Session FT 4.05
Water for food, livelihoods and environment : bridging the gap through partnership in research
CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF)
National Water Research Centre, Egypt
Consortium for Sustainable Development of the Andean Region (CONDESAN)
The session started with an interactive consultation to ask whether we can meet the food requirements of 2025 without increasing present water use (opinions were evenly divided yes-not sure-no) and whether international research is relevant for local actions (most answered yes or not sure). Then we looked at local actions and their connection to national and international research-for-development through a DVD with examples of CPWF’s international research network and three presented examples – two from the CPWF network and one from beyond. The expert panel members were each asked to discuss the link among international research networks, national research and local actions in water for food and environment. Each was also asked to respond to a more specific question raised by the presentations. We then moved to 30 minutes of plenary discussion.
- Payment for environmental services appears to be a viable mechanism to increase rural prosperity of specific communities and to ensure better sharing of water in Latin America. The ideas should be extrapolable elsewhere. Particularly important is the connection between upstream small producers – who must be rewarded for conserving soil and maintaining water quality – and downstream users (urban water provision institutions and farmers). This is a specific example of the broad importance of the connection between rural and urban structures to ensure development.
- Multi-stakeholder platforms can bring water policy and policy-making into the public domain. Furthermore, local communities can develop the capacity for analysis of complex issues. The key is empowerment of “the people down below”.
- Community research centers make a vigorous contribution in Uganda; the challenges include ensuring sufficient “upward” linkage and identification of affordable technology that does not create economic dependency or increased risk for users.
- Water for agriculture accounts for 70-90% of water extraction in developing countries. On average each of us uses 700 times more water in the food we eat (through the evapo-transpiration needed to produce it) than in the water we drink.
- Agricultural research is an important contributor to the goal of meeting the food requirement of the population in 2025 without increasing present water use.
- Scaling-up is vital – both for effective local actions and effective research-for-development. If an investment only produces results locally, then it has not finished its task.
- In networks – for research or other actions – we must learn to consult widely with other partners to get the benefit of their experience. However, even large networks must learn to connect locally.
- For all these reasons, international research networks do have an important role to play in linking with local actions, and the session heard examples of how this is working in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
Orientations for action
- International research-for-development networks should strengthen their links to local actions, ensuring that information about plans, actions and results flows in both directions.
- Farmers and other end-users should be partners in the research process starting at the planning stage.
- We must build research and local development organizations that develop their capacity to extrapolate successful technologies and knowledge more widely
Local actions presented