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Australia aims to improve fresh water management

Australia has partnered with the United Nations to improve fresh water management for agriculture in Asia, to help safeguard the region’s food security.

The Australian Government and the Australian Water Partnership recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to leverage Australia’s experience in the region.

International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said the MoU is an opportunity for Australia to extend its international partnerships and regional development imperatives.

“Australia values its partnerships for international development with a range of multilateral organisations and today’s MoU with FAO is a further testament to that commitment,” she said.

With water scarcity a major concern for agriculture and food security in Asia, the need for improved water management is critical in working towards achieving the sustainable development goals in the region.

FAO Assistant Director-General Kundhavi Kadiresan said improving agricultural water management and increasing food security across the Asia-Pacific region were major priorities for FAO.

“FAO’s network of representative offices in many countries of Asia and the Pacific – and its close working relationship with governments and resource partners in those countries – provide both venue and opportunity for the Australian Water Partnership to work with FAO to improve water management, revitalise irrigation schemes and safeguard future food security in our region,” she said.

Australian Water Partnership CEO Dr Nick Schofield said it intends to focus its efforts on collaborating with regional organisations, in order to help strengthen a wide range of management and operational skill sets.

“To further the achievement of our common objectives, the AWP intends to collaborate with FAO to facilitate access to Australian expertise in such areas as management and governance of surface and groundwater for agriculture, including strengthening institutional frameworks, regulations, policies, allocation strategies, investments and operations,” he said.