World Food Day: Water Security is Food Security

Today is World Food Day, an important opportunity to acknowledge the current global hunger and malnutrition crisis, celebrate solutions that are accelerating progress toward more equitable and resilient food systems, and redouble our efforts to ensure every child, family and community is well-nourished. This year’s theme, Water is Life, Water is Food, highlights the connection between food and water security and calls for better, smarter water management practices that ensure nutritious food doesn’t come at the expense of our planet’s most precious resource. For the 2.4 billion people who experienced food insecurity last year – nearly one third of the world – the relationship between water and food security is real, and the need for solutions is urgent.

We know that climate change is stressing our planet’s water resources and contributing to the global food security crisis, with some 80 percent of the world’s hungry living in regions affected by climate shocks and extreme weather. Through our work in the Horn of Africa, we’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of drought on the region’s most vulnerable. And we know these climatic shocks are increasing in frequency and severity, intersecting with spiraling global conflict and worsening economic and supply chain disruptions. All of this creates multiple, converging crises that threaten to unravel decades of development gains, worsen global hunger, and leave far too many people deprived of the agency and resources needed to lead full, flourishing lives.

That is why I am proud to lead an organization of committed and capable individuals who are relentlessly pursuing impact for those we serve. Motivated by our faith to go to the hard places and engage some of the world’s most intractable challenges, our work to reconcile broken relationships and transform systems is restoring health, wholeness, and hope for communities across the globe. From the Philippines to Ethiopia to Bolivia, FH staff are collaborating with children, families, and communities to bring innovative solutions that build resilience and catalyze long-term, sustainable impact.

Last month I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the Concordia Summit, an annual gathering at the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The topic of the conversation was the role of regenerative agriculture on food and water security, and I was humbled to share about our work leveraging sustainable agriculture practices to enhance the nutritional status and food security of smallholder farmers in some of the world’s most resource-constrained environments. Whether through the use of no-till Maresha planters in Ethiopia that increase crop yields while minimizing soil erosion and labor requirements, or watershed restoration efforts in Bolivia that are crucial to mitigate the effects of El Niño, we work everyday to build well-nourished communities that are resilient to shocks and stresses.

In a world where over 3 billion people are unable to afford and access a healthy diet, and nearly 150 million children experience stunted growth and development due to a chronic lack of essential nutrients, the need for resilient food systems that ensure food and water security has never been greater.

I am reminded by Isaiah 40:31 that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” I am encouraged daily by the Lord’s faithfulness and inspired by the transformative power of our collective efforts. In the face of real challenges, hope remains. May this World Food Day be an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the critical work of ensuring every child, family and community can access a well-nourished, flourishing future.

 

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