There are seven billion people to feed on the planet today and another two billion are expected by 2050. It’s estimated that every person consumes between two and four liters of water per day. Most of the water that people consume is embedded in the food they eat. For example, producing one kilo of beef requires 15,000 liters of water, while producing one kilo of wheat requires 1,500 liters.
Unfortunately, desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) are contributing to the global water crisis. As a consequence of DLDD, falling water tables are widespread, resulting in serious water shortages and salt intrusion in coastal areas.
As populations increase, especially in dryland areas, more and more people are becoming dependent on fresh water supplies in land that are becoming degraded. This is not sustainable. Water security, like food security, is becoming a major national and regional priority in many areas of the world. The implementation of the UNCCD has a significant role in the sustainable availability of clean, adequate and safe water for human consumption and economic development.
Mitigating drought and water scarcity
Drought and water emergencies can have dramatic impacts across environmental, social and economic systems. To mitigate these impacts, it is necessary to put in place national measures to guide response during times of crisis. National drought policies should consider poverty eradication, economic growth and employment creation, while preserving ecosystems and tackling climate change.
The UNCCD has the mandate to enhance the development and strengthening of national drought policies to support disaster prevention and response strategies.
National drought policies should include integrated drought and water scarcity risk management, disaster preparedness, emergency relief, and recovery and rehabilitation planning. They must also take into account water availability and ecosystem protection and restoration.
Drought and water scarcity management initiatives must also recognize the urgent need for multi-stakeholder platforms, at the country and transboundary levels, for the implementation of joint strategies and the coordinated response and prevention of drought and water scarcity.