New York, USA/Cologne, Germany (22 March 2023) – Stakeholders and leaders at the United Nations (UN) 2023 Water Conference discussed progress toward the goals of the international decade of action, “Water for Sustainable Development” (2018–2028), and made an urgent call for renewed commitments toward this goal.


World Water Day 2023: All sectors must “Accelerate Change” to meet goals


The first day of this three-day conference, 22 March, is World Water Day, whose theme this year is a call for all sectors, from national governments to individuals, to “Accelerate Change.” This theme reflects the growing concern among water experts and policy makers that the world is dangerously off track from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

“The UN 2023 Water Conference in March must result in a bold Water Action Agenda that gives our world’s lifeblood the commitment it deserves,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.


Agriculture is a major part of the water equation

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, irrigation in agriculture represents approximately 70% of global water use. Furthermore, agriculture has the potential to pollute the world’s water resources through fertilizer runoff and contamination from pesticides. Mismanaged livestock operations also pollute water with germs. Agriculture is therefore a large sector with a key role to play in solving the world’s pressing water challenges.


SPRING add-on by GLOBALG.A.P. addresses water problem points in agriculture

Because agriculture is a major factor in the global water equation, experts at GLOBALG.A.P. have provided the Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use (SPRING) as an add-on to their flagship Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard. SPRING is an add-on tool that helps farms manage water better by building on the IFA standard’s water and environment control points and compliance criteria. Farmers have been successfully using SPRING to reduce water risks, use water wisely, and clarify corporate communications on water issues.


Working together to accelerate change

Each sector, and every individual, has a role to play in protecting water resources and promoting equitable access to clean water around the world. As a significant water user, the agricultural sector has a pivotal role to play in accelerating change in water use and conservation practices. Innovative tools like SPRING by GLOBALG.A.P. can help farmers make real changes to shrink their water footprint while still growing enough food for the world’s increasing population.



More about GLOBALG.A.P.

GLOBALG.A.P. is a brand of smart farm assurance solutions developed by FoodPLUS GmbH in Cologne, Germany, with cooperation from producers, retailers, and other stakeholders from across the food industry. These solutions include a range of standards for safe, socially and environmentally responsible farming practices. The most widely used GLOBALG.A.P. standard is IFA, applicable to fruit and vegetables, aquaculture, floriculture, livestock, and more. This standard also forms the basis for the GGN label: the consumer label for certified, responsible farming and transparency.

The GLOBALG.A.P. brand began its journey as EUREPGAP in 1997. Twenty-six years later, over 200,000 producers have GLOBALG.A.P. certification in 134 countries. Nearly 150 team members around the world are dedicated to the mission of spreading responsible farming practices to ensure safe food for future generations.


More about the SPRING add-on

The Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use (SPRING) is a farm-level add-on for responsible water management. Applicable to the IFA standard for plants, the checklist contains a wide range of criteria addressing water use and extraction rates, the protection of water sources, and producers’ impact on sustainable watershed management.