July 10, 2019 | By Jill Baggerman

Next Generation 2019 - Achieving Security through Water Security

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is pleased to present the 2019 Next Generation Delegates blog series. This year’s Delegation was comprised of 20 outstanding students from universities across the United States and around the world studying agriculture, food, and related disciplines. We were thrilled to feature these emerging leaders at the Global Food Security Symposium 2019, and look forward to sharing the exciting work of this extraordinary group.

By Jill Baggerman

Security is never a steady state, and perhaps no security is more challenging to preserve than water security. The complexities of water availability and the diverse needs of water users mean an interdisciplinary approach is needed to achieve lasting water security. Those same complexities, however, mean that individuals working towards water security must themselves have deep issue-specific knowledge, the antithesis of interdisciplinary study. So how do we bridge that divide?

This phenomenon is what made the Chicago Council’s Food Security Symposium, From Scarcity to Security, so valuable. The diversity of speakers, Next Generation Delegates, and participants was indicative of how complicated—and multidisciplinary—food and water security is. The caliber of the speakers, delegates, and participants gave me hope that we can achieve global water security in our future.

The symposium was a convening of silos, an event to show the depth of water security across sectors. When we Next Generation Delegates first gathered and introduced ourselves, the common theme among us was an introduction starting with: “what I do does connect to water security, but different than the ways mentioned so far, because I approach it from the angle of…” with each Delegate sharing their research, focus, their passion and potential.

My own connection to water security is in the arena of straightforward security, informed by my background in post-conflict peacebuilding. I am passionate about water security for the ways directly relates to conflict drivers in fragile, conflict-afflicted contexts.

While water does not cause conflict, water resource allocation frequently reflects the wider power relations of a society; water resources often become a proxy for the social, economic, and political power dynamics that undergird tensions within and between societies. (Think of the contaminated water provided to the people of Flint, Michigan and what tensions could potentially be addressed through equitable access to safe drinking water.) Along these lines, I believe that fostering sustainable, equitable water policies can encourage peace via inclusive decision-making processes. 

I study this potential in two different contexts. In one, in South Sudan, I study the sub-national impacts that foreign aid and investment have on that country’s conflict. Water access and other indicators which relate to water resources, such as malnutrition and food security, are important variables in my research. And second, in Iraq, I study how water access correlates with historic trends of ethno-religious discrimination and violence. It is my hope for these projects and my vocation to understand how water policy can be a tool to achieve a more durable and inclusive peace.

Attending the Council’s Global Food Security Symposium broadened my understanding of water policy as it relates to the agricultural sector. In particular, the panels on Water Stewardship in the Agrifood System and on Connecting the Dots: Agriculture, Climate Resilience and the Private Sector opened my eyes to how public institutions can more effectively link with the private, academic, and nongovernmental sectors. Water systems are inherently interconnected, but if we steward these linkages well—with governmental accountability and robust stakeholder involvement in decision-making processes—then our water system will be more resilient to respond to water stress.

About

The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Blogroll

1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA

Archive


| By Kat Sisler

You Should Know: Global Fragility Act of 2019

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is pleased to announce a new blog series, Policies for a Nourished Future, which reviews domestic and international policies meant to address issues of global food security. For the next eight weeks, we will discuss areas of importance to the future of food such as technology, waste, and resilience, and the policies meant to address them. Without robust and proactive policy frameworks, nourishing our growing world will become increasingly difficult and expensive. The first piece in this series explains the Global Fragility Act and how it relates to food security.





| By Khristopher Nicholas

Next Generation 2019 - We All Gotta Eat

Our first post in the Next Generation blog series is by Khristopher Nicholas, PhD candidate in nutrition science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.