NEW DELHI, 3 September 2019 – On the sidelines of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), hosted by the Government of India, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) convened for the United Nations Country Team in India a panel discussion on innovations in the Water Energy Food (WEF) nexus, with participation of UNCCD, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Solar Alliance (ISA) and select knowledge institutions and innovators.
In his keynote remarks, Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNCCD stated that land connects water, energy and food systems. While land is finite it is imperative to increase food production by some 70% and freshwater by some 40-50% to meet the needs of a 10 billion global population by mid-century. "Investing in land restoration makes economic sense, as studies consistently show a return of USD5-7 per every USD 1 invested in land restoration and 10 ha restored land creates at least two direct jobs and possible indirect jobs”. Moreover, he emphasized that the present COP14 marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention and is set to elaborate further on synergies with the other two Rio Conventions, respectively United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (UNCBD).
Javier Gutierrez Ramirez, Nicaragua's Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, called for consideration of indigenous values and perspectives on land, along with involvement of rural communities in sustainable food production.
While moderating the panel discussion of the side event, Rene Van Berkel, Representative of UNIDO Regional Office in India underscored that land is under pressure with rapidly escalating competition between land for food, water, energy and settlements, and land for the ecological services that regulate all life on Earth. He stressed upon innovating in all stages of the food system: making primary production more efficient in terms of water, land and other inputs; tackling food waste through better processing, storage and preparation; shifting diets and lifestyles; and creating additional wealth from the unavoidable remaining wastes.
‘The next level towards sustainable land management lies in reducing food wastage, food loss in the crop value chain, during processing and supplying of food to markets, as well as meal preparation wastes’’, stated by Konda Reddy Chavva, Assistant FAO Representative in India.
Shilp Verma of the International Water Management, Institute (IWMI) remarked on inconsistencies in policies that on one hand favor less water demanding crops whilst on other hand power tariffs encourage wasteful irrigation, for which grid connected solar irrigation could provide a solution.
Arun Kumar Misra, Representative from the International Solar Alliance (ISA) reflected on the need for ‘policy-push’ for strengthening the WEF nexus. Policies and instruments can be developed with an adequate consideration for the cross-sectoral consequences.
The event showcased a few innovators such as, Promethean Power Systems, SunMoksha Power Pvt. Ltd, and Shakti Pumps in the WEF Nexus, promoted by the flagship ‘Facility for Low Carbon Technology Deployment (FLCTD)’ programme jointly implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and UNIDO, implemented with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The innovators shared their good practices on energy efficient irrigation pumps along with precession irrigation, micro-storage for reducing food loss, watershed management and application of digital technologies in water management.
For more information, please contact:
Rene Van Berkel,
UNIDO Representative Regional Office in India
National Project Coordinator and Sanjaya Shresta, Project Manager, Facility for Low Carbon Technology Deployment