32 Carpe Diem! Addressing THE nexus – water, energy, food & ecosystems –for #ZeroHunger in Africa

It is time to seize the opportunity of CFS recommendations on Water and Food Security and Nutrition to take innovative actions in Africa through partnerships

Organizers: African Union; Global Water Partnership (GWP); International Water Management Institute

Abstract

Water is present in all the SDGs, and Food Security and Nutrition (SDG 2) have a particular link with water, which is the main input into agricultural production most at risk by climate change. But the water, energy, food, and ecosystems nexus – which is essential for meeting human needs – is even more complex and each component is coming under pressure. The WFEE nexus initiative builds on the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa (NEPAD) and its implementation at country level, and on the work of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on Water and FSN. #WFEEnexus has been certified by COP 21 as an effective contribution to combat climate change. An explicit part of SDG 17 recognizes that results can be achieved only through an integrated approach and engaging in partnerships. Hence, #WFEEnexus adopts GWP’s threefold approach: to work towards concrete change, promote knowledge sharing, and strengthen partnerships at all levels. GWP Country Water Partnerships, together with governments, facilitated country consultations in Africa in 2015 and 2016 on the challenges for water and food security, based on the HLPE report and CFS recommendations. These consultations initiated a strong multi-stakeholder approach between government, commercial, and other players. They identified country priorities which form the basis for a programme for the next three years in 9 countries, 3 regions, and one continent. The programme will draw on the latest available research, in particular through the participation of IWMI

Key speakers

HE Ambassador of Zimbabwe, G Magwenzi

AU CAADP Senior Adviser, Dr L Lokosang

GWP West Africa Chair, Pr A Afouda

IWMI Africa Director, Dr T Williams

FAO Land and Water Division Deputy Director, Dr O Unver

Main themes/issues discussed

The CFS HLPE report for 2015 was on water and the same year the CFS adopted a series of recommendations on Water and Food Security and Nutrition Indeed, Water is present in all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Food Security and Nutrition (SDG 2) have a particular link with water, which is the main input into agricultural production most at risk by climate change. But the water, energy, food, and ecosystems nexus – which is essential for meeting human needs – is even more complex and each component is coming under pressure. Therefore, action has to be taken now.

Summary of key points

Within the above context, the AU and its partners at country and regional levels (Global Water Partnerships, International Water Management Institute, FAO) support governments and regional economic commissions in valuing the work done by CFS to address their own priorities. 10 Country consultations done in 2015 were presented and showed how global work can be brought to the ground for concrete action. Building on that, the 5 speakers presented how they will contribute to a Pan African initiative aimed at establishing renewed cross-sectors partnerships and ways of collaborating to trigger climate adaptation in agricultural practices at large (technics, governance, financing). FAO presented the new global framework for action. Integrating a learning component in order to enable various countries exchange experiences will also allow for replication and upscaling based on the first set of 10 countries.

Key outcomes/take away messages

Engaging with actual practitioners (politicians, farmers, private sector) is indeed key to triggering change based on global recommendations.

There are many ways of tackling the relationship between water, food, energy and ecosystems, not all can be addressed in one go but the entirety of the programme will give a good overview of what can be done and that will be documented and valued.

The Pan African frameworks of the AU and the CAADP are appropriate to lead such an initiative.

GWP, IWMI and FAO are committed to support and bring their respective strengths to make the initiative exemplary in terms of cross-sectoral approaches, using most recent knowledge and scientific results, establishing sustainable changes for better Food Security and Nutrition.