Food production consumes 85% of water in developing countries: Egypt irrigation minister

Aya Salah , Thursday 23 Mar 2023

Food production consumes more than 85 percent of the water in developing countries and about 70 percent of the water worldwide, Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hani Sweilam said on Thursday at the UN 2023 Water Conference.

Minister Hany Swailem in his participation at the event on Thursday at the UN, New York. Photo : Ministry of irrigation


Sweilam’s remarks came during his participation as Minister of Irrigation and Chairman of the African Ministers of Water Council (AMCAW) in the session on "Ensuring the availability of water sustainably", – which is organised by the African Union Commission and the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser for Africa, in cooperation with (AMCAW) – within the activities of the "United Nations Conference to Review midterm" in New York.

During the session, Sweilam stressed the importance of water in achieving development in the African continent in light of the direct impact of water on the social and economic dimensions.

The minister highlighted the focus of the African Union's 2063 agenda on ensuring water and food security as a first step to achieving Africa's prosperous aspirations based on comprehensive and sustainable development,

He noted the interdependence of water with achieving other sustainable development goals such as those concerned with eradicating poverty and hunger; preserving health; ensuring the availability of water and sanitation for all; encouraging economic growth and industrialisation; providing job opportunities; reducing inequality; and achieving peace and security.

Sweilam explained that in light of the challenges facing the water sector at the global level and the increase in droughts, floods, and environmental deterioration, the African Water Ministers Council (AMCAW) would seek to promote optimal water management within the national plans of countries through sustainable water planning, improving water services, developing infrastructure and taking measures to increase resilience to climate change.

“This session and the United Nations Water Conference are an opportunity to discuss ways to ensure water security, provide water and sanitation services for people, and discuss measures to implement the results of the 2022 WASSMO report effectively”, Sweilam stated.

“They are also an opportunity to review what has been achieved on the procedures for implementing the Contract of Action, as well as on the outputs of the Dakar Declaration, namely, A Blue Deal for Water Security and Sanitation for Peace and Development,” he said.

He added that the session and the conference also provided an opportunity to discuss the action plan for the “AWARe Action Initiative for Water Resilience”  Egypt launched in COP27.

The United Nations General Assembly declared in 2018 that 2018-2028 would be the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development.

Egypt, one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, is paying particular attention to water issues.

It has held five editions of Cairo Water Week to address related challenges.

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