International Conference Explores Water and Food Security in Dry Areas

icarda-fao-ifad24 June 2013: In an effort to identify innovative approaches to improve water management while ensuring food security for smallholder farmers in the world's dry areas, international stakeholders gathered at the International Conference on Policies for Water and Food Security in Dry Areas.

The meeting brought together dryland country government representatives, as well as researchers, NGOs and donors to share a variety of perspectives and discuss policies, practices and innovations. The meeting was held from 24-26 June 2013, in Cairo, Egypt, and was organized the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and Egypt's Agricultural Research Center.

Participants stressed the importance of: sharing innovative pilots through mechanisms that could be scaled up; and investing in science and technology, water infrastructure, and maintenance in ways that are not dependent on public funds. They highlighted the role of food insecurity and volatile agricultural systems as undermining political stability. Representatives from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) cited the importance of social, cultural and political dimensions, in addition to bio-physical factors and economics in the uptake of new innovations. ICARDA and IWMI are members of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [FAO Press Release] [IWMI Press Release] [Conference Website]