Theme: RURAL TRANSFORMATION THROUGH EFFICIENT AGRICULTURE WATER MANAGEMENT
Agriculture is strategically important for food security and sustainable development. As a major employer in most developing economies, it presents itself as a vehicle for reducing poverty. Food security and nutrition mainly depend on sustainable agriculture, which is a key user of natural resources, such as land and water. Agriculture practices need to be changed profoundly to meet increasing demands while facing more competitive and volatile markets, and the effects of climate change.
Globally about 3.4 billion (45%) presently live in rural areas and is expected to decline to 3.1 billion (34%) by 2050. In contrast in developing countries about 75% population still live in rural areas who are mainly dependent on and continue to depend on agriculture for their livelihood, and many live in extreme poverty. So rural transformation can be a powerful engine of sustainable development as well improving lives of rural population in all its aspects. While commercial farming is playing an increasing role, but small family farms will still play an important role in ensuring food security in developing economies and providing income and environmental services. Apart from other challenges such as access to right information, finances, markets etc., there is a need to obviate the risks resulting due to weather and climate uncertainties to ensure that small farmers are ready to invest in agriculture, and small farm businesses are free from avoidable risks.
To catalyse this transformation, which is context-specific, four key issues will need immediate attention: leveraging the rural-urban nexus for development; promoting an empowerment agenda for rural livelihoods; investing in middle and large-scale farming, as well as in smallholder family agriculture for global food security and nutrition; and promoting the resilience of poor rural households. Access to irrigation and drainage will enable more resilient household income for (smallholder) farmers since reliable access to water for crops can reduce the vulnerability to drought and wet periods, increase the farm yields, and provide a mechanism for the utilization of improved inputs.
Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development as adopted by the United Nations (UN) provides a unique opportunity to refocus our policy, investments and partnerships on equitable, inclusive and sustainable rural transformation in order to reduce the rural-urban inequalities and ensure global food security. An Inter-Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) under ‘The UN Statistics Division’ has formulated number of targets and indicators for each of the 17 goals. These targets, to be monitored at global level, may not represent the entire spectrum of targets that the sector would like to work upon. Agriculture Water Management (AWM) sector has to explore the need, desirability and feasibility of setting up a mechanism akin to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). At the same time member countries will need to be supported in achieving and monitoring these targets. There is a need for the sector to evolve essential indicators to monitor progress at the sectoral level.
 An exercise for monitoring the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past through the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme report was found to be very successful.
Keeping the above in view, a Ministerial roundtable is proposed during the 2nd World Irrigation Forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 6 November 2016, which provides an excellent opportunity to deliberate on these issues, with the objective “to set up a mechanism for supporting countries in achieving the SDGs and the targets associated with rural transformation through sound agriculture water management”.
Ministers from the relevant ministries dealing with agriculture water management from the ICID member and ASEAN countries would be invited to take part in the roundtable meeting. It is expected that about 15 ministers would participate in the meeting.
The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), through its member countries and partner organizations would provide an excellent platform to work towards formulating the sectoral targets and indicators and also ensuring that the substantial progress towards the SDGs is achieved in all countries. AWM sector will have to explore the possibility of setting up a Partnership for AWM in support of various SDGs. Partnership for Agriculture Water Management would help the member countries in accessing the sustainable development fund and other financial resources available through various mechanisms to support SDGs process. Mutual support and hand holding may also be required in many cases. The Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations and ICID with their data bases on irrigation and drainage can be a good starting point for developing the required data base for monitoring the relevant targets.
It is proposed that after introduction of objective of the roundtable by ICID, Hon’ble Ministers would be requested to provide their views and suggestions on achieving SDGs and associated targets through efficient agriculture water management in their countries. Time slot for the meeting would be 2 hours.
At the end of ministerial round table meeting a Ministerial Declaration would be issued on the common understanding and goals and mechanism proposed to be adopted in achieving SDGs and associated targets through rural transformation.
|Ministerial Round Table Meeting
6th November 2016
|09:00-11:00||Welcome||Minister, Thailand||5 mins|
|Welcome||President, ICID||5 mins|
|Introduction and Objectives||Secretary General, ICID||10 mins|
|Address by Hon’ble Ministers||Ministers Present||15×5=75 mins|
|Discussion on Declaration||30 mins|
 The “Partnerships for SDGs” was launched in the lead-up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. The platform, managed by the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSD/DESA) is currently being improved to better respond to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to function as a tool to inform all stakeholders on initiatives carried out by multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for linking progress of those initiatives to various follow-up mechanisms of the 2030 Agenda, in particular to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).