Third International Conference on Financing for Development is taking place in Addis Ababa this week with the goal of bringing together the global community to approve financial support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The draft outcome document, “Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development,” rightly mentions that efforts to end hunger and malnutrition need to be scaled up and that ecosystems need to be protected for the benefit of all. To do so, the document recommends establishing a new global forum to bridge the infrastructure gap and invest in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transport, energy, water and sanitation services.
Irrigation, however, is not mentioned at all.
This is surprising given the fact that small-scale irrigation is essential to meet future food and nutrition security, increase rural employment, adapt to climate change and reduce continued, rapid deforestation, particularly in Africa south of the Sahara. As the latest report from the High Level Panel of Experts (HPLE) on water for food security and nutrition clearly states, reliable access to water for both domestic and productive uses is essential to reduce undernutrition in this region, where the vast majority of smallholder farmers still depend on rain-fed agriculture despite high seasonal and inter-annual rainfall variability. Yields for both crops and livestock have stagnated or grown only slowly for decades; as a result, net food imports of basic staple foods have increased rapidly in order to feed the growing population. Climate change and continued population growth are expected to exacerbate food and nutrition security challenges in the region moving forward, adversely affecting progress toward reducing undernutrition…
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