More than 300 participants came together in Praia, Cabo Verde, West Africa to discuss water scarcity and making agriculture resilient to climate change. The gathering was called by FAO’s WASAG initiative (the Global Framework of Water Scarcity in Agriculture), a partnership hosted by FAO consisting of government agencies, international organisations, research institutions, advocacy groups, and professional/membership organisations. WASAG’s main goal is to help adapt agriculture to water scarcity now and in the future.
Climate change dialogues
The first WASAG International Forum was held in Praia in 2019 and resulted in the Praia Commitments. The second Forum, also in Praia, took place from 7-10 February 2023 to mobilise political commitment and draft messages that would raise the profile of water scarcity in agriculture in the climate change dialogues at the UN 2023 Water Conference and UNFCCC COP 28 in November 2023. The latest Forum discussed ways of making the partnership more effective and impactful, sharing relevant knowledge, and showcasing the latest technologies.
Technical session at the Forum
The Forum last February commenced with the opening ceremony in the notable presence of QU Dongyu, Director General of the FAO. During the Forum, a technical session was held on saline agriculture and included several interesting talks. On behalf of the Saline Water & Food Systems partnership, convened by the Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) and Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), Dr. Kate Negacz (Institute for Environmental Studies, Free University of Amsterdam) introduced the partnership and invited the attendees – both those physically present and online – to join the partnership and exchange experiences on saline agriculture. Bas Bruning (The Salt Doctors) contributed to this technical session with a pre-recorded keynote.
A preliminary overview of the results of the Forum can be found on the Forum website.
The upcoming launch of farmer guidelines
The Forum also served as the main platform to announce the upcoming launch of farmer guidelines, produced by a WASAG working group, on cultivating crops under saline conditions. The Salt Doctors contributed substantially to these guidelines which will be published soon. As a next step, WASAG will develop closer relations with member states to support its work.
The Forum served as a great platform to give visibility to Dutch expertise on saline agriculture at an international level.
The research and activities are co-financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and supported by the Netherlands Food Partnership and the Netherlands Water Partnership. NFP and NWP convene the partnership, a multi-stakeholder platform to address salinisation.