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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Elevating the role of water resilience in food system dialogues

Matthews, Nathanial; Dalton, James; Matthews, John; Barclay, Holly; Barron, Jennie; Garrick, Dustin; Gordon, Line; Huq, Saleemul; Isman, Tom; McCornick, Peter; Meghji, Alqayam; Mirumachi, Naho; Moosa, Shehnaaz; Mulligan, Mark; Petryniak, Olga; Pittock, Jamie; Queiroz, Cibele; Ringler, Claudia; Smith, Mark; Turner, Caroline;
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Ensuring resilient food systems and sustainable healthy diets for all requires much higher water use, however, water resources are finite, geographically dispersed, volatile under climate change, and required for other vital functions including ecosystems and the services they provide. Good governance for resilient water resources is a necessary precursor to deciding on solutions, sourcing finance, and delivering infrastructure. Six attributes that together provide a foundation for good governance to reduce future water risks to food systems are proposed. These attributes dovetail in their dual focus on incorporating adaptive learning and new knowledge, and adopting the types of governance systems required for water resilient food systems. The attributes are also founded in the need to greater recognise the role natural, healthy ecosystems play in food systems. The attributes are listed below and are grounded in scientific evidence and the diverse collective experience and expertise of stakeholders working across the science-policy interface: Adopting interconnected systems thinking that embraces the complexity of how we produce, distribute, and add value to food including harnessing the experience and expertise of stakeholders s; adopting multi-level inclusive governance and supporting inclusive participation; enabling continual innovation, new knowledge and learning, and information dissemination; incorporating diversity and redundancy for resilience to shocks; ensuring system preparedness to shocks; and planning for the long term. This will require food and water systems to pro-actively work together toward a socially and environmentally just space that considers the water and food needs of people, the ecosystems that underpin our food systems, and broader energy and equity concerns.

Published in

Water Security
2022, volume: 17, article number: 100126

Authors' information

Matthews, Nathanial
Stockholm University
Dalton, James
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Matthews, John
Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)
Barclay, Holly
Monash University Malaysia
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Garrick, Dustin
University of Waterloo
Gordon, Line
Stockholm University
Huq, Saleemul
International Centre for Climate Change and Development
Isman, Tom
The Nature Conservancy
McCornick, Peter
Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute
Meghji, Alqayam
No organisation
Mirumachi, Naho
King's College London (KCL)
Moosa, Shehnaaz
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)
Mulligan, Mark
King's College London (KCL)
Petryniak, Olga
Mercy Corps
Pittock, Jamie
Australian National University
Queiroz, Cibele
Stockholm University
Ringler, Claudia
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Smith, Mark
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Turner, Caroline
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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UKÄ Subject classification

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Environmental Sciences

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