Global leaders assembled today at the opening session of the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm, calling for substantial increases in public and private sector investment to reduce losses of food in the supply chain, enhance water efficiency in agriculture and curb consumer waste.
Over two thousand politicians, CEOs, scientists and leaders of international organisations from more than 100 nations are gathering in Stockholm, Sweden, for the annual World Water Week, which this year focuses on “Water and Food Security”.
Today, over 900 million people suffer from hunger and two billion more face serious health risks from undernourishment. At the same time, 1.5 billion people overeat and over one-third of all food is lost or wasted.
“More than one-fourth of all the water we use worldwide is taken to grow over one billion tons of food that nobody eats. That water, together with the billions of dollars spent to grow, ship, package and purchase the food, is sent down the drain” said Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the organiser of the World Water Week in Stockholm.
“Reducing the waste of food is the smartest and most direct route to relieve pressure on water and land resources. It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to overlook,” he added.
In over 100 sessions set to take place throughout the week, the convening experts will debate and showcase solutions to ensure that the planet's limited water resources can meet the needs of growing economies and support a healthy global population.
During the week, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden will present the Stockholm Water Prize to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), for their work to improve agriculture water management, enhance food security, protect environmental health and alleviate poverty in developing countries.
Other prizes that will be presented during the week are the Stockholm Junior Water Prize – which is given to one national team from 27 competing nations, and the Stockholm Industry Water Award, which will be presented this year to PepsiCo for their efforts to reduce water consumption in their operations and to help solve water challenges on a broad scale.