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					 Report of high panel discussion on water, food & agriculture-18 March 2009



Opening by Dr. Ger Bergkamp, DG of WWC

With the increased consumption of food and energy due to both population growth and improved
life standards, water resources and also pattern of use are severely affected. There are links
between water and food production and also water with energy production; however the purpose
of this session is to achieve a more coherent view of water-energy, water-food and the numerous
interlinks between them. To see what these relations are, what the challenges are and see how we
can address them.



Presentation1: Mr. Alexander Muller from FAO

World population will increase from 6.2 now to 9.5 in 2050. The urban to rural population will
be also increasing. Provision of water and food is essential for this increasing population.

The population of the poor has increased from 825 to 963 million people in 2008.

The portion of water used for irrigation out of total renewable water resources is drastically
different in different regions. (50% world average)

Land use in terms of agriculture is also different. (90% in South Asia)

Energy consumption increases positively with GDP per capita. Total energy use will be doubled
by 2050.

Biomass forms only 1% of world energy consumption. In Africa it includes 47% of
consumption; however, it is mostly in the traditional unsustainable way of burning the wood.

If global energy consumption respecting only transportation would be produced by biofuel, about
two third of the global crop area should be allocated for that. There will be a high competition
between food and energy production in that case.

Different geographical regions offer completely different prices for biofuel production to be
competitive with oil fuels. (30USD in Brazil and 80 USD in Europe). It depends very much on
oil prices. If it gets very cheap, then subsidization would be unavoidable.

Governments in developed countries are supporting investments in biofuel. In 2006 US
government invested 6 billion and EU 5 billion USD in this field.

70% of water consumption goes for irrigation. While drinking needs of a man does not exceed 3-
5 liters/day, 3000 liters of water is needed for daily food consumption per capita.

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 Report of high panel discussion on water, food & agriculture-18 March 2009



Now only 2% of the total water consumption goes for biofuel.

Based on the above, there are increasing demands in all three sectors. Therefore the big
challenge is how to define the relations and interlinks between them to meet the needs while
taking into consideration environmental issues.

Presentation 2: Water-energy interaction and their linkage with food

At basin level, there are lots of uncertainties regarding climate scenarios which make planning
for water and therefore food much more difficult.

There is a serious challenge in energy sector in respect to investment. About 20.2t USD is
needed to be invested by 2030.

Water management is still another main challenge. Multi-purpose reservoirs should be promoted.

The difference between water use and water consumption should be understood.

There is a major challenge in energy sector to get the concept of water footprint.

Smart Power Systems which brings flexibility in energy use should be promoted.

Although food, water and energy play vital role in the livelihood of human, there are disputes
between these sectors and International organizations dealing with these issues are disconnected
and working separately.

The role of clean energy producing technologies should not be ignored.

By saving water, we do save energy and food too.

Sustainability Assessments should be in place for all three sectors. There is also a need for
effective institutions in this field.

Panel discussion

Sustainable Development is the appropriate notion and concept that interlinks of these three
sectors should be viewed through this concept. A good example can be the recent UNESCO
water report which has been prepared with a focus and especial attention to sustainability, food
and livelihood.

The relations between these sectors are not necessarily conflict or competition. We should move
from a competitive approach towards a synergy approach.


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 Report of high panel discussion on water, food & agriculture-18 March 2009



When referring to biofuel, it should be specifically determined if we mean Ethanol, Methanol or
Methane (made out of food rests) since any of them has specific implications.

Biofuel is not THE solution but can be an option contributing to the solution. It can be suggested
not for all regions under any circumstances.

The financial supports and investment already done by the governments were under expensive
oil price situation. The big question is that are the governments still as eager to invest
considering cheap oil prices we face now?

Food security is not any longer a local/national issue and it can very soon become an
international crisis. Therefore, it is appropriate if WWC involves in publishing a report taking
into account three sectors and employing a multi-stakeholder approach.

Four actions that can contribute to solve the problem can be defined as follow:

1- Increasing water efficiency which is not only about irrigated agriculture (which accounts for
   only 50% of food production). It can also be about rain agriculture too.

2- Decreasing water loss in food chain (between fields to fork) if we manage to do it for 50%,
   then total efficiency would be increased by about 25%.

3- Considering the concept of water footprint and taking it into account in policy making.

4- Involving International organizations dealing with economy and trade such as WTO.

Participants’ feedback

Small tanks at household/local level can be an environmental friendly alternative for big dams.

Sustainable communities at local level should be given sufficient attention since otherwise
sustainability will not be achieved at global level.

Forests play a crucial role in both quality and quantity of water. Therefore deforestation
especially in Mediterranean region should be given enough attention.

Water in agriculture should not be seen only as an income generation factor for people. It is also
their way of life.

International regulatory bodies should be in place at global level to make a synergy among the
sectors.

The role of research should not be ignored by governments and international organizations.

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 Report of high panel discussion on water, food & agriculture-18 March 2009



An integrated approach should be followed to approach these sectors at once. In some countries
only one ministry/council has been appointed to deal with these three sectors collectively and
creating national plans.

Water for ecosystems also should be considered in planning.




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