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“Water is key. It’s a critical issue. In many cases, it’s a critical limitation. And we come together probably in some cases with different perspectives, but I think we can all agree that it’s a critical challenge, one that we must take on,” said Jeff Raikes, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in his keynote address at the Future of Water for Food conference.
Hosted by the University of Nebraska and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the conference was held at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, May 3-5, 2009. The conference brought together more than 230 scientists and decision-makers representing universities, industry, government and nongovernmental organizations from the U.S. and five other nations to discuss the critical issues and challenges in providing sufficient water and agricultural development to feed the world’s growing population.
Conference participants addressed many aspects of the essential links between water and food and the most pressing issues – overuse, underuse and inefficient use of water, water quantity and quality, water scarcity, sustainability of the resource, distribution and demand conflicts, legal and institutional barriers to management and others – and offered recommendations for tackling the challenges.
A key goal of the conference was to create a dialogue among worldwide experts about how an institute to be established at the University of Nebraska can develop the programs and partnerships to effectively address these issues.