During the UN 2023 Water Conference side event ‘Make Water Pivotal in Food Systems’, organised by Wageningen University and Research, Nicole Hellwig, Head of Communications and Events at Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), announced on behalf of NWP and Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP), the ambition to develop the Global Campaign on Salinisation. The campaign is incorporated as a commitment in the Water Action Agenda. The scope and shape of the global campaign is currently being developed.
Salinisation is rapidly becoming one of the biggest challenges for food production worldwide. It severely impacts crop development and growth, threatening food security, biodiversity and the livelihoods of millions of people in various parts of the world. It can only be successfully addressed through an integrated approach, that includes both water and food systems. NFP and NWP have actively worked together over the past 1.5 years to address the issue of salinisation.
In 2021, NWP and NFP convened the Saline Water & Food Systems Partnership: a network of NGOs, ministries, private sector and research institutes in the Netherlands that addresses the issue of salinity in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). In terms of activities, the Partnership co-organised with Wageningen University and Research an online knowledge sharing session, as part of the FAO Science & Innovation Forum in 2022, and now supports knowledge sharing and scoping initiatives of partners working together with local stakeholders in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
One of the ideas that arose from the Partnership was the ambition to develop a Global Campaign on Salinisation. The objectives of this Campaign are to: 1) increase awareness about the issue of salinisation amongst policy makers, researchers and practitioners in the global water and food sectors, and 2) drive a collective follow-up agenda.
This agenda could include developing integrated policies, the launch of new research and innovation programmes, and the exchange of lessons learned at project implementation level. Of course this is very ambitious. But, as we have heard throughout the conference, any water-related challenge needs an ambitious response.
Head of Communications and Events at NWP
Several organisations have expressed their interest to collaborate. They include members of the Saline Water & Food Systems Partnership, the FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (WASAG/INSAS), the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), the Global Water Partnership, and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Anyone who is interested and willing to contribute, can do so and is invited to get in touch with NWP or NFP. Working together leads to an impactful Campaign.