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Seven ways to get water on the climate agenda

Children collect drinking water in UgandaChildren collect drinking water in Uganda. Photograph: David Levene1. Create a grassroots movement

There is a need for a grassroots movement to strengthen the case for water in the climate debate. This grassroots movement for water exists, but could be stronger. In many countries local NGOs, water committees and youth associations have worked on raising awareness. In France, local water parliaments work together to tackle water and climate change issues. These initiatives could be further shown in other countries. Heloise Chicou, deputy director and climate program officer, French Water Partnership, Paris.

2. Get communities involved

Community involvement starts with recognizing that community members are key stakeholders in the water debate. We need to seek their opinion from the planning of programmes, to their implementation. We shouldn’t turn to them only when everything has already been decided from the office. Community involvement can be costly, particularly in terms of the time invested, but it is a necessity. James Williams Kisekka, project officer and consultant, Aidenvironment and Rain Foundation, Kampala, Uganda.

Is freshwater supply more dependent on good governance than geography?

Is freshwater supply more dependent onScientists have analyzed 19 different characteristics critical to water supply management in 119 low per capita income countries and found that vulnerability is pervasive and commonly arises from relatively weak institutional controls.

The study, conducted by researchers based at Washington State University (WSU), USA, and Stanford University, USA, sought to identify freshwater supply vulnerabilities using four broad categories; endowment (availability of source water), demand, infrastructure and institutions (e.g. government regulations).

The results are published today, 23rd October 2015, in the journal Environmental Research Letters. “We’ve spent years developing this framework that addresses water vulnerability beyond just endowment and demand” explains Julie Padowski, the lead author, now at WSU. “Our team’s expertise spanned hydrology, law, chemistry and economics, and this gave us a very interdisciplinary view of water supply issues.”

UNEP Head Launches New Resource Centre for UNEP Live Data Platform

By integrating big data gathered from sensors embedded in smartphones with satellite data, UNEP Live can support governments to tackle climate change and at the same time help cities reduce premature deaths caused by air pollution.

The head of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, has launched a new resource center in the organization’s Nairobi headquarters, aimed at training staff, Member States and interested parties on how UNEP Live, a new ‘big data’ analysis tool, can support decision-making and integrated assessments of the state, trends and outlooks of the environment.

UNEP Live weaves together the environmental and socio-economic data of the complex world we live in to create a big picture, showing not only how challenges are interlinked, but how addressing one problem can bring multiple benefits in other areas.

Can WASH deliver more than just sanitation?

By Suvojit Chattopadhyay

Brigdet Achweng Photograph WSSCCBrigdet Achweng Photograph: WSSCCThe abysmal state of access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the developing world is currently a major cause for alarm; 580,000 children die every year from preventable diarrheal diseases.

This is due largely to the 2.5 billion people around the globe who do not have access to safe sanitation. Not only can an effective WASH intervention save lives, it can also engineer changes in the social fabric of communities that adopt these behavioural changes. This points to a key attribute of a successful WASH intervention – that through these programmes, communities not only access a new service that improves their quality of life, but they also learn from being part of a concrete intervention that emphasizes equity and inclusion.

EU climate chief outlines criteria for Paris success

By Ed King

World must agree to zero emissions trajectory by 2100 says Miguel Arias Canete, or 2015 deal will lack credibility

Europe’s chief climate official has outlined four elements of a global climate deal he says must be in place if the agreement set to be finalized in Paris this December can be deemed a success.

A long term emission reduction goal, regular reviews charting progress, the commitment of all major polluters and a common method for measuring carbon cuts were all essential ingredients, said Miguel Arias Canete

A new irrigation technology is helping Ethiopian farmers assess crop water requirements

Guadenew Zerihun consultant explaining the operation of device in KogaGuadenew Zerihun, consultant explaining the operation of device in KogaPlants need water. All farmers understand this universal truth. But at what point does watering start to hinder a plant’s growth? The issue is important because it doesn’t just affect the crop in the field; long-term overwatering can also do serious damage to soil fertility.

In water-scarce areas, managing water more wisely could also bring huge benefits: by keeping irrigation to an optimum level, water supplies can be made to last longer during dry periods and costs for labor and pumping are kept at a minimum.

First malaria vaccine given green light by European regulators

By Julia Kollewe

Scanning electron micrograph of a femaleScanning electron micrograph of a female Anopheles mosquito, a known malaria carrier.European Medicines Agency recommends RTS,S, or Mosquirix, developed by GSK and backed by Gates Foundation, for use in young children in Africa.

The world’s first malaria vaccine has been given the green light by European regulators and could protect millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa from the lifethreatening disease.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that RTS,S, or Mosquirix, should be licensed for use in young children in Africa who are at risk of the mosquitoborne disease. The shot has been developed by Britain’s biggest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and partfunded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has taken 30 years to develop vaccine, at a cost of more than $565m (£364m) to date.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2