FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium

FAO Brussels and Swedish Presidency of Council team up to highlight water as central element for the Agenda 2030


Water is crucial for transforming our agrifood systems and supporting the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This was a key message of the World Water Day event celebration co-organized by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU and FAO Brussels, on World Water Day. 

The event that was organised as an FAO Brussels Dialogue and brought together Policy makers, scientists and experts to discuss initiatives for sustainable water use in agriculture and beyond. 

The Swedish State Secretary to the Minister for Rural Affairs and Chair of the Swedish FAO Committee, Dan Ericsson and FAO’s Chief Scientist, Ismahane Elouafi, offered the opening remarks to the event. 

Ericsson stressed that “Sweden has been and continues to be a strong supporter of FAO” and thanked the Organization for ensuring a thematic focus on water in the next biennium, noting that this was “timely and welcome”. 

FAO’s Chief Scientist Elouafi stressed the importance of sustainable water management for agriculture and livestock, and the need for innovation and research to produce more food with less water. She also highlighted the potential of different types of water not fit for human consumption, such as grey water and saline water, and the need to strengthen innovation and research in those areas. She added  that “World Water Day is always an important event celebrated by FAO, but this year it is even more important as it coincided with the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York”. 

A variety of water-related initiatives was presented during the event. Speakers included Jennie Barron, Professor for water management in agricultural landscapes at the Department of Soil Science and Environment at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU); Jippe Hoogeveen, FAO Senior Water Officer; Adriana Soto, Research Associate at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); Danièle Sebgo, WaterAid Burkina Faso and Linus Dagerskog, SEI Research Fellow. They shared concrete examples related to the different uses of water and the challenges linked to water management. 

The event concluded with a call for stronger collaboration between the EU, its Member States, and FAO to highlight the importance of water in development efforts. FAO Brussels Director, Raschad Al-Khafaji and the Swedish Chair of the Council Working Party on International Food and Agriculture Questions (AGRIFAO), Marija Milivojevic, emphasized the importance of working together to promote sustainable water use in development cooperation. 

You can read more on FAO’s work on water-related matters here

You can watch the recording here