4 Responses to Risks and Actions

    The SOLAW 2021 report establishes the state of land, soil and water resources, and the drivers, the risks and the opportunities for planning and investment. The risks to agricultural production are derived from natural variation in climate and human-made changes and pressures. These include the influence of socio-economic processes, policy decisions, and institutional and financial structures. Some drivers have led to more-conducive environments; others have created pressures and constraints, some by design and others by unexpected actions. A diagnosis of these diverse outcomes does not automatically lead to prescriptive single-purpose “solutions” but rather a programmatic treatment of land and water “state”, which can turn natural processes and human action towards a desired state or new equilibrium.

    Land and water resources and their governance underpin food systems that are productive, viable, resource-use efficient, resilient and inclusive of those who produce them and those who depend on them. Four key action areas, taken together, can facilitate a transition to sustainable land and water management.

Some key findings in this section…
  • Data are required to support planning: Tools for sustainable planning and management are available. Data collection needs to improve. Monitoring the effects of climate change in relation to agroecological suitability will prove essential for planning resource use along the entire food value and supply chains.
  • Agriculture’s “solution space” has expanded: Advances in agricultural research have broadened the technical palette for land and water management.
  • No “one size fits all” solution exists, but there is a “full package” of workable solutions: However, these will succeed only when there is a conducive enabling environment, strong political will, sound policies and inclusive governance, and full participatory planning processes across all sectors and landscapes.
©FAO/Leonie Marinovich
©FAO/Lekha Edirisinghe
©FAO/Believe Nyakudjara
Innovative information and communications technology, mobile technologies, remote-sensing services (example above from the FAO WaPOR platform, wapor.apps.fao.org), cloud-based computing and open access to data are benefiting smallholder farmers. However, it is important to avoid a “digital divide”.