Press Release

FAO wins the King Hassan II of Morocco Great World Water Prize

20 May 2024

Statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu welcoming the award

Rome - QU Dongyu, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today welcomed the decision to award the King Hassan II of Morocco Great World Water Prize to the organization at the 10th World Water Forum, held in Bali.  

Based on the theme “Securing water resources for food sovereignty and shared prosperity,” the award recognizes outstanding efforts in the protection, preservation, and sustainable management of water resources.

The FAO Director-General’s statement in full below: 

“On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), I am delighted to accept the prestigious King Hassan II of Morocco Great World Water Prize. I thank the Jury Committee of this Prize for your recognition of FAO’s contributions to the global efforts towards water security. 

It is indeed an honour to be awarded this prestigious Prize which recognizes and rewards actions that promote the protection and preservation of water resources, improvement in their management, and reuse of wastewater, as well as raising awareness among the population about water issues. The prize is awarded every three years during a special ceremony held during the World Water Forum.

Water is now fully integrated into the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, is at the core of the FAO thematic strategies on Climate Change, and on Science and Innovation, and their related action plans, and is well mainstreamed across all of FAO's work.   

Last year, for the first time in the Organization's history, water was the theme of the 43rd Session of the FAO Ministerial Conference - the highest governing body of the Organization. The very same Conference endorsed the theme of water resources management for the 2024-25 biennium, consequently water has been on the agenda of all the FAO Governing Bodies and technical committees over the following two years, to focus discussions on mobilizing the needed knowledge and resources to advance FAO's work on water. 

Water was also the theme for World Food Day 2023, which commemorates the establishment of FAO on 16 April 1945, and was celebrated during the World Food Forum: “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leaving no one behind”.

In December 2023, the FAO Council endorsed the Conceptual Framework for Integrated Land and Water Resources Management, which serves as an organizational strategy to guide our work on land, soil and water.  

While these decisions set up FAO's internal working mechanisms on water, the annual Rome Water Dialogue and the High-Level Dialogue on the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG) are FAO platforms that facilitate knowledge sharing on water, mobilize leadership and resources, and foster sustainable solutions to achieve both water and food security.

These are just a few examples and milestones along FAO's new Water Journey that I launched at the very first Rome Water Dialogue in 2022.  

Externally, FAO is supporting Members in sustainable agriculture development and water management, including supporting countries to develop their National Water Roadmaps towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as to meet their irrigation needs and potential mapping, flood impacts assessment and risk management, among others. In addition, the FAO Water Productivity Open-access portal (WaPOR) technology assists Members in areas such as to enrich water data and information, water tenure dialogues, water scarcity initiatives, and drought management plans.  

At the UN 2023 Water Conference, FAO played an active role and submitted eight commitments to the Global Water Actions. I am proud that we have made significant progress on all of them. FAO is a core member of the UN system to develop the UN system-wide strategy on water and sanitation, and I recently joined the other members of the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB) in Chile, who recognized and validated the work being undertaken.

FAO is promoting and implementing integrated water-food solutions to address the global challenges of food insecurity, water crisis and climate change through our field work, policy guidance and engagement through the dedicated COPs processes.  

I am deeply appreciative to all colleagues across FAO, in particular from the Land and Water Division, and other technical divisions responsible for forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, climate and biodiversity, as well as those responsible for communication and governance, among others, who have supported me in implementing my vision and strategies through their specialized expertise, knowledge and capacities. 

Let me take this opportunity to call for worldwide partners to work together on water management and the transformation of agrifood systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient, and more sustainable going forward, to achieve the vision of the Four Betters:  better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Thank you once again to the Kingdom of Morocco for this prestigious honour and recognition.

上善若水,丰衣足食。水色人生,服务人类!(The highest virtue is like water, nurturing prosperity and ensuring food security. Water mirrors an ideal life, serving the humanity of whole world.)


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Siska Widyawati

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