Partnerships and cooperation for food and agriculture | UN World Water Development Report 2023 – UNESCO

UN World Water Development Report 2023
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Groundwater, making the invisible visible
UN World Water Development Report 2023
Water allocation from agriculture to urban centres has become a common strategy to meet rapidly growing freshwater needs in growing cities. Whilst successful from a city perspective it can lead to increased constraints on water for food security.
This can be addressed through partnerships and cooperation to make agricultural water use more efficient.
 
Competition for freshwater between cities and agriculture is projected to grow due to rapid urbanization, for which urban water demand is projected to increase by 80% by 2050.  Roughly one-third of the world’s cities that are dependent on surface water are facing competition with agriculture, which uses approximately 72% of the global freshwater withdrawals.
Collective action and negotiations through multi-stakeholder participation can lead to innovative solutions for water reallocation to agriculture, fisheries and urban water users.
Water User Associations (WUAs) are an example of such approaches and can be successful where built on democratic processes involving other local institutions such as village councils or religious groups.
The actors involved in WUAs often include farmers, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, development institutions, development banks, and in some cases the private sector. Underperformance is often attributed to weak partnerships, particularly lack of inclusion of women, that lead to poor implementation and unclear roles and responsibilities.
Over the past decade, water–energy–food–ecosystem (WEFE) nexus emerged as a powerful approach to address the complex and interrelated nature of global resource systems needed for humankind to achieve social, economic and environmental goals. The nexus approach integrates across all sectors and considers a holistic vision of sustainability that seeks to balance the different goals, interests and needs of people and the environment.
In a world where countries are struggling to adapt their agriculture and food systems to conditions of water scarcity, water data and information are indispensable to address water management challenges. Collaboration and engagement with different partners in the collection and dissemination of water data and information is necessary to facilitate more effective water management decisions.
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