Discussion Paper

No. 2017-39 | June 27, 2017
Key policy actions for sustainable land and water use to serve people
(Submitted as G20 Policy Paper)


To achieve food security for all, new resource policies for sustainable land and water use are needed. Land, water and energy need to be considered jointly in policies, not in isolation. G20 countries’ policy makers, corporate and civil society actors, and those of other countries should act in coordinated fashion in the following four policy areas on which specific proposals are made in this policy paper: 1) focusing land, and water resource policies on human wellbeing, 2) investing in and sharing water, agricultural and energy innovations, 3) making wider use of digital opportunities for sustainable agriculture, and 4) re-designing global governance of agriculture and food.

JEL Classification:

F53, Q10, Q18, Q28


  • Downloads: 196


Cite As

Joachim von Braun, Ashok Gulati, and Homi Kharas (2017). Key policy actions for sustainable land and water use to serve people. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2017-39, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2017-39

Comments and Questions

Christian Henning - Referee report 1
August 03, 2017 - 11:06

see attached file

Anonymous - Referee report 2
August 17, 2017 - 11:15

The authors argue that it needs a holistic or comprehensive approach for developing new resource policies. Land, water and energy policies should not be developed in isolation. Instead, these needs to be considered jointly in policies and also linked to agriculture. Linkages will be key to addressing and achieving food ...[more]

... security and improved nutrition for all. The authors propose 1.) Focusing land and water resource policies on human wellbeing; 2.) Investing in and sharing water, agriculture and energy innovation; 3.) Making use of digital opportunities for sustainable agriculture, and 4.) Re-designing global governance of agriculture and food. Four implementation options are proposed for the four G20 areas, the people focus, innovations, digitalization, and governance. G20 member countries can collaborate, assist and support each other, share technologies and innovations, and G20 can implement regulatory frameworks since, e.g. land degradation, climate change, water overuse, are to a considerable extend a global burden.

Overall, an interesting, well-written paper that addresses important interlinkages and challenges, which need to be considered in future directions of G20 policies. One of the main issues, “people’s wellbeing” is coming off badly. “People’s wellbeing” is in the focus of the proposals, however, not all facets of how wellbeing can be achieved are considered. The authors describe that people are exposed to health, food safety, and hygienic risks due to technical constraints. Further, small scale farmers and agricultural practices are mentioned, which can have an impact on wellbeing, too. It is not mentioned that people’s wellbeing also depend on how they individually behave and decide, e.g., choices of food eaten influences wellbeing as well. Knowledge and information, but also preferences, habits and attitudes can play a role. In this context, behavior oriented policies would come into play. Have the authors thought about addressing behavior oriented polices? Should these also part a G20 policy strategy?