3-5 July, 2017, Thimphu: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in collaboration with SAARC Agriculture Centre, SAARC Energy Centre and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development organised a SAARC Regional Expert consultation meeting on Water-Energy-Food Nexus: A Basis for Sustainable Agricultural Development at Ariya Hotel. The meeting was attended by officials from SAARC Member States (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), ICIMOD, IWMI, University under Himalyan University Consortium, SaciWaters, NEC, BTFEC, RSPN, MoAF, SEC and SAC.
Dasho Rinzin Dorji, Hon’ble Secretary of Agriculture and Forests inaugurated the meeting and extended a warm welcome to the delegates from all the SAARC Member States and representatives of different regional and international institutions. He expressed the timely intervention of SAARC in convening the regional consultation meeting on W-E-F in Bhutan when the attainment of SDGs are being strategised. The Secretary reiterated that with more than 60% of people depending on agriculture it is the mainstay of the SAARC Region. He also mentioned that about 39% of cropland is irrigated, and irrigated agriculture accounts for 60–80% of food production. Agriculture consumes about 90% of water use and 20% of energy. Groundwater has become the major source of irrigation in the region. The region is also one of the world’s most water scarce regions, with less than 5% of the world’s annual renewable water resources. He highlighted that with the growing populations, declining agricultural land, increasing stress on water and energy resources, and climate variability, South Asia faces the challenge of how to produce more food with the same or less land, less water, and increased energy prices, while conserving resources and maintaining environmental sustainability. In conclusion he emphasised the need for being mindful of the vital synergy of the three sectors and urged the entire delegate to engage deliberations in developing a middle path in achieving the security in the entire sector.
In the inaugural session two keynote remarks was delivered by Dr. Shoiab Amhad, Deputy Director (SEC) and Dr. Golam Rasul, Theme Leader (ICIMOD). While Dr. Shoiab discussed about the Energy security and need for holistic policy framework to ensure energy security, Dr. Golam highlighted the overall scenario of Water-energy-food nexus in SAARC Region.
The Chief Planning Officer, PPD-MoAF expressed appreciation to SAARC and all the associated institutions in organizing the meeting in Bhutan and providing the opportunity for professional interactions among the participants.
The 3 days consultation meeting aspires to prepare a policy brief on water-energy-food nexus which can be put up to the both national and regional forum for implementation.
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