Courtesy of FAO, "FAO-supported urban agriculture project in DNC Congo."
Celebrating World Water Day, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is hosting the official ceremony of World Water Day 2012 at its headquarters in Rome today. This year's theme is Water and Food Security, marking the critical relationship that exists between water and global food security.
The World Food Summit of 1996: "Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life."
And food simply cannot be produced without water.
Our planet needs to feed 7 billion people today, with 2 billion more people expected by 2050, who will need food and water. It would be safe to assert that 9 billion people create a sense of urgency for leaders to deliver on the ever popular and already cliché expression of Sustainable Development.
WHO says that, "food security is a complex sustainable development issue, linked to health through malnutrition, but also to sustainable economic development, environment, and trade. " Commodity price hikes set off by the 2008 economic crisis and 2009 financial crisis, along with water pollution and climate change set off pressing immediate and potential challenges.
1 billion people in the world are hungry today, according to FAO and the food price hikes drove anestimated 44 million people into poverty in developing countries since June 2010 as food costs continued to rise to near 2008 levels, reported the World Bank.
At FAO, the 4th edition of the United Nations World Development Report, "Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk" by the World Water Assessment Program, is a feature presentation at today's discussions. The Ceremony serves as a follow-up event to the 6th World Water Forum, which was held in Marseille, France from March 12-17, where the role of a "Regional Process" was emphasized in "order to implement a participative bottom-up approach, where regional stakeholders will play a key role in setting their own Targets and finding their “Solutions for water."
Meanwhile, experts warn that extensive urbanization, unchecked diets, development pressures on land and water and increase in energy costs will likely contribute to greater water scarcity, topping the pressures of a growing population and the threats and challenges of climate change.
FAO says that water scarcity is already present in all of the seven continents, currently affecting over 40% of the people in the world.
Driving much needed international attention on water throughout the year and beyond, "World Water Week" will take place in Stockholm, Germany from August 26-31 and next year's Water theme will be" International Year of Water Cooperation", honing in on the increasing need of regional, national and international cooperation among all stakeholders, especially, public and private sector cooperation, in order to secure the long-term sustainable use of water for the planet and future generations.