to guide future policies and decisions, but needs to be communicated appropriately”, said Katharine Cross.

IUCN is well placed to work with CPWF by taking the research being developed and using it to provide technical guidance to support governments.

A summary of the Policy Impact Panel findings is posted here.

Cross also took part in a debate discussing the motion 'This house believes that research-for-development is highly relevant, even essential, in addressing both the Africa and Global water and food challenges'. Other panelists included Simon Cook (Coordinator, Basin Focal Project at CPWF), Phera Ramoeli (Senior Program Manager (Water) at SADC Secretariat), Daniel Zimmer (Director Innovation at Climate KIC), Marta Echavarría (EcoDecision Cia Ltda), and Rivka Kfir (Water Research Commission).

For content and further materials from the 3rd Intl Forum on Water and Food, please visit the website: http://www.waterandfood.org/ifwf3/

Work area: 
East and Southern Africa
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