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World Food Day 2023: ‘Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind’

Posted: Monday, October 16, 2023. 10:26 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Around the world, today is being observed as World Food Day 2023.

World Food Day is being observed under the theme, “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) notes that water is essential to earth as it makes up over 50% of our bodies and covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface.

According to the FAO, only 2.5% of water is fresh, suitable for drinking, agriculture, and most industrial uses.

“Water is a driving force for people, economies and nature and the foundation of our food. Indeed, agriculture accounts for 72% of global freshwater withdrawals, but like all natural resources, fresh water is not infinite,” FAO noted.

Data from the FAO indicate that 2.4 billion people live in water-stressed countries. Many are smallholder farmers who already struggle to meet their daily needs, particularly women, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, and refugees. Competition for this priceless resource is increasing as water scarcity becomes an ever-increasing cause of conflict. 

FAO urged world leaders to design science and evidence-based policies that capitalize on data, innovation and cross-sectoral coordination to better plan and manage water.

“They need to support these policies with increased investment, legislation, technologies and capacity development, while incentivizing farmers and the private sector to engage in integrated solutions for a more efficient use of water, and for its conservation,” FAO urged.

 

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