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The Water, Land and Ecosystems Research Program initiative will be led by IWMI and will address irrigation, rainfed agricultural systems, river basin management, resource reuse and recovery, and information research.

28 March 2012: The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has launched a new research programme aimed at achieving sustainable improvements in agricultural production while maintaining or boosting the health of natural ecosystems, in the face of growing demand for natural resources.

The Water, Land and Ecosystems Research Program will be led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and will focus on five themes, as follows: irrigation; rainfed agricultural systems; river basin management; resource reuse and recovery; and information research. It will also focus on the two cross-cutting themes of ecosystems services, and institutions and governance. The programme will involve the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and 14 CGIAR research centers, and will focus initially on eight regions that are centered on large river basins: Southeast Asia (Mekong); South Asia (Indus and Ganges); Central Asia (Amu Darya and Syr Darya); Middle East (Tigris and Euphrates); West Africa (Volta and Niger); East Africa (Nile); Southern Africa (Limpopo and Zambezi); and Latin America (Andes basins).

The programme’s targets for 2020 include: making irrigation possible for 12 million households in sub-Saharan Africa; largely eliminating government subsidies for biofuels; and enabling 9 million households to safely use polluted water for irrigation. The programme expects initial funding in the region of $75 million per year and was announced at the Planet Under Pressure Conference in London, UK. [Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems Website] [Press Release]

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