We need to disrupt the way we do business as agricultural decision makers, researchers, and food producers. A solution is not a solution unless it is both sustainable and equitable. A Fairer Future means everyone is empowered to participate. It means women and other marginalized peoples reap their fair share of benefits. And it means changing systems to be fairer, more equitable and more sustainable – so we “leave no one behind,” as this year’s UN World Water Day theme upholds.
Rapid urbanization and population growth are putting tremendous strain on farmers, who are already struggling with depleted soils, to feed this growing urban population, while also generating massive socio-environmental costs where waste management does not meet demand. Given the resource value of municipal waste in view of energy, nutrients and water, there are significant opportunities for resource recovery and reuse (RRR) across the food, waste and sanitation sectors to pave the way for a more circular economy for sustainable growth and urban resilience.
From 2014 until the end of 2016, WLE implemented an innovative set of projects in response to a call for more demand-driven and locally led initiatives in support of agricultural intensification at a regional scale. Researchers partnered with local actors to co-design projects that used an ecosystem-based approach to influence investment and decision-making in support of more equitable management of natural resources.
33 projects were implemented in 18 countries with 175 partner organizations in four regions. Some of the key findings and outcomes are highlighted below.
Wastewater is only a waste if we fail to reuse it. WLE scientists have a remarkable track record in promoting safe wastewater use, recovering nutrients from various waste sources, and analysing business models for safe Resource Recovery and Reuse (RRR). Last year was tagged the "Year of Wastewater," with World Water Day and World Water Week. dedicated to the theme. The solutions are compelling.