World Food Day 2023: Five actions to get us closer to water and food security for all
- Impact Area
World Food Day 2023 (October 16) focuses on the theme “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind.” While no one doubts that water of sufficient quantity and adequate quality is essential to sustaining all life on Earth, including us humans, water is often taken for granted. This is largely due to the fact that its role in food systems and many other vital processes—including ecosystem health, energy production, and manufacturing—remains, on the whole, invisible.
If asked, few people would know that globally, agriculture consumes around 85% of all water withdrawals and that water pollution is a major contributor to food safety concerns. This void in awareness is a serious problem as water systems are reaching a breaking point. A hotter planet needs ever more fresh water for (more) people, crops, and animals to thrive, even as per capita water resources have precipitously dropped due to population and economic growth. Both kinds of water extremes—droughts or storms accompanied by heavy rainfall and flooding—are growing more frequent and intense. And widespread pollution is leaving a growing share of water resources unfit for drinking or other essential purposes.