FAO Launches Regional Conference On Improving Water Productivity In Agriculture

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched today in Tunisia the Regional Conference on Improving Water Productivity in Agriculture in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region.

This three-day conference is the first meeting of the “Collaborative Platform on Water Productivity” of the regional Initiative on Water Scarcity (IWS) for NENA. This conference is gathering researchers, young innovators and policy makers in a scientific arena to discuss the status of water productivity in the region, the challenges facing the agricultural sector and the available solutions.

The conference is also supported by the FAO regional project “Implementing the 2030 Agenda on Water Efficiency, Productivity and Sustainability in the Near East and North Africa,” funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The conference is allowing experts to debate on methods for Water Productivity (WP) improvement, and the role of WP in reinforcing agricultural sustainability, promoting economic development, maintaining social stability and protecting the environment in rural areas and cities.

In his inaugural speech, Philippe Ankers, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for North Africa, said that “projections show that the frequency of drought could increase by 20 to 60 percent before the end of the century, and that no other region was touched by desertification as much as the Near East and North Africa.”

He called for acting “quickly” to address “the triple burden of sustainable water management, climate change, and food security and nutrition.”

Mr. Ankers urged experts, decision-makers and young innovators to help transform the way we use water in the short-, mid- and long-term, hoping that the collaborative platform created by FAO can facilitate this process.

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