Stories tagged: climate change

Partnerships for Water are Partnerships for all the Global Goals

Image of Mashiri Zvarimwa

Mashiri Zvarimwa, Ambassador for the NextGen Ag Impact Network (NGIN) and Technical Assistance Facilitator for the Southern and Central Africa Regional Innovation Hub, examines the key role of water and partnerships in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals – especially Zero Hunger.

Halfway into the International Decade for Action and the world is significantly behind in meeting many of the goals for sustainable development and climate. To drive progress, accelerated action is needed. As the United Nations Water Conference concludes, occasions such as these highlight the opportunity for cooperation.

Water is both a unifying and divisive resource. People can find fellowship around a water source or create conflict over access. It can foster greater food security or hinder it. It is for these reasons that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water and Sanitation must always be in alignment with SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals and SDG 2: Zero Hunger for any of them to be achieved. After all, without water, there is no food security, no end to poverty and increased exposure to climate risks.

Partnerships for water

Effective partnerships must remove siloes that exist between policies on water for domestic and economic use, like irrigation. This requires developing data-driven water resource management strategies that foster cooperation. Technology now exists to accurately map groundwater resources, enabling equitable distribution of this precious commodity upon which people and the planet depend.

Partnerships also require alignment on strategic objectives, as misalignment may result in forces pulling in different directions, tearing apart the coalition. While all these challenges are real and often complex, they are surmountable, particularly when pitted against potential accrued benefits.

Strong cooperation and partnerships can yield extraordinary results, as evident in collaborations around transboundary water resources. Numerous economic benefits can be derived from such partnerships, such as the co-development of hydropower projects and irrigation schemes, increased trade and investment, as well as the creation of employment opportunities. This has been seen in a number of collaborations around water, for instance, the Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental initiative for the cooperation and sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia. The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) – an international partnership amongst riparian countries along the Nile River – has also yielded promising results. Additionally, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) has brought together different countries to oversee the sustainable utilisation of water in the Danube River Basin in Europe.

At the same time, by 2030, the population of people between 15 and 24 years of age globally will reach 1.3 billion. This reality is a reminder that young people must be included at the centre of all negotiations and actions. Youth should contribute to the planning and development of the future they will experience. Platforms like the NextGen Ag Impact Network (NGIN) are already working with networks of young people to drive action-oriented partnerships that amplify youth voices. Young people, too, must work to accelerate action towards achieving the SDGs.

However, these partnerships face significant and often complex challenges relating to the establishment of trust, particularly where a history of conflict exists. When partner countries disagree over the use of resources, they risk derailing progress and success. As the UN Water Conference comes to a close, therefore, stakeholders must work to resolve such conflicts and promote peace by setting up mechanisms for mediation to de-escalate tensions and re-establish trust.

Water and the SDGs

Water security as well as equitable water management and distribution contribute to global peace and food security. The socioeconomic pressure caused by water crises can easily flare up into conflict and instability. Recently, Brazil experienced its worst drought in over 90 years. This created water shortages that caused low hydropower generation and high energy costs, as well as an increase in food prices. Water, energy and food are interlinked, and therefore developing solutions to such complex and sensitive challenges requires nexus thinking. Importantly, stakeholders from the three sectors must be fully involved in designing solutions to these challenges. Through these interlinkages, the UN Water Conference stakeholders must promote actions that leverage cross-cutting innovations to produce more food with more efficient water and energy use.

Given that we are halfway into the International Decade for Action, the UN Water Conference offers the opportunity to take bold steps to amplify action going forward. This is only possible when all stakeholders play their part. Siloes delay impact and may offset the progress made to date. The window of opportunity is only getting smaller and young people have a huge role to play.  While the task at hand is daunting, the power of cooperation can drive progress towards the attainment of SDG 6.

New Malabo Montpellier Panel Report: Climate-proofing Africa’s food systems needs new and reimagined financing models to meet $41.3 billion adaptation cost

ADAPT: Policy innovations to unlock climate finance for resilient food systems in Africa, image: person checking production line, hand holding produce, food vendor with point of sale machine, sprout growing

African governments will need to tap into all domestic and global sources of adaptation finance to meet a shortfall of more than $40 billion to climate-proof food systems, according to the Malabo Montpellier Panel. Continue reading

From Potential to Reality: Innovative solutions to the global hunger crisis

Joachim von Braun, Professor for Economic and Technological Change at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn, outlines how Africa can overcome the global hunger crisis.

Food systems around the world are facing a multi-dimensional crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted the food supply chain due to bottlenecks in farm labour, processing and transportation. Additionally, the war in Ukraine adds uncertainty to grain supply as Russia and Ukraine account for 20 per cent and 30 per cent of global maize and wheat exports, respectively. Hunger is on the rise in Africa, with issues such as acute climate stress and inflation impacting people’s ability to buy goods. Continue reading

How Europe-Africa Research Collaboration Can Uncover Climate Solutions for Farmers

Dorine Odongo, Communications Manager, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), explores how collaboration can lead to a more resilient and equitable future.

Scientific innovation plays a key role in equipping Africa’s smallholder farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate change. But before African researchers can develop the solutions and innovations that farmers need, they must first be scientists of uncompromising quality.

Supporting African agricultural scientists, particularly women, to develop their research skills is essential, not only for African food security but also for global food security. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a quarter of the world’s arable land but to date, produces just 10 per cent of its agricultural output, leaving an enormous source of potential untapped. Continue reading

Closing the Adaptation Gap: Harnessing the power of possibilities

Leanne Zeppenfeldt, Knowledge & Partnerships Officer and Bruce Campbell, Chief Innovation Strategist at Clim-Eat discuss how Earth Overshoot Day highlights the need to not only mitigate climate change but adapt to its effects.

By July 28th – Earth Overshoot Day – humans will have used more ecological resources and services this year than what our planet can regenerate.

The rate at which we are emitting greenhouse gases and using our clean water, healthy soil, oil reserves, and carbon-storing forests exceeds the Earth’s capacity. Despite the important role it plays to our lives and livelihoods, agriculture is also one of the largest drivers of planetary overshoot, and mitigation action to reduce our natural resource use and emissions is essential to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day in the coming years.  Continue reading

Food Security High on G7 Agenda as Impacts from Climate, COVID-19 and Conflict Grow

G7 Leaders meet in Germany, 26-28 June.

Leaders gathered at the G7 Summit from 26 to 28 June in Germany, where food security was high on the agenda. The G7 Leaders said they “will spare no effort to increase global food and nutrition security and to protect the most vulnerable, whom the food crisis threatens to hit the hardest.”  Continue reading