On 4 October 2023, Legal Officer Philine Wehling represented the UNIDROIT Secretariat at the Rome Water Dialogue hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. Opened by FAO Director-General Dr Qu Dongyu, the Dialogue built upon the UN 2023 Water Conference and aimed to continue the Water Journey towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, providing a platform for cross-sectoral discussions.
Ms Wehling spoke on the panel “Water tenure and governance: Equitable and sustainable water access”, moderated by Sasha Koo-Oshima (Deputy Director, Land and Water Division, FAO). She addressed the importance of secure water tenure rights for investors and, illustrating the conceptual similarities between water and land tenure, showcased selected private-law instruments promoted by the UNIDROIT/IFAD Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts that could be considered as a useful reference for the ongoing FAO Dialogue on Water Tenure.
The panel featured five other speakers: Dan Schuster-Beesley (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, United Kingdom); Her Excellency Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile (Permanent Representative of South Africa to FAO); His Excellency Mohamed Abdel Vetah (High Commissioner of the Senegal River Basin Development Organization); Birgit Vogel (Executive Secretary, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River); and Valerie Johnston (Legal Officer, FAO Legal Office). Furthermore, a video message was delivered by Pedro Arrojo-Agudo (Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation).
Information on the UNIDROIT/IFAD Legal Guide on Agricultural Land investment Contracts can be found at: https://www.unidroit.org/instruments/agriculture/alic/overview/