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Recognizing the importance of sustainable agricultural water management and to bring it to the forefront, starting from 2013, the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) has been triennially organizing the World Irrigation Forum (WIF). The Forum aims to bring together the stakeholders under one roof, including policymakers, experts, researchers, non-governmental organizations and farmers, among others. It provides a platform for the world irrigation and drainage community and interested development professionals to find solutions to problems plaguing agricultural water management, in time of depleting freshwater resources as a result of global warming and climate change and the rapidly changing demographics and dietary habits.

The Third World Irrigation Forum (WIF3) on the Main Theme: Development for water, food and nutrition security in a competitive environment, was organized by ICID in cooperation with the host Indonesian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (INACID) and the partners Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), UNU-FLORES, and others. Three sub-themes were covered under the Main Theme: Sub-theme 1. Enabling policy environment for water, food and energy; Sub-theme 2. Role of civil society and NGOs with focus on farmers and extension facilities; Sub-theme 3. Improving agricultural water productivity with focus on rural transformation. In addition there was a Meeting of the High Level Working Group (HLAG) consisting of Ministers and Senior Officers from Member and Non-Member countries, Farmers’ Roundtable, Youth engagement, 6 Workshops, 15 Supporting Events, Exhibition, Technical Tours, and Social Programmes. These events included: Key-note speeches, Paper and short-communication presentations during the sessions, Technical papers presented as posters, and displays.

In total more than 1500 participants from 60 countries, including ministers and vice ministers from 9 countries and heads, or representatives of 10 International Organizations attended the Forum, Based on this the following statements were formulated and supported by the participants at the concluding session of the Forum.

Main statements


The focus of WIF3 was to address global food security, poverty alleviation and environment protection, through sustaining economically and socially viable irrigation and drainage development and management. We, therefore:

  • recognize that the world is facing rapid population growth and urbanization, changes in land use, climate and diets, increasing droughts and floods, environmental degradation, etc.;
  • reaffirm that sustainable development and management of agricultural water is a priority issue for achieving food security and poverty alleviation;
  • recognize the need to achieve water security. To this end it is vital to course-correct and increase water productivity by improving agricultural water management at all levels, in particular with respect to the specific challenges facing least developed and emerging countries, in meeting the sustainable development goals (SDG) and maintaining rural development.

Therefore, the participants of WIF3 share the view on the following:

  • we encourage the adoption of land and water policies that provide an effective environment for sustaining water resources, delivering of appropriate services and improving resilience in agricultural water, and incentives for sustainable agricultural water use;
  • we support the implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) at the levels of river basin, irrigation and drainage schemes and on farm through (international) cooperation to achieve sustainable water management;
  • we will contribute to the building of new and maintaining, strengthening and improving existing infrastructure for multiple purposes, including water storage, irrigation and drainage, application of water saving and information technologies, rural water supply, energy production, environmental water use, and disaster prevention, that are economically sound, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable;
  • we endeavour to improve water productivity for agriculture by clarifying roles and responsibilities in irrigation and drainage system operation and maintenance, where applicable reforming of irrigation and drainage management institutions, improved agricultural water service provision to farmers, and encouraging engagement of private sector and civil society organisations;
  • we intend to support farmers in improving their individual irrigated and rainfed agriculture to increase crop productivity and conserve water with a view to achieve sustainable production of sufficient food for the rapidly increasing urban population;
  • we promote increased and effective use of financial resources, including encouraging international financing institutions, development partners and governments to enhance support for agricultural water management;
  • we support increased collection, use and dissemination of data to improve performance of the sector and support of evidence-based policy making. We encourage scientific research, education, development and adoption of innovations in practice;
  • we want to contribute to the creation of an environment in which the younger generation and women are encouraged and capable to engage in agriculture, and to empower young professionals to contribute with new skills to agricultural water management. This will include strengthening, training and education for young professionals.

These general statements are based on the outcome of the various sessions. The detailed outcomes are specified in the attached Addendum. The participants like to thank the organisers and the donors for preparing, hosting and supporting this interesting and important event.

Wednesday 4 September 2019, Bali, Indonesia

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