Launched on May 15, a landmark report by the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) for the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) argues that access to water is a vital aspect of ensuring improved food security and nutrition. Moving beyond the scope of looking at the role of water not only for agriculture but also sanitation, the report calls for an integrated approach at higher levels of policy implementation and governance to ensure that the poorest and most marginalized communities have equitable access to the inputs and resources that they need to improve their lives and livelihoods.
In her blog post on the Guardian’s Global development blog, Professor Lyla Mehta, report team leader, and professorial fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, writes that, “There is no doubt that land, food and water issues are linked. The barriers to joined-up national and global policies do not derive from a lack of technology or resources. Rather they are rooted in the absence of human rights, and the failure to recognise that water and food are intertwined.”
The press release highlights that effective policy interventions should therefore:
- Understand that water plays a role in every aspect of life, from consumption to production
- Prioritize the rights and interests of the most marginalized and vulnerable groups, with a particular focus on women
- Acknowledge the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation as well as the right to food as globally recognized rights.
Note: The authors on the HLPE project team include Claudia Ringler (the International Food Policy Research Institute) and Theib Oweis (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas), flagship co-leaders of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and Barbara Schreiner, Board Member of the International Water Management Institute (WLE’s lead Center).