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Near East and North Africa Land and water days 2019

Outlook and prospects: scaling-up investments in water for agriculture

Agricultural production in the region, measured in constant international prices, grew slowly at an annual rate of 1.3% p.a. over the last decade. This slow rate of growth is due to falling real prices, but also to weak policies, insufficient investment in science and technology and agricultural development and conflict which have contributed to the impoverished state of agricultural resources and to their inefficient use and low productivity.

With growing awareness of food production challenges and climate change concerns in the NENA region, clearer solutions need to be brought about to provide incentives for land and water projects in the agricultural sector, revitalizing productivity and attracting new investments. In particular, investments are needed to scale up innovative approaches to agricultural water management and achieve the SDGs. These investments must be carefully planned and targeted to maximize desired benefits, minimize unintended negative impacts, for example, on other resource users or ecosystem services. This in turn requires an enabling environment for responsible investments, as well as knowledge on proven technologies and approaches which support the prioritization of investment opportunities, and adequate capacities of stakeholders to transform investments into tangible and sustainable benefits.

The conference will address the need and potential for investments in water for agriculture in the region and will analyze enabling conditions for investments at policy, legal, and institutional levels, including approaches to sound investment planning. The conference will discuss process and methods to ensure that commitment to and appropriately scheduling and planning for investments in water for agriculture is made a political and financial priority. Proven and innovative solutions to sustainable management in the sector - which provide investment opportunities - will be presented and discussed. Furthermore, approaches to financing investments through global financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, as well as innovative solutions at the local level such as Islamic Financing will be highlighted.