IDA becomes FAO WASAG partner

The International Desalination Association (IDA) has become a partner of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and its (Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG) initiative.

“For many years, IDA has been an NGO of the United Nations. Our partnership with FAO deepens our relationship and extends our reach into programs that can ultimately make a great difference in the future of the world,” Shannon McCarthy, IDA Secretary General, said. “It also is another step forward in establishing relationships with leading organisations around the world that, like IDA, are concerned with solving water scarcity problems.”

FAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. The WASAG Framework – launched by FAO and partners at the climate meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, in late 2016 – was designed to bring together key players across the globe and across sectors to tackle the collective challenge of using water better in agriculture to ensure food security for all. It is an initiative for partners from all fields and backgrounds to collaborate in supporting countries and stakeholders in their commitments and plans related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement – including implementing nationally determined contributions – as well as other plans and programs related to agriculture and water.

With over 194 member states now part of the UN, FAO works in more than 130 countries worldwide. Including the IDA, FAO has established partnerships with 48 organisations around the world.

Agriculture is the world’s largest user of water. According to FAO, water use expanded at over double the rate of population growth in the 20th century, and by 2050, the world’s population is predicted to grow further by 2 billion to 9.3 billion. Combined with changing diets, FAO has stated, this means that the world will need to produce almost 50 per cent more food to meet demand. This will place greater stress on available water resources, which are expected to be further impacted by climate change.

IDA sees desalination and water reuse as key tools to address this problem.

“Desalination provides the only sustainable new source of fresh water for the world’s growing population. It is now practiced in 150 countries, and we estimate that more than 300 million people around the world rely on desalinated water for some or all their daily needs,” McCarthy added. “With water reuse programs, precious water resources can be recycled for drinking water, agriculture or industrial purposes, thus augmenting water supplies from other sources and conserving water resources.”