Aug 24, 2012

Global Leaders to Convene at World Water Week to Confront Growing Water & Food Insecurity

More than 2500 politicians, business leaders and representatives of 200 organizations are set to meet at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Aug. 26 to 31

World Water Week in Stockholm is an annual global forum to review progress, build capacities and promote partnerships to address increasing water and development challenges. In more than 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week, participants will meet under the theme “Water and Food Security.”

Ministers and high-level government officials will be joined this year by CEOs, scientists, chief economists, heads of UN bodies and participants from more than 200 convening organizations and more than 100 nations. Experts at the event will debate and showcase solutions to ensure that the planet's limited water resources are efficiently used to meet the needs of growing populations and prevent water shortages, floods and droughts from constraining economic growth.

Today, nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and another two billion suffer from undernourishment, while at the same time more than one-third of all food is lost or wasted. Demand for food and fiber is projected to increase 70% by mid-century, and without intervention, will place untenable pressure on water resources in many regions in the world.

As input to the week’s deliberations, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) released its report “Feeding a thirsty world: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure world,” which spotlights a number of essential and largely overlooked challenges where dedicated action can help ensure water and food security.

At the opening session on Aug. 27, top experts and government representatives that will present include: Mohamed Bahaa El Din Saad, minister of water resources and irrigation for Egypt and president of the African Ministers Council on Water; Gunilla Carlsson, minister of international development cooperation for Sweden; Dr. José Graziano da Silva, director-general food and agriculture organization of the United Nations; Sanjeev Chadha, president of PepsiCo Middle East and Africa; Torgny Holmgren, executive director for SIWI; and Dr. Colin Chartres, director general for the International Water Management Institute, the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate.

Following the opening session, there will be a panel debate on the global rush for water and land, featuring high-level representatives from the UN, the International Land Coalition, academia and members of national governments from Sierra Leone and Qatar. The week also will include a panel debate of chief economists from international financial institutions, government and academia on how to use economic policy instruments to manage water more efficiently.

During the week, the Stockholm Water Prize will be presented to the International Water Management Institute for its work to improve agricultural water management, enhance food security, protect environmental health and alleviate poverty in developing countries. Other prizes that will be presented during the week are the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, which is given to one national team from 28 competing nations, and the Stockholm Industry Water Award, which will be presented this year to PepsiCo for its efforts to reduce water consumption in its operations and to help solve water challenges on a broad scale.