UNFSS Independent Dialogue in Egypt


April 19, 2021    
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm


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The Role of Water Security for Food Systems Transformation

Water scarcity remains a key challenge for agricultural development in the MENA region, including Egypt. Scarcity is rapidly growing as a result of climate change and rapid increases in water demand for other uses. Considering that Egypt’s agri-food system provided critical cushioning for economic growth, jobs, and household income negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount that more consideration is given to the important role of water security for Egypt’s food systems. With agriculture utilizing over 80% of Egypt’s water resources, meeting these challenges will require bold actions and new mindsets directed at water and food systems transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Join us for an Independent Dialogue convened in partnership between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to discuss the role of Water Security for Food Systems Transformation in Egypt. Insights emerging from this multi-stakeholder dialogue will be presented to the United Nations Food System Summit (UNFSS) in September 2021. Transforming #foodsystems is among the most powerful ways to make progress towards all 17 #SDGS.

This dialogue will discuss the importance of water security for all aspects of Egypt’s food systems, with a focus on equity, inclusion, capacity, innovation and sustainability, including insights on how food systems need to change to improve water security (SDG 6), help eliminate hunger (SGD2), support energy security (SDG 7), improve climate adaptation and mitigation action (SDG 13) and help retain all life on land (SDG 15).

This pre-UNFSS2021 session therefore seeks to unpack the question: What is the role of water in transforming Egypt’s food systems for improved water and food security and environmental sustainability?  Speakers and panelists from Egypt and beyond will engage in interactive group discussions, collective brainstorming, and agenda-setting. As Egypt and the MENA region map out the road to UNFSS 2021, the dialogue will discuss key messages that need to be heard at UNFSS 2021.

We invite everyone working to advance transformative water and food systems to join this Dialogue.

Curators: Dr. Clemens Breisinger & Dr. Claudia Ringler (IFPRI), Dr. Amgad Elmahdi (IWMI), and Dr. Jacques Wery (ICARDA)

Topic Curator Time Allocation
Introduction, scene-setting, and order of the day Yumna Kassim, IFPRI 3 mins
The Road to UNFSS2021: Achieving water and food security Joachim von Braun (Chair of the Scientific Group for the UNFSS) – by video 5 mins
Water and Food System Transformations in Egypt IFPRI 5 mins
The Need for System Transformation: A few thoughts from policy Mahmoud Abou Zeid (President of the Arab Water Council) (tbc) 5 mins
Crop-level Solutions ICARDA 5 mins
New Water Solutions IWMI 5 mins
Introduction to breakout groups Yumna Kassim, IFPRI 3 mins
6 Breakout group discussion All 40 mins
Feedback from breakouts All 30 mins
Panel discussion on the way forward Moderator: Claudia Ringler, IFPRI

·         Phil Riddell, Advisor MWRI (tbc)

·         Hammou Laamrani, League of Arab States (tbc)

·         Dina Saleh, IFAD (tbc)

·         Yasser AlShayeb, COEW-AUC (tbc)

·         Hassan Husseiny, Gebal Egypt (tbc)

·         Farmer representative: tbd


25 mins
Wrap-up of key messages and next steps TBD 5 mins

The Dialogue is expected to gather around 100 participants/stakeholders from Egypt and regional and international partners. Arabic translation will be available, except in breakout rooms.

Thematic areas for breakout group discussions:

  1. Food and Water Systems in a Changing Climate

Key questions: How can we retain water and food security under climate change in Egypt (and the MENA region)? Do we need to change or expand water sources, change commodities, sustainable development, multi-functional and benefits infrastructure, governance beyond water (nexus governance), etc.?

  1. Policy Coherence and Institutional Coordination across Water and Food Security in Egypt

Key questions: What practical steps can/should be taken to ensure policy coherence and institutional coordination to jointly improve water and food security in Egypt to meet the future needs? Are policy/institutional set-ups encouraging partnerships and investments by private sector?

  1. Equity Considerations in access to affordable Water and Food

Key questions: How can we improve equity in access to water and food and nutrition security for the poorest? Are current government policies adequate? Do we need to go beyond water and food policy to nexus policy?

  1. Digitally informed climate-smart Solutions for agri-food Transformation in Egypt

Key questions: Have we fully explored all technological, innovative and agronomic solutions to improve water and agricultural productivity in Egypt’s food production systems? Are we producing the right agricultural commodities (including livestock and fisheries)? How can we eliminate water pollution in Egypt? Produce more with less water and energy? Are we adopting and investing in the right digital Climate Smart Agriculture?

  1. Food System Efficiency beyond Production for a Greener and more resilient Future?

Key questions: What actions are needed to improve food systems beyond production, along the value chain, with no harm for natural resources? This includes water use in food processing, preparation, transportation, retailing, and consumption. This also includes the role of water in international and regional trade.

  1. Food Systems Changes for improved Water Security

Key question: How can we change Egypt’s food systems to support all aspects of SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation? This could include changing diets, changing food processing practices, de-risking agricultural systems, redesigning the farming system, eco-nexus farming?


About the UNFSS Dialogues

The Food Systems Summit Dialogues are an approach for enabling systematic, inclusive opportunities for stakeholders to be engaged in food systems. The approach enables participants to contribute to the 2021 Food Systems Summit by building on efforts already underway, working together on pathways that lead to sustainable food systems, and setting out intentions and commitments in the run up to the Summit. These Dialogues contribute to shaping the pathways which will lead to equitable and sustainable food systems by 2030. They will also be valuable to the different work streams preparing for the Food Systems Summit: the Action Tracks, Scientific Groups and Champions as well as for other Dialogues.

The Dialogues are moments for: engaging actors in the food systems approach, in unusual ways; enabling them to explore ideas together; encouraging creativity, emphasizing equity; emerging more powerfully through connections; elaborating pathways, intentions and commitments together.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) as well as global and regional partners have committed to host a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues that emphasize water’s transformative role in food systems. The objective is to bring the discussion on food and water systems in a changing climate to the global policy level and to provide tangible inputs into the discussion of the UNFSS.