Second World Irrigation Forum Discusses Water in a Changing World
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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The Second World Irrigation Forum (WIF2) convened in Chiang Mai, Thailand under the theme 'Water Management in a Changing World: The Role of Irrigation in Sustainable Food Production'.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) warned participants that the future of food security will depend on effective adaptation in the field of irrigation, given population growth, economic expansion and climate change.

Ministers from ASEAN and ICID member countries discussed establishing a joint mechanism for supporting countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sound agriculture water management.

12 November 2016: UN representatives and water professionals called for new irrigation and drainage approaches to cope with climate change, at the Second World Irrigation Forum (WIF2) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The conference, held from 6-12 November and organized by the Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), the Thailand National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (THAICID), and international partners, focused on the theme, ‘Water Management in a Changing World: The Role of Irrigation in Sustainable Food Production.’

At WIF2, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) warned participants that the future of food security will depend on effective adaptation in the field of irrigation, given population growth, economic expansion and extreme weather due to climate change. Global population is expected to reach nine billion by the year 2050, and will increase needs for water, food and energy.

The future of food security will depend on effective adaptation in the field of irrigation, given population growth, economic expansion and climate change, FAO warned.

WIF2 participants also discussed the role of irrigation and drainage in: balancing water, food, energy and ecosystem needs; responding to climatic extremes, in particular floods and drought; and alleviating hunger and poverty. Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, emphasized the need to move beyond conventional approaches seeking productivity gains in food production to those that focus on rural prosperity as an outcome.

Kadiresan highlighted the launch of the FAO’s global initiative, ‘Coping with Water Scarcity in Agriculture: A Global Framework for Action in a Changing Climate,’ launched at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference. It will build the capacity of FAO and its partners to develop and implement policies for sustainable water use in agriculture.

During WIF2, ministers from 15 member countries of ICID and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met for a one-day ministerial forum on 6 November. They discussed establishing a joint mechanism for supporting countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets associated with rural transformation. They said that the agriculture water management (AWM) sector could benefit from a mechanism similar to international arrangements for cooperation on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Ministers issued a declaration at the close of their meeting, addressing how the SDGs could be achieved through AWM.

WIF2 awarded the Second World Irrigation and Drainage Prize to Bart Schultz of the Netherlands for his work in environmental engineering and his role as a teacher at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE). The prize recognizes the work of individuals and institutions promoting sustainable irrigation and agricultural production.

ICID is a scientific and technical NGO representing irrigation professionals in more than 100 countries. Its work includes encouraging the modernization of irrigation systems, increasing water use efficiency, improving water and land productivity, promoting the recycling and reuse of waste water, increasing awareness about water scarcity, and developing the capacity of service providers and farmers. [UN Press Release] [Second World Irrigation Forum Website] [ICID website] [Draft Declaration of Ministers’ Meeting]


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