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The CA at the WWF4 - 16 to 22 March 2006

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The Comprehensive assessment on water management in agriculture is an active participant during the 4th World water Forum held March 16-22 at the Banamex Center in Mexico City, Mexico. This Tri-annual gathering of the Global water community bring together experts, authorities and non governmental organisations who need to act in a coordinated fashion. The main focus of the gathering is : local actions for global solutions. A ministerial conference if also organised.

In Mexico, the CA will:

  • Convene on 20/3 at 2.30 pm one session on "Assessing livelihood and environmental trade-offs and synergies for water management in agriculture”(details below).
  • Participate in ten other sessions to present different facets of the findings of the CA (content of synthesis and research projects results).
  • Participate in a Press Conference on the Theme: Water for Food and Environment on the 20th March. Read the theme document online.
  • Participate in the consultation on the "minimum agenda for gender mainstreaming in water management" on 19, 20, 21st at the Women's coalition booth together with Both Ends and Gender and Water Alliance. You are also invited to read and comment the agenda (English ; Spanish; French version).
  • Launch a global art competition on "using artwork to present 18 messages on water for food" opened to anyone and to be closed on the 30th pril 2006.

Specifically the CA convene the following session (FT4.37) on Monday 20 March 2006. (Spanish version of the session)

Session “Assessing livelihood and environmental trade-offs and synergies for water management in agriculture”

Convenors: Comprehensive Assessment on Water Management in Agriculture (CA), convened with FAO, Ramsar, FAN, IWMI and CGIAR.

When: Monday 20 March 2006, 2.30 to 4.30.

There is broad consensus on the need to improve water management and to invest in water for food as these are critical to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The role of water in food and livelihood security is a major issue of concern in the context of continued environmental degradation and persistent poverty throughout the developing world.  Although there is considerable knowledge on the issue, an overarching picture on the water-food-livelihoods-environment nexus is missing, leaving uncertainties about where to invest in order to address both human and environmental water needs. 

The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (CA) is an innovative multi-institute process aimed at identifying existing knowledge and stimulating thought on ways to manage water resources to continue meeting the needs of both humans and ecosystems.  The CA critically evaluates the benefits, costs, and impacts of the past 50 years of water development and challenges to water management currently facing communities.  It assesses innovative solutions and explores consequences of potential investment and management decisions. The CA is designed as a learning process, engaging networks of stakeholders to produce knowledge synthesis and   methodologies.  The main output of the CA is an Assessment report that aims to guide investment and management decisions in the near future considering their impact over the next 50 years in order to enhance food and environmental security to support the achievement of the MDGs. 

The session aims to discuss and debate CA findings on water, agriculture, livelihoods and environment.  It unveils challenges and potential options for investments; it illustrates them through local actions.   WWF4 will be the last event for user input into the assessment before publishing to promote dialogue between people with different points of view about how water is managed in agriculture.

Tentative Program (2.30 to 4.30 pm)

Chair and facilitation: Frank Rijsberman, Director General, IWMI & Reporter: Domitille Vallee

I. Introduction to the session (16 minutes)

  • Introduction to the program, the CA and some key messages by David Molden and Frank Rijsberman and comment on Message 1: “a need for more water for agriculture to reduce hunger and feed a growing population. Impacts on poverty and environment will depend on key choices about investments made”.

II. Local actions illustrating CA messages (30 minutes)

The key message for each local action will be quickly introduced.  The presenter of the local action will be provided no more than 7 minutes to illustrate the message.  Then we will interact with the audience for reactions.

  • Local action 1 presented by Bob Yoder: Innovative, low-cost, water control technologies for smallholder farmer income generation (IDE) illustrates Message 2 “Access to water for food production is a proven ingredient to fight rural poverty”
  • Local Action 2 presented by Sergio Vargas: Negotiations between users and agencies to rescue lake Chapala in Mexico (IMTA & IRD/IWMI) illustrates Message 3 “Basins closing: In many rivers basins, further appropriation of water for people is not possible because limits are reached and in many cases, breached – In these cases where basins are closing, allocation of water is a critical concern for negotiation that requires more informed choices.”

III. Panel Discussion on 6 CA messages (58 minutes)

Panel will be introduced and facilitated by Frank Rijsberman. Each panelist will be given 3 minutes to present their reaction to the key message.  Each panelist comment will be followed by audience feedback.

Brief introduction of the Panel and its task by Frank Rijsberman

  • Message 4 “Enhance a range of ecosystem services when practicing agriculture. There is scope in both agro-ecosystems and wetlands to promote services beyond production of food and fiber” commented by Peter Bridgewater, secretary General, Ramsar Convention secretariat (CA co-sponsor).
  • Message 5Enhance water productivity, gaining more yield and value out of less water, is an effective means of intensification and reducing environmental degradation” by Louise Fresco, Assistant Director General, FAO (CA co-sponsor).
  • Message 6 “while continue decentralization of management roles is required, the state plays a critical role in water resources development and management through policies, allocation of resources, regulation and financing” commented by Jorge Mora Portuguez, secretary General, Freshwater Action Network-Central America.
  • Message 7 “embrace the diversity of existing formal and informal institutions involved in managing land and water at local level, rather than reforming them” commented by Maria Angelica Alegria, GWA-Latin America.
  • Message 8Reinvent Irrigation: The era of rapid expansion of irrigated agriculture is over: a major new task is adapting yesterday’s irrigation systems to tomorrow’s needs.”  By Salah Darghouth, Senior Water Advisor, World Bank.
  • Message 9 Smallholder agricultural systems are an important intervention point for measures aimed at preventing or mitigating land and water degradation in the developing world” commented by Frank Wilkinson, President, IFAP.

IV. Closing (10 minutes)

Remarks on the learning’s from the session by Frank Rijsberman, David Molden

More about the local actions presented during the session.