Irrigation Association co-sponsors event at United Nations 2023 Water Conference

The Irrigation Association co-sponsored a side event with other organizations at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference.
The side event brought irrigation product manufacturers and industry experts together to discuss how to support progress toward global water availability goals.

The Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Virginia, co-sponsored a side event with other water conservation organizations and private industry during the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York City on March 23.

“Sustainable Agriculture Water Use Offers Solutions: Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration to Advance Shared Sustainable Development Goals” showcased ag water solutions to water quality and quantity, food security, biodiversity, climate, resilience and disaster risk reduction from irrigation product manufacturers and industry experts. The in-person dialogue also provided an opportunity to call for collaboration to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The session included a keynote on where climate and water issues meet, followed by a case study panel featuring four case studies such as the Ogallala Aquifer in Kansas and the Ganges River watershed project. Additional panelists joined for a moderated discussion of topics such as barriers that limit focus on agricultural water management and ways to coalesce lessons learned from the global case studies to support progress toward water availability goals.

The IA joined multiple partners in cosponsoring the event, including Netafim, Cargill, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, General Mills and Ducks Unlimited.

It is critically important for the irrigation industry to have a seat at the table, and the IA will continue to engage on these important discussions, says Nathan Bowen, IA advocacy director.

“We are committed to advancing the solutions our industry brings to bear to help meet the productivity needs of a growing global population, ensure global food security, all while providing important economic, environmental and societal benefits to urban and rural communities alike,” he says.

The U.N. conference, which ran March 22-24, focused on topics surrounding drinking water, agriculture and sanitation infrastructure. It was the first major conference of the U.N. dedicated to water since 1977.

Experts said the global situation faces serious challenges, according to the U.N. World Water Development Report 2023, released just before the opening of the conference. According to the report, 26% of the world’s population doesn’t have access to safe drinking water and 46% lacks access to basic sanitation. The report details how current progress falls short of guidelines to achieve one of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Sustainable Development Goal 6 includes providing clean water and sanitation for all, with eight targets to be achieved by 2030.

Progress toward SDG 6 targets is only significantly reported for drinking water and sanitation, according to the report’s executive summary. At current rates, progress toward all of the SDG 6 targets are off track and could need to increase rates of implementation by quadruple or more to be completed.

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