Water, Food, and Agriculture in the Sustainable Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and their targets for 2015, motivated notable advances in poverty reduction, and in the health of women and children in many lower-income countries (Cabero-Roura and Rushwan, 2014; Cohen et al., 2014; Lomazzi et al., 2014). The international community is now engaged in defining and agreeing upon a new set of global objectives that more broadly pertain to the concept of achieving sustainable economic development (Dora et al., 2015).

Two of the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) align closely with issues regarding water and food security (Maurice, 2013). In particular, SDG 2 calls for ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition, while promoting sustainable agriculture. SDG 6 calls for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (United Nations, 2014). The objectives listed under SDG 2 describe both the demand and supply aspects of food security. In addition to calling for universal access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, the objectives call for doubling the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, with a particular focus on women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers. They note the importance of ensuring secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment (United Nations, 2014).

It is essential that smallholders, and their households, have access to the resources and inputs needed to engage in livelihoods that will enable them to purchase food, particularly at times of short supplies and high prices. Also embedded within SDG 2 is the call for ensuring sustainable food production systems and implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, while maintaining ecosystems, and mitigating the potential impacts of climate change (United Nations, 2014). To this end, it is essential that the international research community continue to generate global public goods, such as state-of-the-art research and outreach regarding climate-resilient agriculture, new varieties of cultivated plants, and improvements in livestock health and performance.

Several of the objectives within SDG 6 pertain to water supply, sanitation and wastewater recovery, yet several reflect issues involving agriculture more directly. For example, some of the objectives within SDG 6 describe the need to increase water-use efficiency in all sectors, achieve sustainable withdrawals of freshwater resources, implement integrated water resources management, protect the quality of lakes, rivers, wetlands and aquifers, and substantially reduce the number of people impacted by water scarcity (United Nations, 2014). Although not stated explicitly, the need to ensure access to water for use in food production and in support of other livelihood activities is implied within these objectives, as noted by the call for achieving sustainable freshwater withdrawals, protecting water sources and alleviating the impacts of water scarcity

Kaynak:FAO and WWC (2015) TOWARDS A WATER AND FOOD SECURE FUTURE Critical Perspectives for Policy-makers. WHITE PAPER


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