Session FT 4.12
Water for food and ecosystems, the way forward
- UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
- IUCN The World Conservation Union
- Comisión Nacional del Agua
Whether one talks about water, poverty reduction or MDGs, a continued and increased commitment to investments and developments in agricultural and environmental water management are fundamental. This presents no choices in priority settings for either/or, or in mitigating negative impacts, but a straightforward commitment to a common future in which agriculture and the environment coexist and complement each other in both their productive services and sustainable water use.
To concretise this common approach on WFE the only way forward is to combine an eco-system approach to agriculture and a productive services approach to ecosystems.
The session will demonstrate that this is not merely nice theory, but that an integrated cross-sectoral approach to water for food and ecosystems has concrete benefits and progress to offer in meeting the common challenge of raising the efficacy, efficiency and sustainability of the productive services of agriculture and ecosystems, at local levels and at uppers scale. This session will thus investigate the concepts and the practices and how local stakeholders can move ahead with comprehensive methodologies that help them agreeing upon a pathway toward sustainable development.
An integrated and cross-sectoral approach that targets multiple purposes and services needs support and concerted efforts both at local level from stakeholders and civil society as from the national and political level. This process takes time.
The use of market based approaches to balance water use across users and sectors is a promising mechanism, but also a delicate process. Also social and environmental benefits may have economic dimensions that may benefit the economic management approaches
A continued and increased commitment to investments and developments in agricultural and environmental water management are fundamental to achieve the MDG goals, reducing poverty and improving water access to the needy.
This presents no choices in priority settings for either/or, or in mitigating negative impacts, but a straightforward commitment to a common future in which agriculture and the environment coexist and complement each other in both their productive services and sustainable water use by further developing an ecosystem approach to agriculture and water management with a productive services approach to ecosystems.
A consistent framework for decision making and investment is needed to relate local actions in an aggregated consistent approach with the markets as well as with water resources management.
There are three key elements that will help to effectively strengthening local actions in WFE:
- application of stakeholder oriented water valuation to assess and plan multiple uses and productive services in water for food and ecosystems;
- application of market based mechanisms and incentives to foster and manage WFE programs based on the productive values of agriculture and ecosystems products and services;
- ensuring water governance at both local and policy level on an integrated and multiple services approach to water for food and ecosystems to reach harmonization across the sectors needs to be addressed as cross-sectoral, and hence inter-ministerial issue
Orientations for action
- Valuation of the water services. To compare the benefits of wetland services vs agricultural services
- Show links between wetlands and groundwater and agriculture. A better balance is needed.
- Look at hotspots where agricultural impacts have the largest impact on wetland services. This way you can focus your actions.
- Knowledge is required for smart agriculture. crops and practices must be adapted to local conditions. It should minimise impact to ecosystems through smart agriculture. More food with minimise impacts. Maintenance and creation of agricultural support networks, ext services, NGO’s, …. Etc. to provide support to farmers around the world. Need unique guidance to minimise environmental impacts (crop types etc). Not a single approach. Farmers need expert help. Desirable practices need over time (new diseases, climate change, new crop varieties, changing market conditions)
- Approached should be based on stakeholder principles and not on models. We enforce models without knowing what the local needs are. Water is a public asset in Brasil, so market based approaches are difficult to implement.
Local Actions presented
Conserving the Deschutes River
Mr Aylward, Deschutes river conservancy, USA
WFE and market based mechanisms as water leasing and water banking are applied to redress the water balance between agriculture and ecosystems. Achieved through integrated WFE planning with explicit targets for agriculture and ecosystems and introducing economic incentives for water saving in agriculture and water allocation to ecosystem services. Civil society initiative with public and private participation across the sectors.
Water Valuation in El Salvador
Ms Carranza, Ministry of Environment, El Salvador
Integrated and joint WFE planning for agriculture and ecosystems. Water valuation as an assessment and planning tool to reach efficient and productive water use in irrigated agriculture, and define water requirements and economic returns of ecosystems. The key question is how to induce water savings and introduce market mechanisms for introducing WFE management plans? Government led initiative with collaboration of environment and agriculture.
Multiple Use Services in IWRM in South Africa
Mr. Dlamini, AWARD, South Africa
Introducing a livelihoods perspective into IWRM and WFE. Water supply and environmental base flows (reserves) need to be effectively complemented by accommodating the water requirements of livelihood strategies (e.g. agriculture, gardening, food processing, etc). This leads to effective changes in water management and delivery plans within IWRM/WFE approach. Emphasis on stakeholder processes and local governance of water management.