“Of course I’m afraid!” she bursts out in a heavy French accent when asked about the risk of a terror attack. “You never know what could happen!”
According to Dr. William Cosgrove, the keynote speaker from the special focus session, Water and the Future of Humankind, we have entered a new time era — the Anthropocene, . The Anthropocene is a term that reflects the extent to which humans have altered the planet and environment. The discussion addressed the importance of imagining the future that we would like to have with water. Using this imagined future, we should then “backcast” instead of forecast to determine the actions we should do today to get to the future we have planned for ourselves, a model developed by the Portuguese Gulbenkian Think Tank. The panel was made up of five elderly gentlemen: the fact that no women were part of the panel was disappointing. It was acknowledged by Dr. Cosgrove that men have made most of the water decisions in history that have led us to water scarcity and overuse. He also said, however, that women are finally being recognized as being an important part of water use decisions.
When else can you find yourself in the same room as the French Minister of Agriculture, the Director of the International Seed Foundation, the President of the Food Security Council, the Assistant Director General for Natural Resources Management and Environment at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, and a host of other international movers and shakers? It’s only at the High Level Session on Water and Food Security at the sixth World Water Forum. Food security is defined by FAO as “when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” Target 1.C of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to halve, by 2015, the number of people who suffer from hunger. We were, arguably, making some progress toward reaching that goal until the financial crisis of 2008 led to a spike in hunger in 2009, in both developing and developed countries. The theme for the sixth World Water Forum is “Time for Solutions”, and what better time than now to brainstorm ways to get back on track with the food security MDG. These high level sessions bring together representatives from the agricultural, governmental, and financial sectors, along with heads of international NGOs, to redefine objectives for worldwide mobilization.