Call for an African water revolution

Humanity faces daunting water challenges in the Anthropocene. Water scarcity and shocks linked to hydro-climate, anthropogenic climate change and rapidly rising demographic pressure on water, makes it imperative for the world to place a top priority on water to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Moreover, success requires a deep mind-shift from the predominant blue (liquid) water paradigm, to an integrated green and blue water paradigm that builds water resilience. Green water is the part of the rainfall that is retained in the soil, and which provides at least 70% of freshwater use for food production in the world through rainfed agriculture.

Africa is the global Ground Zero in terms of problems funneling. About 40% of sub-Saharan Africa is semi-arid or dry sub-humid; climate change and ecosystem degradation create major water shocks on a continent with a population projected to grow from 1 billion to up to 3 billion this century. Reaching SDG 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture), requires massive, continental-scale efforts to secure food for a population, which for only semiarid and dry sub-humid regions will likely approach 900 million by the end of the Agenda 2030 period.

In this outcome statement from the Malin Falkenmark Symposium at World Water Week in Stockholm 2016, ‘A Triple Green Future for Humanity’, we argue that it will NOT be possible to achieve the SDGs in Africa without an AFRICAN WATER REVOLUTION  based on green water that builds water resilience for sustainable development.

Author: Malin Falkenmark; Johan Rockström; Torgny Holmgren; Johan Kuylenstierna; Kevin Chika Urama; Daniel Tsegai; Oyun Sanjaasuren; Shenggen Fan

Publisher: Stockholm International Water Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre; African Development Bank; United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); Global Water Partnership; World Water Council; International Food Policy Research Institute

Language: English

Year: 2017

Location(s): Africa

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