United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Cluster 3: Water and Sanitation, Sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition

- Water is at the core of sustainable development. We won't be able to achieve sustainable development without securing water.
- Water is also linked to health, agriculture and food security, biodiversity, desertification, land degradation and drought. It should be dealt with comprehensively, following a nexus approach acknowledging interlinkages.
- Water scarcity is on the rise, particularly due to the adverse impacts of climate change. we need to work on the supply side in order to increase the availability of water, before increasing the demand, by increasing universal access, and agricultural production

1- Water and sanitation:

Suggested goal:
Secure sustainable access to water and sanitation for all

Suggested targets:
- ensuring access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation for all;
- providing adequate facilities and infrastructure, for safe drinking water and sanitation systems in all areas;
- Improving water-use efficiency and extending wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse;
- Promote integrated water resources management at national and basin-levels; and ensure trans-boundary water cooperation on the basis of international law and the no harm principle;
- expanding water-related vocational training at all levels;
- reducing risks and impacts of water-related disasters, and address floods, droughts and water scarcity;
- reduce the number of countries facing water scarcity and number of people under the water poverty line;
- Address the balance between water supply and demand, including, where appropriate, non-conventional water resources, and to mobilize financial resources and investment in infrastructure for water and sanitation services, in accordance with national priorities.

Related Means of Implementation:
- Support efforts in developing countries on water and sanitation activities and programmes, through provision of financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer
- Promoting transfer of technology in the fields of water efficiency, wastewater, modern irrigation systems and water desalination and wastewater re-use for agricultural and industrial purposes.

2- Food security and nutrition:
- Given the threat of food insecurity, access to food needs to be pursued.
- On the international level, the world trading system remains in need of reform in respect of agriculture, the sector where significant distortions are still very significant and where the rules are skewed against the developing countries. Para 118 of Rio+20 outcome document recognises the need for an open and equitable multilateral trading system that promotes rural development and food security. Therefore there should be goals and targets in the trade area.
3- The WTO has agreed on the principle that developing countries should be allowed to take measures to promote their food security, farmers’ livelihoods, and rural development. Another goal or target should be that concrete measures and rules should be established as soon as possible to put into effect the principle that developing countries be enabled to promote food security, trade rules.
4- There is a need for increased international priority and financing to be provided to supporting food security and agriculture production in developing countries.
5- Paras 116 and 117 of Rio+20 outcome document, recognised the need to curb excessive food price volatility and to address its root causes. There is growing evidence that speculation in commodity markets is a significant cause of food price volatility. Therefore food price volatility and its root causes, should be addressed including speculative practices in the commodity markets.

Suggested goal:
Eliminate hunger, achieve food security and increase agriculture production

Suggested targets:
- Eradicate hunger and ensuring year-round access by all to affordable, adequate, safe and nutritious food;
- ending child malnutrition and stunting;
- increasing agricultural productivity, including through adequate irrigation, seeds and fertilisers, while in parallel halting and reversing land degradation, desertification and mitigating drought;
- improving efficiency of water use in agriculture;
- increased investment and support to research and development on sustainable agricultural technologies;
- phasing out harmful agricultural subsidies;
- addressing excessive price volatility, including through market information and oversight on commodity markets;
- Boost productive capacity of small farmers in developing countries through proper functioning of markets, storage, rural infrastructure, research, post-harvest practices, etc.
- Devote a significant part of national agricultural budget to sustainable agriculture practices in crops, livestock and the marine sector;
- Ensure access in rural areas to basic resources and infrastructure services ( land, water, sanitation, modern energy, transport, and advisory services) by 2030;
- Ensure the extension of better farming and fishing practices and innovative and sustainable technologies by2030;
- Increase market access for agricultural products from developing countries by 2020;
- Promote Agricultural research, with emphasis placed on research development, knowledge sharing and management and technology dissemination and adoption;
- Ensure an equitable multilateral trade system that promote rural development and food security;

Related Means of Implementation:
- Ensure developing countries obtain adequate international support through finance and technology as well as institution building and capacity building, in implementing national level SDGs on rural development and agriculture
- Increase the scale of the work to promote sustainable agriculture practices by the Rome-based UN agencies (FAO, WFP, IFAD); this should include technical support to enable countries to transition to and prioritize sustainable agriculture, and appropriate policy advice that supports its implementation
- Regulate commodity markets to curb speculation and address food price volatility
- Introduce effective international and national regulation over the operation of commodity markets to address food price volatility and speculative activities (Such regulation should address the root causes of excessive food price volatility, including its structural causes, as emphasized in Para 116 of The Future We Want)
- Manage the risks linked to high and excessively volatile prices and their consequences for global food security and nutrition, as well as for smallholder farmers and poor urban dwellers (Rio20, P116)
- Substantially and effectively phase out trade distorting subsidies in developed countries (in line with WTO Doha Declaration 2001) (Reference: Para 118 of The Future We Want)
- Establish concrete measures and rules to put into effect the principle that developing countries be enabled to promote food security, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development in the multilateral trade rules, as well as in other trade agreements
- Reaffirm the prime importance of food security in developing countries (Rio+20 para 108) and that trade rules and negotiations have to recognise and respect this priority, as well as to promote the livelihoods and incomes of small farmers in developing countries
- Increase international funding including aid to agriculture, particularly sustainable agriculture, in developing countries
- Increase international funding for developing countries to develop their agriculture production in a sustainable way and to improve their food security situation (Para 110-113 of The Future We Want)
- Provide developing countries adequate policy space, including in conditions for loans and aid, to support their agriculture sector and their farmers through various measures such as credit, marketing, storage, processing, provision of agricultural inputs, land reform and land improvement measures, and measures to make agriculture more sustainable through improved sustainable agriculture methods
- Ensure an equitable multilateral trade system that promote rural development and food security;
- Avoid rules that create barriers to small farmers’ access and use of seeds and other agricultural inputs, for example the patenting by international companies of seeds or genetic resources that originate in developing countries.