FAO's new report- State of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture

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FAO's new report- State of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture

The state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture (SOLAW 2021) provides new
information on the status of land, soil and water resources, and evidence of the changing and
alarming trends in resource use. Together, they reveal a situation that has much deteriorated in
the last decade, when the first SOLAW 2011 report highlighted that many of our productive land
and water ecosystems were at risk. The pressures on land and water ecosystems are now intense,
and many are stressed to a critical point.

Against this background, it is clear our future food security will depend on safeguarding our
land, soil and water resources. The growing demand for agrifood products requires us to look
for innovative ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, under a changing climate
and loss of biodiversity. We must not underestimate the scale and complexity of this challenge.
The report argues that this will depend on how well we manage the risks to the quality of our land
and water ecosystems, how we blend innovative technical and institutional solutions to meet local
circumstances, and, above all, how we can focus on better systems of land and water governance.
The interlinked actions and coalitions resulting from the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit
provide an important entry to renew national and global priorities, and as a basis to advance the
transformation of our agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.
A meaningful engagement with the key stakeholders – farmers, pastoralists, foresters and
smallholders – directly involved in managing soils and conserving water in agricultural landscapes is central. These are nature’s stewards and the best agents of change to adopt, adapt and
embrace the innovation we need to secure a sustainable future.
I invite you to read the SOLAW 2021 report with a view to the fundamentals of all terrestrial agrifood
production. Land degradation and water scarcity will not disappear. However, while the scale of
the challenge is daunting, whether as cultivators of land or consumers of food, even small shifts
in behaviours will see the much-needed transformation at the core of our global agrifood systems.
The new FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 firmly commits the Organization to promote the
sustainable management of our vital land and water ecosystems for better production, better
nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.
Dr QU Dongyu
FAO Director-General