Water and Energy for Food has released its first annual report detailing the program’s first year of operations. Highlighting the challenges of COVID-19, the beginning of the Regional Innovation Hubs (RIHs), and the release of the first call for innovation; this annual report brings together the hard work of team members from around the world as WE4F works to produce more food with less water and energy. The report is broken down into three major sections: the introduction of the Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge; the report of each Regional Innovation Hub; and the final section, WE4F’s plan for 2021.
The first section walks readers through the reason WE4F was created:
- Growing populations and increased urbanization lead to dense cities with limited local food sources.
- Climate change and resource scarcity affect agricultural productivity and biodiversity.
- The intense use of water and energy in agriculture, which also affects environments and farmers’ livelihoods.
- Women and youth smallholder farmers unable to access financing, land, or other means of production. And the
- The need to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals and develop public-private partnerships that will impact the above challenges.
Following this explanation the report details WE4F’s Theory of Change, the activities the program implements, and how the program operates. Culminating in the sharing of global-level activities and challenges and solutions for future years. A major challenge that affected the program at all levels was COVID-19, which slowed down the launch of the RIHs and prevented program activities from being implemented.
The second section of the report are the individual reports by the RIHs located in East Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and West Africa. The individual reports by the RIHs provide insight into the local contexts of global issues and how each RIH pursues a unique strategy to work with innovations to scale them and impact the water-energy-food nexus. Besides the launch of the RIHs, 2020 highlights are the awarding of the Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Prize and its associated technical assistance and capacity-building; the launch of the Solar Powered Irrigation Systems mobile app; and the East Africa Regional Innovation Hub’s signing of two public-private partnerships.
The final section details WE4F’s plans for 2021, sharing the opening of the new Southern and Central Africa Regional Innovation Hub, the launch of the first calls for innovations in East Africa and West Africa, and a second round of calls for innovations in the Middle East and North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.