|Department||The operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation|
|Author||the Austrian Development Cooperation|
|Publisher||the Austrian Development Cooperation|
Water, energy and food are the basis for human livelihoods and economic activities; they are also closely interrelated: Agriculture, forestry and the energy sector simultaneously depend heavily on and affect water resources. Energy is essential for water management, but also for agricultural production, processing and marketing. Land is needed for the pro-duction of food, fodder and renewable energy as well as for water resource protection. De-mographic trends – such as population growth, progressive urbanisation and globalisation, changing lifestyles and consumer habits – are increasing pressure on already limited natu-ral resources. In order to feed the global population in 2050, agricultural production needs to be increased by 70 percent.1 By 2030, the demand for freshwater is expected to exceed renewable water supply by 40 percent2 and by 2035 the world will need more than one third more energy.3 Climate change will raise pressure on natural resources and make both people and ecosystems more vulnerable. Its impacts are already aggravating shortages in water supply and arable land. At the same time, changes in land use, agricultural and live-stock practices, unsustainable forestry, acidification of waters and drainage of wetlands and many forms of energy production cause greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to cli-mate change. Likewise, biodiversity is threatened by land use changes and/or the intensifi-cation of conventional agriculture. In contrast, intact natural ecosystems contribute to water security, prevent natural hazards, such as floods and landslides (or protect people from their impacts) and provide means of maintaining food security when harvests fail.