The Nigeria Water Partnership (GWP-Nigeria) has carried out successfully on 15 June 2015 in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources the national consultation on water and food security. The Chairman of GWP Nigeria, Dr. Hassan Bdliya in his welcome address stated that in recognizing the looming food and water crises, the United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development made a proposal for a dedicated goal on food security (Goal 2) – ‘’end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’’ and another dedicated goal on water (Goal 6) – ‘’ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’’.
To achieve this, a High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) was requested in October 2013 by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to prepare a report on water and food security. This report according to the Chairman is being elaborated through regional and national consultations which will enable the regions and countries to integrate their views.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Musa I. Istifanus in his address pointed out that Africa, in particular its Sub-Saharan parts, is one of the most affected areas in the world regarding food insecurity. He said that while Nigeria appears to have abundant land and water resources, the sustainability of these endowments is threatened by climate change variability, land degradation, deforestation, rapid population growth and other socio-economic developments all of which have placed tremendous pressure on these natural resources. Nigeria has begun its internal broad stakeholder engagement process, with the aim of providing an integrated stakeholder input to Nigeria’s position in the broad consultative process by member countries.
The report produced in the framework of the process identified as key to enhance food security the quality of water, which is crucial for both drinking as well as food preparation and processing. The management of water in an integrated manner (IWRM), the timely and adequate data to manage water and an inclusive water governance are also crucial to ensure sustainable, equitable and gender-just decision-making and allocation of water.
The participants to the consultation made some recommendations included in the report. The Government is asked to allow and promote participation of Ministries, Private Sector, Civil Society and Research bodies in water governance. The sustainable management and conservation of ecosystems for the continued availability, quality and stability of water should be ensured as well as an integrated approach to Water and Food security related policies. The most vulnerable and marginalised, including mainstreaming gender and addressing the specific needs of women should also be prioritised.
The issue of financing was raised as to key to be able to carry out activities. The participants finally agreed that there should be a sustainable involvement of communities in all processes. The data have to be collected and managed well and capacity of stakeholders should be consequently built. The financial and technical support must be extended with a transfer of technology.
Among those who attended were the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Musa I. Istifanus, the Chairman of GWPN, Dr. Hassan Bdliya, the Executive Director in charge of Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission represented by Engr. Yahya Dalha Kazaure, Professor Lekan Oyebade of the University of Lagos, Kate Kanebi of the European Union, and the Consultant, Dr. Samuel Eremie.