A young boy drinking water collected from a natural spring, Danja, Niger. Almost two-thirds of the global population live with severe water shortages for at least some of the time.
Photo: © FAO/Giulio Napolitano

A new global framework for action on water scarcity

The Global Framework for Action to Cope with Water Scarcity in Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change launched by FAO aims to catalyse international cooperation for action in the fight against water scarcity.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) unveiled the Global Frame-work for Action to Cope with Water Scarcity in Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change at the COP22 summit in Marrakech, Morocco, in November 2016.

Water scarcity - already a major global issue - will intensify with climate change and pressures linked to population growth. From California to China's eastern provinces and from Jordan to the southern tip of Africa, an estimated four billion people - almost two-thirds of the global population - live with severe water shortages for at least some of the time.

Water scarcity "is one of the main challenges for sustainable agriculture," according to FAO Direc-tor-General José Graziano da Silva.

The Global Framework for Action to Cope with Water Scarcity in Agriculture in the Context of Cli-mate Change aims to catalyse international cooperation for action that should mostly take place at the national level. Progress towards water and food security lies primarily with governments, subnational administrations and local communities, and they are the primary beneficiaries of the proposed support.

The Global Framework for Action will assist countries in implementing their intended nationally determined contributions and their nationally determined contributions (INDCs/NDCs) related to agriculture and water, and in achieving the food security and water-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Furthermore, FAO and partners will support countries in implementing national adaptation plans (NAPs) and other relevant development plans, programmes and projects contributing to adapta-tion to climate change and water scarcity in agriculture. An early action of the Global Framework was to support Morocco’s Adaptation for Agriculture in Africa (Triple A) Initiative, which aims to significantly scale up support for climate change adaptation in African agriculture under water scarcity.

Main areas of collaborative action on water scarcity in agriculture

The Global Framework for Action to Cope with Water Scarcity in Agriculture in the Context of
Climate Change will focus on the following main areas of collaborative action to address issues of
water scarcity in the agriculture sector:

• Improving agricultural water productivity sustainably.

• Improving and climate-proofing irrigation services (“soft” measures) and infrastructure
(“hard” measures).

• Preventing and controlling water pollution.

• Planning, designing and managing for multiple uses of water resources.

• Using alternative sources of water while ensuring food safety.

• Promoting territorial/landscape/ecosystem-based management approaches. 

• Ensuring more efficient use of water along food value chains.

• Reducing food losses and waste to alleviate pressure on natural resources.

• Diversifying production systems and income opportunities for smallholders.


More information:
Global Framework for Action to Cope with Water Scarcity in Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change 

(FAO/ile)