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UNFSS Independent Dialogue in Egypt: The Role of Water Security for Food Systems Transformations

April 19, 2021 @ 1:00 am - 3:30 pm

Date and Time: 19/04/2021 | 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm  (GMT+2)

Meeting platform: Zoom (Register here)


Water scarcity remains a key challenge for agricultural development in the MENA region, including Egypt. Scarcity is rapidly growing as a result of climate change and rapid increases in water demand for other uses. Considering that Egypt’s agri-food system provided critical cushioning for economic growth, jobs, and household income negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount that more consideration is given to the important role of water security for Egypt’s food systems. With agriculture utilizing over 80% of Egypt’s water resources, meeting these challenges will require bold actions and new mindsets directed at water and food systems transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Join us for an Independent Dialogue convened in partnership between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to discuss the role of Water Security for Food Systems Transformation in Egypt. Insights emerging from this multi-stakeholder dialogue will be presented to the United Nations Food System Summit (UNFSS) in September 2021. Transforming #foodsystems is among the most powerful ways to make progress towards all 17 #SDGS.

This dialogue will discuss the importance of water security for all aspects of Egypt’s food systems, with a focus on equity, inclusion, capacity, innovation, and sustainability, including insights on how food systems need to change to improve water security (SDG 6), help eliminate hunger (SGD2), support energy security (SDG 7), improve climate adaptation and mitigation action (SDG 13) and help retain all life on land (SDG 15).

This pre-UNFSS2021 session, therefore, seeks to unpack the question: What is the role of water in transforming Egypt’s food systems for improved water and food security and environmental sustainability?  Speakers and panelists from Egypt and beyond will engage in interactive group discussions, collective brainstorming, and agenda-setting. As Egypt and the MENA region map out the road to UNFSS 2021, the dialogue will discuss key messages that need to be heard at UNFSS 2021.

We invite everyone working to advance transformative water and food systems to join this Dialogue.


Dr. Clemens Breisinger & Dr. Claudia Ringler (IFPRI),

Dr. Amgad Elmahdi (IWMI), and Dr. Jacques Wery (ICARDA)

Meeting Agenda:

  1. Introduction, scene-setting, and order of the day by Yumna Kassim, IFPRI. (3 mins)
  2. The Road to UNFSS2021: Achieving water and food security by Joachim von Braun (Chair of the Scientific Group for the UNFSS) – by video. (5 mins)
  3. Water and Food System Transformations in Egypt by IFPRI. (5 mins)
  4. The Need for System Transformation: A few thoughts from the policy by Mahmoud Abou Zeid (President of the Arab Water Council) (TBC). (5 mins)
  5. Crop-level Solutions by ICARDA. (5 mins)
  6. New Water Solutions by IWMI. (5 mins)
  7. Introduction to breakout groups by Yumna Kassim, IFPRI. (3 mins)
  8. 6 Breakout group discussion by all. (40 mins)
  9. Feedback from breakouts by all. (30 mins)
  10. Panel discussion on the way forward by a moderator: Claudia Ringler (IFPRI), Phil Riddell (Advisor MWRI, TBC), Hammou Laamrani (League of Arab States, TBC), Dina Saleh (IFAD, TBC), Yasser AlShayeb (COEW-AUC, TBC), Hassan Husseiny (Gebal Egypt, TBC), and Farmer representative from TBD.
  11. Wrap-up of key messages and next steps by TBD. (5 mins)

The Dialogue is expected to gather around 100 participants/stakeholders from Egypt and regional and international partners. Arabic translation will be available, except in breakout rooms.

Thematic areas for breakout group discussions:

  1. Food and Water Systems in a Changing ClimateKey questions: How can we retain water and food security under climate change in Egypt (and the MENA region)? Do we need to change or expand water sources, change commodities, sustainable development, multi-functional and benefits infrastructure, governance beyond water (nexus governance), etc.?
  2. Policy Coherence and Institutional Coordination across Water and Food Security in Egypt. Key questions: What practical steps can/should be taken to ensure policy coherence and institutional coordination to jointly improve water and food security in Egypt to meet future needs? Are policy/institutional set-ups encouraging partnerships and investments by the private sector?
  3. Equity Considerations in access to affordable Water and Food. Key questions: How can we improve equity in access to water and food and nutrition security for the poorest? Are current government policies adequate? Do we need to go beyond water and food policy to nexus policy?
  4. Digitally informed Climate-Smart Solutions for Agri-Food Transformation in Egypt. Key questions: Have we fully explored all technological, innovative, and agronomic solutions to improve water and agricultural productivity in Egypt’s food production systems? Are we producing the right agricultural commodities (including livestock and fisheries)? How can we eliminate water pollution in Egypt? Produce more with less water and energy? Are we adopting and investing in the right digital Climate-Smart Agriculture?
  5. Food System Efficiency beyond Production for a Greener and More Resilient Future? Key questions: What actions are needed to improve food systems beyond production, along the value chain, with no harm to natural resources? This includes water use in food processing, preparation, transportation, retailing, and consumption. This also includes the role of water in international and regional trade.
  6. Food Systems Changes for improved Water Security. Key question: How can we change Egypt’s food systems to support all aspects of SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation? This could include changing diets, changing food processing practices, de-risking agricultural systems, redesigning the farming system, eco-nexus farming?

Check out to learn more about the UNFSS Dialogues.


April 19, 2021
1:00 am - 3:30 pm
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