Investments needed to ensure water supply in Near East, North Africa
United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said scaling up innovation, policies, and investments in the water sector in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region is fundamental to prevent malnutrition.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said ensuring water supply will help “prevent water scarcity from setting us back in our ambitious vision of eradicating all forms of malnutrition, sustaining peace and leaving no one behind”.
He said this during the Near East and North Africa Land and Water Days Conference, hosted by the League of Arab States and co-organized by FAO in Cairo, Egypt.
Addressing the conference, Graziano da Silva said that while conflicts and extreme climatic events were contributing to the rising of hunger in the region, water scarcity was straining rural livelihoods, forcing people to migrate from rural to urban areas.
In order to efficiently tackle water deficits in the region, Graziano da Silva emphasized the need for a “new generation of policies and investments,” pointing to the importance of establishing inter-ministerial coordination between water, food and trade policies as well as putting in place mechanisms that reward farmers for more efficient use of water and soil.
“It is also important to remember that water scarcity does not always emanate from the physical lack of water. Many areas suffer from water scarcity due to the lack of investments,” he said.