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Coping with water scarcity: An action framework for agriculture and food security

Published by:
Publication date
Number of Pages
Type of Publication:
Focus Region:
Focus Topic:
Climate / Weather / Environment
Nutrition / Food Systems
Type of Risk:
Weather & Climate related
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk coping
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The report aims to provide a conceptual framework to address food security under conditions of water scarcity in agriculture. It has been prepared by a team of FAO staff and consultants in the framework of the project “Coping with water scarcity – the role of agriculture”, and has been discussed at an Expert Consultation meeting organized in FAO, Rome, during the period 14–16 December 2009 on the same subject. It was subsequently edited and revised, taking account of discussions in the Expert Consultation and materials presented to the meeting.

The purpose of the Expert Consultation was to assist FAO to better design its water scarcity programme. In particular, the experts were requested to provide recommendations on the range of technical and policy options and associated principles that FAO should promote as part of an agricultural response to water scarcity in member countries.

The document offers views on the conceptual framework on which FAO’s water scarcity programme should be based, proposes a set of definitions associated with the concept of water scarcity, and indicates the main principles on which FAO should base its action in support to its member countries. At the meeting, experts were requested to review the draft document and provide feedback and recommendations for its finalization. Issues that were addressed in discussions included:

  • Water scarcity: agreement on key definitions.
  • The conceptualization of water scarcity in ways that are meaningful for policy development and decision-making.
  • The quantification of water scarcity.
  • Policy and technical response options available to ensure food security in conditions of water scarcity.
  • Criteria and principles that should be used to establish priorities for action in response to water scarcity in agriculture and ensure effective and efficient water scarcity coping strategies.