Zimbabwe identified in Southern Africa to conduct global consultations on food and water security issues
By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe has been chosen as the only country in the Southern African region to participate in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on going global consultations focusing on food and water security. This came out at a recent workshop in Harare attended by various stakeholders to come up with a report to be presented to CFS covering the related issues.
The Global Water Partnership (GWP) network of which Zimbabwe is a member was tasked by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to facilitate consultations on water and food security at country level in order to provide concerned governments with widely shared positions on water and food security issues and challenges in member countries.
The concerns shall be presented by end of June to officials and made available to country representatives at FAO as an additional support for negotiating and promoting country positions in the Committee on world Food Security (CFS) discussions in October 2015.
The Global Water Partnership was created in order to facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals agreed upon at the Earth Summit in 1992.
Over the years the partnership has been playing its catalyst role for better public policies and governance mechanisms in more than 180 countries. It has been sharing and disseminating knowledge and generating synergies between actors at global, regional, country and local levels.
According to Wellington Dzvairo Water, Climate and Development Programme for Africa (WACDEP) Zimbabwe Project Manager, through the Country Water Partnerships GWP has facilitated national dialogues on issues related to integrated water resources management. In 2014 within the global dialogue on the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, Zimbabwe Water Partnership facilitated national consultations on the relevance of a dedicated water goal. The Zimbabwe outcomes together with other 28 countries outcomes were compiled into a synthetic report which was used by the open working group tasked with preparing the UN work.
“The value addition of this initiative lies in the establishment of a bridge between two issues frequently tackled in public policies, food security and water security,” Dzvairo said.
Africa, in particular its sub Saharan part, is one of the most affected areas in the world regarding food insecurity according to a 2014 report on hunger by IFPRI.
Climate change and climate variability is expected to amplify the challenges. Over the last couple years, Zimbabwe in particular has seen dryland cropping being negatively affected by climatic variability, according to Dzvairo.
For several years the African Union has been inviting its member states to elaborate national policies for agriculture development, asking them to elaborate “country agricultural development plans” (CAADP).CAADP vision is for African countries to be able to mobilize effectively and efficiently both its own resources and international aid in order to have a real impact on agricultural productivity and to influence food security and poverty reduction. In April 2014 at a meeting for the results framework for the CAADP program, the ministers notably underscored that climate change was going to be one of the biggest challenges in reaching this ambition. One of the key priorities regarding food security and poverty alleviation identified at the meeting was that of resilience to climate change through strong integration of climate change adaptation in agricultural investment plans.
According to Dzvairo, the ongoing consultations aim to mobilize the voice of stakeholders in the broader national development context on the issues related to the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus.
“Locally, Zimbabwe Water Partnership (ZWP) through a committee comprised of members mainly from the Water and Food sectors will spearhead the water-food consultations. The project management will take advantage of the WACDEP project, which already has good links with major stakeholders as they are already part of the WACDEP Zimbabwe project management committee,” Dzvairo said.
Stakeholders from key institutions with knowledge and influence on the following areas such as food, nutrition, trade, finance, health, agriculture, farming, and water have been identified.
The objectives are to obtain views from Zimbabwe stakeholders on the interconnections between food and water security, to build local awareness and provide inputs and options to support bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and recommendations that will enhance resolutions from the 42nd CFS, to ensure water and the complexity of its governance is properly reflected in any local food security agenda, to have the countries inputs influencing the global policy dialogue and contribute to shaping potential resolutions from the CFS in 2015,to recognize the linkages between water, food, health, energy and ecosystems and to build on the country dialogue on the post-2015 development agenda organized by GWP in 2014.
“A report with recommendations that will enhance resolutions from 42nd CFS and that will influence the global policy dialogue and contribute to shaping potential resolutions from the CFS in 2015 will be produced locally,” Dzvairo added.