UNESCO Water e-Newsletter No. 202: Water and Sanitation
2 April 2008
UNESCO organizes workshop: Adapting to the impacts of global changes on river basins and aquifer systems
Global changes brought on by population growth, climate change, urbanization, expansion of infrastructure, migration, land conversion and pollution is altering the Earth and the way it functions. Although these changes are global, no institution or country can face the challenges they pose alone. UNESCO-IHP, as the only intergovernmental programme on water sciences with a focus on freshwater in the UN system, can foster the cooperation needed to bring all players together, whether they are Member States, research institutions, universities, UN agencies, NGOs, or national or international associations. The role of UNESCO IHP is to offer a platform to facilitate and support research and capacity to help to understand the scope of global change impacts on water resources in order to manage the water resources in a sustainable and adaptive way.
On 8-9 September 2008, UNESCO will convene the workshop “Adapting to the impacts of global changes on river basins and aquifer systems”, which will aim to bring together scientists form different networks such as HELP, GWSP, G-WADI, GRAPHIC, ISARM, FRIEND, IFI, ISI, IRI, IWMI, and WMO, Universities, research organizations and centres in order to:
- identify key research topics related to global change issues
- identify common topics for synergy and coordination of research agendas for different IHP projects and networking partners focusing on the major drivers related to global change and their impacts on hydrology and water resources
- develop a background paper on global change issues
- develop a global change network
The development of a background paper which will be a contribution to the Global Change and Risk Management theme of the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey. Furthermore the background paper will be used by UNESCO-IHP to help foster and streamline the research on global change issues.
Public comment on WWDR-3 Table of Contents now closed
The WWAP Secretariat recently held a public comment period on a draft Table of Contents for the Third World Water Development Report (WWDR-3), “Water in a Changing World”, which closed on March 16th. WWAP would like to thank all those who participated for their contributions and interest. The on-line public comment website received 167 comments from individuals in 25 countries. Hundreds more comments were received from scientists, policy and decision makers, stakeholders and representatives from member states, and others involved in freshwater issues through a parallel consultation process. To learn more about the WWDR-3 and the results of the public consultation, please visit WWAP’s WWDR-3 website.
ISI and CHR convene international workshop on “Erosion, Transport and Deposition of Sediments”
On 28-30 April 2008, UNESCO-IHP’s International Sediment Initiative (ISI) and the International Commission for the Hydrology of the Rhine Basin (CHR) will co-host the workshop “Erosion, Transport and Deposition of Sediments”.
The objectives of the workshop will as follows:
- To present a state-of-the-art of sediment related problems
- To discuss present and future problems in relation to sediment management.
- To exchange knowledge about erosion, transport and deposition of sediment.
- To detect and discuss research needs.
- To discuss and solve specific problems in a Swiss alpine catchment area.
During the workshop, there will be two sessions focusing on experiences from the Rhine River Basin and experiences from other basins from around the world.
CHR and ISI invites scientists, researchers, decision makers, consulting experts and stakeholders in the field of sediment management to discuss these issues during a three day workshop.
"Virtual Water” Innovator Awarded 2008 Stockholm Water Prize
Professor John Anthony Allan from King’s College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies has been named the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. Professor Allan pioneered the development of key concepts in the understanding and communication of water issues and how they are linked to agriculture, climate change, economics and politics.
People do not only consume water when they drink it or take a shower. In 1993, Professor Allan, 71, strikingly demonstrated this by introducing the “virtual water” concept, which measures how water is embedded in the production and trade of food and consumer products. Behind that morning cup of coffee are 140 litres of water used to grow, produce, package and ship the beans. That is roughly the same amount of water used by an average person daily in England for drinking and household needs. The ubiquitous hamburger needs an estimated 2,400 litres of water. Per capita, Americans consume around 6,800 litres of virtual water every day, over triple that of a Chinese person.
Virtual water has major impacts on global trade policy and research, especially in water-scarce regions, and has redefined discourse in water policy and management. By explaining how and why nations such as the US, Argentina and Brazil ‘export’ billions of litres of water each year, while others like Japan, Egypt and Italy ‘import’ billions, the virtual water concept has opened the door to more productive water use. National, regional and global water and food security, for example, can be enhanced when water intensive commodities are traded from places where they are economically viable to produce to places where they are not. While studying water scarcity in the Middle East, Professor Allan developed the theory of using virtual water import, via food, as an alternative water “source” to reduce pressure on the scarcely available domestic water resources there and in other water-short regions.
The USD 150,000 Stockholm Water Prize will be presented August 21th in the Stockholm City Hall. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is the Patron of the Stockholm Water Prize (Re-printed from www.siwi.org).
Read the complete article
UNESCO Water Family (*)
International Workshop on Status and Perspectives of Hydrology in Small Basins
30 March – 2 April 2009: Goslar-Hahnenklee, Germany
Featured International Events
33rd IAHR Biennial Congress “Water Engineering for a Sustainable Environment”
10-14 August 2008: Vancouver, Canada
ICHE-2008: 8th International Conference on Hydro-Science and Engineering
8-12 September 2008: Nagoya, Japan
16th Congress of Asia and Pacific Division of International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research and 3rd IAHR International Symposium on Hydraulic Structures
20-23 October 2008: Nanjing, China
Remote Sensing Applications to Groundwater
By A.M.J. Meijerink, D. Bannert, O. Batelaan, M.W. Lubczynski and T. Pointet
IHP Series on Groundwater No. 16
This book is written for those who wish to become acquainted with the use of remote sensing for groundwater studies. It is written from the point of view of a hydrogeologist-practitioner. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of images of diverse geologic terrain in warm climates, and on extraction of hydrogeologic information, for which knowledge of the basics of digital image processing techniques is required. This book will help to raise awareness for the use of remote sensing data, which is still needed in many organizations dealing with groundwater.
UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have cooperated with other space agencies, UN organizations and African partner organizations, which use satellite data within the framework of the TIGER initiative, to develop a network of experts to strengthen the scientific base and work towards developing sustainable satellite-based information services to support water resources management. This manual was devised as a contribution to the TIGER project.
Full publication [PDF format – 35 MB]
Getting to know UNESCO's Water Family
An interview with... Olcay Ünver, Coordinator, The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme, and the Director of the Global Water Assessment Unit, Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO
Please tell us about the role of the UN World Water Assessment Programme and how its work relates to the theme of this year’s World Water Day, Sanitation?
The UNESCO-led UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) has been identified as the reporting mechanism on monitoring progress towards internationally agreed upon goals such as the Millennium Development Goals. Founded in 2000, WWAP is the flagship programme of UN-Water, a body of 24 UN agencies and entities that have a significant role in addressing global water concerns. Water and Sanitation issues, the theme of the World Water Day 2008, are at the core of attaining many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). In fact, 6 out of 8 MDG goals are directly linked to water and sanitation issues.
WWAP’s primary product, the triennial World Water Development Report (WWDR), provides an authoritative picture of the state of the world’s water resources and our stewardship of them. The WWDR reports on freshwater issues, such as drinking water and sanitation, in order to provide recommendations, develop case studies, enhance assessment capacity at a national level and inform the decision-making process. By providing response options to politicians and decision makers based on scientific findings, the WWDR looks for ways to meet the MDGs, which represent the world’s current development aspirations for the many hundreds of millions locked in the poverty trap.
The first two editions of the WWDR were released on March 22, World Water Day in 2003 and again in 2006 during the Third and the Fourth World Water Forums, respectively. We are currently preparing the third edition of the WWDR for release at the Fifth World Water Forum on March 16, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, where the Director General of UNESCO will be providing the key-note speech.
What can we expect from the WWDR-3, and how does it differ from previous editions of the WWDR?
The Third WWDR, called ‘Water in a Changing World’, will be published in March of 2009, just beyond the half way point along the initial 2000 Millennium Summit to the 2015 target for achieving the MDGs. While the first two editions placed an emphasis on reporting water outcomes as broken down on a theme-by-theme basis, this third Report will take a more holistic approach. It will focus on how developments outside the water arena, such as climate change, can bear an influence on water management strategies and policies, as well as continuing the in-depth theoretical analysis which provides decision and policy makers options to manage water resources which may be applicable to their unique economic and social objectives. Our goal is to present the WWDR’s regular analysis of the state of the world’s water resources, and progress towards goals such as the MDGs, in a way that provides a clearer understanding of what can be accomplished, and how.
Towards this goal, the Third WWDR will have a new table of contents, a number of side processes and publications, the involvement of a technical advisory group (a body comprised of scientists, policy and decision makers, stakeholders and representatives from member states) as well as interdisciplinary expert groups created for a number of topics, including ‘Indicators, Monitoring and Databases’, ‘Business, Trade, Finance and Involvement of the Private Sector’, ‘Policy Relevance’, ‘Scenarios’, ‘Climate Change and Water’, and ‘Legal Issues’ and ‘Storage’.
What is the status of the Third WWDR, and how can others get involved?
WWAP Secretariat recently held a public consultation on the Table of Contents for the WWDR-3. The on-line public comment website received 167 comments from individuals in 25 countries. Hundreds more comments were received from scientists, policy and decision makers, stakeholders and representatives from member states, and others involved in freshwater issues through a parallel consultation process. WWAP aims to gather these and other inputs from contributing agencies to produce the draft chapters to be discussed during a second preparatory meeting, or “Integration Meeting,” that will take place in Perugia, Italy at the new WWAP Headquarters in April 2008. At this meeting, members of the Technical Advisory Committee, members of UN-Water, contributors, writers, and other participants will discuss the final drafts of the chapters and their integration.
We aim to share the draft chapters for public comment in six months’ time and would value your comments and feedback. Please sign up for our newsletter, Currents, and check our website for further updates and information on ways to participate. Thank you for your time and interest.
Did you know...? Facts and Figures about Water and Sanitation
- Water-relate d diseases, including diarrhea, are a leading cause of death in children of developing countries. However, they can be prevented and controlled by improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as domestic and personal hygiene.
- The Millennium Development Goal’s Target 10 is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
- Globally, the drinking water target set by the seventh Millennium Development Goal is on schedule, but the sanitation target will not be met by 2015 without extra inputs and efforts.
- In 1990, 77% of the world’s population used improved drinking water sources. Considerable progress was made between 1990 and 2002, with about 1.1 billion people gaining access to improved sources. Global coverage in 2002 reached 83%, keeping the world on track to achieve the MDG target; however, there are great regional disparities.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, the trends observed since 1990 indicate that neither of the targets will be met by 2015. Meanwhile, the region that has made the greatest progress towards sustained access to safe drinking water is South Asia, where coverage increased from 71% to 84% between 1900 and 2002. This jump was fuelled primarily by increased access to improved water sources in India, home to over 1 billion people.
- Global sanitation coverage rose from 49% in 1990 to 58% in 2002. Yet this falls short of the progress needed to achieve the Millenium Development Goal target of 75% coverage by 2015. Some 2.6 billion people – half of the developing world – live without improved sanitation. Sanitation coverage in developing countries (40%) is only half that of the developed world (98%). The proportion of the world’s population with improved sanitation has increased by just 9% since 1990, a rate far slower than that required to meet global targets.
The section “Did You Know…?” is taken from the 2nd United Nations World Water Development Report: “Water, a shared responsibility".
UNESCO’s Water Family consists of the following:
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