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Water is significant to every life on Earth

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By Mercy Kelani

World Food Day — "Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind”.

This year, 2023, for the commemoration of the World Food Day, focus is placed on water — “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind”. Water is significant to every life on Earth. It accounts for a good measure of the surface of the Earth, making up more than 50 percent of human bodies, supporting livelihoods, and produces food for living things. However, this natural resource has no infinity, and should no longer be taken for granted by human beings.

The food that is consumed by humans, and the production of the food both has an impact on water. It is, therefore, required that everyone takes water action for food and choose to be the change. This liquid covers about 71 percent of the surface of the Earth. Of this large measure of water on Earth, only 2.5 percent is fresh, and suitable for agriculture, drinking, and many industrial uses. It is a driving force for economies, people and nature.

2.4bn people across the world reside in water-stressed countries.

It is considered as the foundation of the food consumed by humans. Although agriculture makes up 72 percent of global freshwater withdrawals, but similar to all other natural resources, fresh water is not infinite. The water resources on the planet are being subjected to increasing stress by rapid population growth, economic development, urbanization, and climate change. In the past decades, also, there has been a decline by 20 percent of fresh water resources per person.

Likewise, the availability and quality of water are reducing fast as a result of decades of poor management and use, pollution, over extraction of groundwater, and climate change. As a result, humans risk sending this essential natural resource into extinction. Today, research has it that about 2.4 billion people across the world reside in water-stressed countries. The majority of them are smallholder farmers who experience struggle to provide their daily needs, especially women, migrants, Indigenous People, and refugees.

Humans should produce more food with less water.

There is a continual competition for this resource as water scarcity metamorphoses into a rising cause of conflict. About 600 million people who have reliance, maybe partially, on aquatic food systems to make a living are suffering from the impacts of pollution, unsustainable practices, ecosystem degradation, and climate change. It is necessary that humans begin to ensure production of more food and essential agricultural products with less water. This should be done while making sure that there is an equal distribution of water, preservation of aquatic food systems, and no one left behind.

Governments are urged to create science and evidence-based policies that focus on innovation, data and cross-sectoral coordination for better planning and management of water. These policies also need to be supported with increased investment, technologies, legislation, and capacity development. This should be put in place while incentivizing the private sector for engagement in integrated solutions to aid a more efficient use and conservation of water. A difference can be made if humans choose fresh, seasonal, and local foods, with less wastage.

All UN Member States observe the international day.

Every year, across the world, World Food Day is celebrated as an international day for the commemoration of the date of the establishment of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945 on October 16. The celebration of the day is widely done by other organisations interested in food security and hunger, including the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The day is usually observed by all UN Member States.

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