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Nature-based solutions for agricultural water management and food security

©FAO/Heminadia Ranford
28/06/2018

Scaling up of Adaptation in the Agricultural Sectors (SAAS)

Module 1: Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in the agricultural sectors

Webinar 5: Nature-based solutions for agricultural water management and food security

Date: Thursday, June 28th, 14:00 – 15:30 CEST (UTC +2)

With a rising demand for food, fodder, fiber and bio-energy the agricultural sector faces fierce competition with households and industry over increasingly scarce water resources. Moreover, for many countries, prospects on improving water availability under changing climatic conditions remain bleak as both droughts and flood hazards are expected to increase. Given the importance of water needs for the sustainable development of the agricultural sector and related food security, calls for a shift in water management paradigms are justified and merit greater attention.

Nature Based Solutions (NBS) may offer a promising contribution to enhance the availability and quality of water for productive purposes and human consumption, while simultaneously striving to preserve the integrity and intrinsic value of the ecosystem. Nature-based solutions use or mimic natural processes to enhance water availability and reduce risks associated with water-related disasters and climate change. By doing so, these solutions have the potential to move us beyond the business-as-usual approaches to tackling many of the planet’s water challenges, while simultaneously delivering additional benefits vital to all aspects of sustainable development.

Despite this, implementing successful NBS for water management is not an easy task, as many ecosystems are already severely degraded. Ecosystems are often large and complex systems and the impact of interventions can only be assessed and analyzed at a system-wide level. Furthermore, many stakeholders are involved as owners, users or caretakers, each with their own set of interests and values. As such is the case, simple market-based solutions such as partitioning the ecosystem, attributing property rights and applying the polluter-pay-principle are not the most viable strategies. This webinar will share perspectives from FAO, UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP, UNESCO programme) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on the potential for and use of NBS to sustainably improve the management of agricultural water.

Presentations and speakers:

FAO discussion paper: Nature-Based Solutions at the service of agricultural water management and food security

Amani Alfarra, Land and Water Officer, FAO

There are major challenges to feed the world by 2050. External inputs must grow at about the same rate while decreasing returns in productivity can be compensated or possibly surpassed by further efficiency gains. Agriculture is responsible for approximately 70 percent of water withdrawals and about 60 percent of the population lives in areas of water stress. Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) can be part of the solution to meet this demand. Nature Based Solution has more than one definition. There is no straightforward distinction between NBS and other human induced management of ecosystem services. NBS is an umbrella concept that covers various processes.

See Presentation  and Recording

Why is it difficult to implement nature based solutions for water management?

Dr. Ben Sonneveld, Senior Researcher, Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies/Athena Institute

Implementing successful NBS for water resource management is not an easy task, since many ecosystems are already severely degraded, and exploited beyond their regenerative capacity. Ecosystems are often large and complex and the impact of interventions can only be assessed and analysed at a system-wide level. As a rule many stakeholders are involved, as owner, user or caretaker, each with their own set of interests and values. Therefore, simple market-based solutions such as partitioning the ecosystem, attributing property rights and applying the polluter-pay-principle are not sufficient for getting a viable strategy. Indeed, Implementation of NBS would require a far more structured and comprehensive approach, that starts with the valuation of the eco-services provided by the ecosystem.

See Presentation  and Recording

Nature-based Solutions for Agricultural Water Management – Key-findings of the UN World Water Development Report

Prof. Stefan Uhlenbrook, Coordinator and Director, UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP, UNESCO programme)

The 2018 edition of the World Water Development Report seeks to inform policy and decision makers, inside and outside the water community, about the potential of nature-based solutions (NBS) to address contemporary water resource management challenges across all sectors, and particularly regarding water for agriculture, sustainable cities, disaster risk reduction and water quality. Water resource management remains heavily dominated by traditional, human-built (i.e. ‘grey’) infrastructure and the enormous potential for NBS remains under-utilized. NBS include green infrastructure that can substitute, augment or work in parallel with grey infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. The goal is to find the most appropriate blend of green and grey investments to maximize benefits and system efficiency while minimizing costs and trade-offs.

See Presentation  and Recording

Nature-based solutions for water and agriculture - guidance under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Ms. Lisa Janishevski is Programme Officer for Biodiversity and Climate Change, CBD

Subsets of nature-based solutions, EbA and Eco-DRR are cross-sectoral in nature and effective in addressing issues of climate change, water and agriculture in an integrated way. Most definitions of EbA and Eco-DRR converge on the principle of sustainable management and the conservation and restoration of ecosystems as a part of an overall adaptation strategy.

Ecosystem approaches to adaptation and DRR aim to address both current and future impacts of climate change and to reduce the vulnerability of people and ecosystems. Both EbA and Eco-DRR overlap and utilize existing approaches in conservation, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development. They deliver socio-economic benefits and climate change adaptation benefits, as well as conserve or restore biodiversity and ecosystem services.

See Presentation  and Recording

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS): Wasabi cultivation system in Japan

Hiroyuki Ono is an Associate Professional Office, GIAS

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), is a FAO Programme aiming at conservation, adaptation and development of the agricultural systems, which are outstanding landscapes that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Located in specific sites around the world, they sustainably provide multiple goods and services, food and livelihood security for millions of small-scale farmers. These ancestral agricultural systems constitute the foundation for contemporary and future agricultural innovations and technologies. This presentation introduce one Japanese GIAHS site as a case study for Nature-Based solution and show how one Japanese GIAHS site has cultivated wasabi by traditional technique, which utilize and take advantage of natural condition that is not suitable for cultivating other crops.

See Presentation  and Recording

Moderator:

Arnal Maria and Manar Abdelmagied Climate and Environment, FAO, Rome

Vidéo du wébinaire

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