Australia works with UN to improve fresh water management in Asia

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Australia is using its expertise in water management in partnership with the United Nations to improve fresh water management in Asian agriculture to safeguard the region’s food security. 

The Australian Government and the Australian Water Partnership signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to leverage Australia’s experience a to the benefit of countries in Asia facing increasing challenges of water scarcity.

The MoU was signed by FAO’s Assistant Director-General Kundhavi Kadiresan, International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Dr Don Blackmore for the Australian Water Partnership.

“Australia values its partnerships for international development with a range of multilateral organisations and today’s MoU with FAO is a further testament to that commitment,” Fierravanti-Wells said.

The Australian expertise is coordinated through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which funds the Australian Water Partnership. The AWP was established to share Australia’s extensive experience in managing water in the context of scarcity, over-allocation and climate change.

Water scarcity is a major concern for agriculture and food security in Asia where, as the population of expands, the competition for natural resources, particularly water, intensifies. Farmers and food producers compete with other users including industry, cities and the environment. Hence the need for improved water management is vital to help achieve the world’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Kadiresan said improving agricultural water management and increasing food security across the Asia-Pacific region were major priorities for FAO.

“FAO’s network of Representative Offices in many countries of Asia and the Pacific, and its close working relationship with governments and resource partners in those countries, provide both venue and opportunity for the Australian Water Partnership to work with FAO to improve water management, revitalize irrigation schemes and safeguard future food security in our region.”

“To further the achievement of our common objectives, the AWP intends to collaborate with FAO to facilitate access to Australian expertise in such areas as management and governance of surface and groundwater for agriculture, including strengthening institutional frameworks, regulations, policies, allocation strategies, investments and operations,” said Dr Nick Schofield, CEO of AWP.