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Harmonizing the United
Nations Action of Decades
for Water and Nutrition
Ms Stineke Oenema, UNSCN Coordinator
Water & Nutrition: From Research to Action
About UNSCN
UNSCN has been established as a UN System Standing Committee by ECOSOC Resolution
in 1977.
Mandate
• Keep under review the overall direction, scale, coherence and impact of the UN
System response to nutrition problems;
• Be point of convergence to harmonize UN policies, activities;
• Provide initiative in development and harmonization of concepts, policies, strategies
and programs in UN System;
• Appraise experience and progress towards achievement of objectives, and lay down
guidelines for mutually supporting action at UN interagency and country levels.
Inclusive and open to all UN agencies having significant interest or engagement in
nutrition.
Nutrition Decade and Global Nutrition Targets
2016 - UN Decade of Action on
Nutrition 2016-2025
Aim: To accelerate implementation
of the ICN2 commitments, achieve
the Global Nutrition and diet-
related NCD targets by 2025 and
contribute to the realisation of the
SDGs by 2030.
Water for Sustainable Development
International Decade (2018-2028) for Action -
Water for Sustainable Development
• Following the success of the “Water for Life” Decade
(2005-2015)
• Aim: To accelerate efforts towards meeting water-
related challenges.
• Concerns about water safety and climate related water
disasters.
• Water stated as critical to eradicate hunger and
poverty.
• Water is central to recent international agreements
such as the 2030 Agenda and the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Overview of water availability
Figure 1. Per Capita water availabity, 2015
Distribution of
freshwater resources
differs significantly
around the world.
The malnutrition challenge
Nutrition-related chronic diseases are among the
leading causes of death worldwide.
We are not on track to achieve the nutrition targets.
Progress uneven between countries and among
population groups.
FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO - SOFI 2019
• Multiple forms of malnutrition
• Multiple causes of malnutrition
 Inequity and inequalities
 daily living conditions
 political, economic, environmental and cultural
characteristics of human societies, and their
interactions
 underlying norms, values, policies, institutions
and processes at local, national and global
levels
UNICEF, WHO,WBG - Joint child
malnutrition estimates - Levels and
trends (2019 edition)
Linkages between water and nutrition
Figure 2. The linkages between water, food security and nutrition
The four dimensions
of water security –
availability, access,
stability, and quality
– are closely linked
to equivalent
dimensions of FSN
via pathways which
span multiple sectors
and entry points.
Source: HLPE, 2015
Overview of water resources and agriculture
Mutual pressure of water availability and food
demand
• Agriculture: largest water user / use expected to
keep growing
• Most agriculture is rainfed agriculture
Depends a lot on local climate conditions
Small scale farmers
• Meanwhile, food demand keeps growing
 Current water and food challenges: Not on track to
achieve SDG 2 and SDG 6
Overview of the major agricultural production systems
Regardless of whether irrigated or
rainfed, agricultural production
systems affect FSN in three
fundamental ways:
1. production-for-own
consumption,
2. income and price effects
3. An entry-point for enhancing
women’s empowerment and
improving nutrition
knowledge and norms
1.1 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water
Ensure nutrition amid growing water stress
(competition, demand and pollution) and climate
change
• Household water availability indicator: significant
association between household water and food
insecurity
• Competition for water between households and
ecosystems
• Climate change disturbs water-related ecosystems and food
production (Crops, Fisheries, Livestock)
• Quality of water: Wastewater is a valuable (sometimes
the only) source of water, nutrients and organic matter
for farmers, but is often untreated.
1.2 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water
Nutrition-sensitive agricultural water
management
• Nutrition sensitivity of water management: not just
irrigation
 Consider diversification and better utilisation of crops,
and income
 Most agriculture is rainfed: Need for better water
management for nutrition via rainfed agriculture supported
by supplemental irrigation
 Joint action at farm household, community and
government level
1.3 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water
Ensure the environmental sustainability of diets
• Limited knowledge on water use for food
production, processing and preparation
• Dietary patterns change, with implications for
water use
• Food availability increases. Yet, 30% of food are
lost or wasted
Overuse and waste of water resources
Need to coordinate SDG 12, 2 and 6
Develop Food based dietary guidelines that include
sustainability criteria
1.4 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water
Ensure the environmental sustainability of
diets
• Mediterranean diet has +/- 29% lower water footprint
(WF) than American diet (Blas et al 2016)
• Three scenario’s for healthy Mediterranean diet
(Vanham et al.):
-Including meat  19-43% lower WF
-Pesco-vegetarian  28-52% lower WF
-Vegetarian 30 —53% lower WF
 Diets based on a high consumption of vegetables,
fruits and fish, like the Mediterranean, lead to major
water savings
1.5 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water
Explicitly address social inequities in water-
nutrition linkages
Right to adequate food, right to water, right
to health are all interrelated
• Gender dimension are of specific importance
(needs, roles)
• Small scale farmers
FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
Summarizing: Entry points to close the
water nutrition gap
• Develop nutrition sensitive water management
• Support sustainable healthy diets
• Address inequities
UNSCN VISION
UNSCN Secretariat
E-mail: scn@fao.org
Internet: www.unscn.org
c/o FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy
A world free from hunger and all
forms of malnutrition is attainable in
this generation

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Harmonizing Actions on Water and Nutrition within the United Nations Decades on Water and Nutrition

  • 1. Harmonizing the United Nations Action of Decades for Water and Nutrition Ms Stineke Oenema, UNSCN Coordinator Water & Nutrition: From Research to Action
  • 2. About UNSCN UNSCN has been established as a UN System Standing Committee by ECOSOC Resolution in 1977. Mandate • Keep under review the overall direction, scale, coherence and impact of the UN System response to nutrition problems; • Be point of convergence to harmonize UN policies, activities; • Provide initiative in development and harmonization of concepts, policies, strategies and programs in UN System; • Appraise experience and progress towards achievement of objectives, and lay down guidelines for mutually supporting action at UN interagency and country levels. Inclusive and open to all UN agencies having significant interest or engagement in nutrition.
  • 3. Nutrition Decade and Global Nutrition Targets 2016 - UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 Aim: To accelerate implementation of the ICN2 commitments, achieve the Global Nutrition and diet- related NCD targets by 2025 and contribute to the realisation of the SDGs by 2030.
  • 4. Water for Sustainable Development International Decade (2018-2028) for Action - Water for Sustainable Development • Following the success of the “Water for Life” Decade (2005-2015) • Aim: To accelerate efforts towards meeting water- related challenges. • Concerns about water safety and climate related water disasters. • Water stated as critical to eradicate hunger and poverty. • Water is central to recent international agreements such as the 2030 Agenda and the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • 5. Overview of water availability Figure 1. Per Capita water availabity, 2015 Distribution of freshwater resources differs significantly around the world.
  • 6. The malnutrition challenge Nutrition-related chronic diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide. We are not on track to achieve the nutrition targets. Progress uneven between countries and among population groups. FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO - SOFI 2019 • Multiple forms of malnutrition • Multiple causes of malnutrition  Inequity and inequalities  daily living conditions  political, economic, environmental and cultural characteristics of human societies, and their interactions  underlying norms, values, policies, institutions and processes at local, national and global levels UNICEF, WHO,WBG - Joint child malnutrition estimates - Levels and trends (2019 edition)
  • 7. Linkages between water and nutrition Figure 2. The linkages between water, food security and nutrition The four dimensions of water security – availability, access, stability, and quality – are closely linked to equivalent dimensions of FSN via pathways which span multiple sectors and entry points. Source: HLPE, 2015
  • 8. Overview of water resources and agriculture Mutual pressure of water availability and food demand • Agriculture: largest water user / use expected to keep growing • Most agriculture is rainfed agriculture Depends a lot on local climate conditions Small scale farmers • Meanwhile, food demand keeps growing  Current water and food challenges: Not on track to achieve SDG 2 and SDG 6
  • 9. Overview of the major agricultural production systems Regardless of whether irrigated or rainfed, agricultural production systems affect FSN in three fundamental ways: 1. production-for-own consumption, 2. income and price effects 3. An entry-point for enhancing women’s empowerment and improving nutrition knowledge and norms
  • 10. 1.1 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water Ensure nutrition amid growing water stress (competition, demand and pollution) and climate change • Household water availability indicator: significant association between household water and food insecurity • Competition for water between households and ecosystems • Climate change disturbs water-related ecosystems and food production (Crops, Fisheries, Livestock) • Quality of water: Wastewater is a valuable (sometimes the only) source of water, nutrients and organic matter for farmers, but is often untreated.
  • 11. 1.2 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water Nutrition-sensitive agricultural water management • Nutrition sensitivity of water management: not just irrigation  Consider diversification and better utilisation of crops, and income  Most agriculture is rainfed: Need for better water management for nutrition via rainfed agriculture supported by supplemental irrigation  Joint action at farm household, community and government level
  • 12. 1.3 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water Ensure the environmental sustainability of diets • Limited knowledge on water use for food production, processing and preparation • Dietary patterns change, with implications for water use • Food availability increases. Yet, 30% of food are lost or wasted Overuse and waste of water resources Need to coordinate SDG 12, 2 and 6 Develop Food based dietary guidelines that include sustainability criteria
  • 13. 1.4 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water Ensure the environmental sustainability of diets • Mediterranean diet has +/- 29% lower water footprint (WF) than American diet (Blas et al 2016) • Three scenario’s for healthy Mediterranean diet (Vanham et al.): -Including meat  19-43% lower WF -Pesco-vegetarian  28-52% lower WF -Vegetarian 30 —53% lower WF  Diets based on a high consumption of vegetables, fruits and fish, like the Mediterranean, lead to major water savings
  • 14. 1.5 Harmonizing the decades of nutrition and water Explicitly address social inequities in water- nutrition linkages Right to adequate food, right to water, right to health are all interrelated • Gender dimension are of specific importance (needs, roles) • Small scale farmers
  • 15. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS Summarizing: Entry points to close the water nutrition gap • Develop nutrition sensitive water management • Support sustainable healthy diets • Address inequities
  • 16. UNSCN VISION UNSCN Secretariat E-mail: scn@fao.org Internet: www.unscn.org c/o FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00153 Rome, Italy A world free from hunger and all forms of malnutrition is attainable in this generation

Editor's Notes

  1. Growth water demand estimated to keep growing at 15% between 2010 and 2050