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Coping with water scarcity in agriculture: a global framework for action in a changing climate

If soil is the body of agriculture, then water is its lifeblood. However, we are going to have to get used there not being enough to go around if we continue to pursue current development pathways in agriculture and elsewhere. 

Water use expanded at over double the rate of population growth in the twentieth century. The population is predicted to grow further by 2 billion to 9.3 billion in 2050. Combined with changing diets, we will need to produce almost 50 per cent more food to meet demand. This means the available pool of water faces greater stress. At the same time, climate change is predicted to have a massive impact on water availability by drastically altering hydrological regimes across the globe.

“We must produce more food with less water. The Global Framework will bring together key players from across the globe to design and implement integrated strategies to do just that and prevent water scarcity from setting back our ambitious vision of a future of peace and plenty for all."  

Eduardo Mansur, Director, Land and Water Division, FAO

We need to find smarter, more efficient ways to use water, and make agriculture more productive, to meet the rising demand for food and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s goal on zero hunger. And we need to do this while preserving the natural resource base and the integrity of ecosystems. This is where the Global Framework for Action to Cope with Water Scarcity in Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change – launched by FAO and partners at the climate meeting in Marrakech in late 2016 – comes in.

The Global Framework is designed to bring together key players across the globe and across sectors to tackle the collective challenge of using water better in agriculture to ensure food security for all. It is an initiative for partners from all fields and backgrounds to collaborate in supporting countries and stakeholders in their commitments and plans related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement (including implementing nationally determined contributions) and other plans and programmes related to agriculture and water.