Tag Archive for 'UN'

Nigeria: UN Unveils Platform for Global Water Management

Photo retrieved from: www.asme.org

“Each year brings new pressures on water. One-third of the world’s people already live in countries with moderate to high water stress. Competition is growing between farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country. Upstream and downstream, and across borders, we need to cooperate for the benefit of all – now and in the future,” “he added.

The General Assembly proclaimed 2013 International Year for Water Cooperation in 2010, following a proposal from Tajikistan. The Year will serve to raise awareness and prompt action on the multiple dimensions of water cooperation, such as sustainable and economic development, climate change and food security.

“Over-exploitation, management, financing of water resources, all of these aspects are incredibly important and cooperation at different levels is therefore critical,” UNESCO Science Specialist Ms. Ana Persic, said during a media briefing to mark the start of the Year at UN Headquarters in New York, USA.

Persic added that the benefits of intensifying cooperation include poverty reduction, equity, economic growth, and the protection of the environment.” “We know water is critical for human life, but it is also critical for life on Earth if we want to protect and sustainably manage the planet we have.”

Read more: All Africa


Egypt is losing its grip on the Nile

Photo retrieved from: www.bikyamasr.com

“If ratified by other basin states, the agreement would strip Egypt of its majority share of the river’s water.

The most serious threat, however, comes from Ethiopia, already Egypt’s regional rival. In May 2011, Ethiopia announced plans to build a massive, $4.8 billion hydropower dam — known as the Grand Renaissance Dam — along the stretch of river within its own borders, despite Egypt’s opposition to the project.

“Most of us here are eager to use the Nile. But every farmer expects Egypt to be the enemy,” said Manichey Abey, a 33-year-old Ethiopian farmer.

While hydropower dams — used to generate electricity — in theory eventually allow the dammed water to flow through, Egyptian officials remain wary of Ethiopia’s intentions. They demanded in October of last year the creation of a tripartite committee, now at work, to study the new dam’s effects and are worried the project could set an unwelcome precedent for more ambitious schemes in the future.

At 6,000 megawatts, the dam would be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, with a reservoir capable of holding roughly 65 billion cubic meters of water.”

Read more: Global Post


UN Calls For Suspension Of Giant Ethiopian Hydropower Dam

Photo retrieved from: www.nation.co.ke

“The United Nations has added its voice to the barrage of criticism on Ethiopia’s massive Gibe III hydropower project, calling for work to be suspended until the negative impacts of the dam have been determined.

The World Heritage Committee, which establishes sites to be listed as being of special cultural or physical significance, said the dam’s construction endangered the existence of Lake Turkana.

The lake, the largest desert lake in the world and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, sits astride the Kenya-Ethiopian border.

In a letter to the Ethiopian and Chinese governments after its annual meeting, the committee underlined the importance of Lake Turkana as an outstanding research area for animal and plant communities.

“The area’s rich fossil finds have allowed reconstructing the history of animal species and mankind over the past 2 million years,” the committee report copied to the Ethiopian government read in part.

Both Ethiopia and China as members of the World Heritage Committee were asked to fulfill their obligations for the protection of such a site.

China is helping fund the building of the dam.”

Read more: Daily Nation


Why a Corporate Power Grab at the UN Threatens Our Most Critical Resource

Photo retrieved from: www.un.org

“There is no admission of problems with the Water Mandate, or the United Nations Global Compact itself” — the strategic policy initiative committed to human rights, labor and the environment – Blue Gold and Blue Covenant author and activist Maude Barlow, who also chairs the National Council of Canadians and Food & Water Watch, explained to AlterNet. “These initiatives continue to flourish, not least because the most powerful member states of the United Nations are fully behind them. This also means that the United Nations is not funded fully. Programs and agencies often rely on private sponsorship to function, and are often barely getting their core administrative budgets funded.”

“Another major problem is that routinely compromised and controversial institutions like World Bank, International Monetary Fund and regional development banks in general are in control of the United Nations’ biggest projects. In April, the World Bank assumed control of the United Nations Climate Conference’s new $100 billion Green Fund, which is the opposite of a comforting proposition, considering the World Bank’s repeatedly noxious financing of oil and coal projects.”

“That gives control of billions of dollars to those who have been the most ardent promoters of water privatization,” added Barlow, whose foreword for the Council of Canadians’ recently damning report on private sector influence over the United Nations (PDF) argued that the planet is on the verge of a water crisis of terrifying proportions. “We’re also seeing the IMF forcing indebted nations to sell off public assets, including water systems, as a condition of receiving financial support. The whole system is rigged for these corporations, and they still are losing contracts, not meeting their obligations and watching as remunicipalization moves forward in France and other core markets.”

Read more: AlterNet

San Juan River Dispute: Both Sides Told To Stay Away

Photo retrieved from: www.bbc.co.uk

“The UN’s highest court has ordered both Nicaragua and Costa Rica to keep all personnel back from a disputed border.

In November, Costa Rica complained to the International Court of Justice that Nicaragua had illegally sent troops and engineers into its territory to dredge part of the San Juan River.

In ordering Nicaragua to keep its troops out, the court ruled partly in favour of Costa Rica.

But it did not accept that the dredging was damaging the environment.

Both Costa Rica and Nicaragua lay claim to the Portillos Islands in the San Juan River, which forms the border between them.

The court, in The Hague, ruled that both countries must keep all military, police and civilian personnel out of the region.

However, Costa Rica can send civilian staff to monitor any potential damage to the environment.”

Read more: BBC


Lake Chad’s Disappearance Leaves A Famine In Its Wake

Lake Chad was bigger than Israel less than 50 years ago. Today its surface area is less than a tenth of its earlier size, amid forecasts the lake could disappear altogether within 20 years. Photo retrieved from: www.onepennysheet.com

“The drying out of Lake Chad in Africa has caused a flood of climate change refugees and misery.

The lake remains living proof of the impact of climate change in Africa, particularly significant this year as the continent hosts the United Nations’ annual climate conference in Durban, South Africa.

“The lake has dried up and the trees have died. Our camels no longer produce milk — they have no grass to eat,” said Halime Djime, a resident of the region. “We see animal carcasses everywhere. It is very dry.”

In Chad, the average rainfall since 2007 has been half of what farmers need to grow crops and graze animals.

Lake Chad has shrunk from 9,600 square miles in 1963 to its current size of about 502 square miles. On top of rising temperatures drying the lake, people are draining the lake to make up for the lack of rain. Most of the fish are gone, exarcebating the famine.”

“It’s a severe and silent problem,” said UNICEF Chad’s nutrition chief, Roger Sodjinou. “Our latest figures show that 225,000 children are dying every year from malnutrition in Africa’s Sahel belt”

Read more: Climatewire

Water pollution expert derides UN sanitation claims

Safe drinking water

“In its latest report on the progress of the UN Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people lacking access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, the World Health Organisation said that since 1990 1.3 billion people had gained access to improved drinking water and 500 million better sanitation. The world was on course to “meet or exceed” the water target, it said, but was likely to miss the sanitation goal by nearly 1 billion people.

“However, Prof Asit Biswas, who has advised national governments, six UN agencies and Nato, said official figures showing that many cities and countries had met their targets were “baloney”, and predicted that by the UN deadline of 2015 more people in the world would suffer from these problems than when the goals were first adopted.

“If somebody has a well in a town or village in the developing world and we put concrete around the well – nothing else – it becomes an ‘improved source of water’; the quality is the same but you have ‘improved’ the physical structure, which has no impact,” said Biswas. “They are not only underestimating the problem, they are giving the impression the problem is being solved. What I’m trying to say is that’s a bunch of baloney.”

“Barbara Frost, chief executive of the UK-based global charity WaterAid, said: “Here is a global catastrophe which kills more children than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined and which is holding back all development efforts including health and education.”

read more: The Guardian

Unsafe water kills more people than war, Ban says on World Day

“Every day around the world, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are poured in the earth’s waters, while one child under the age of five dies every 20 seconds from water-related diseases, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Human activity over the past 50 years is responsible for unprecedented pollution, and the quality of the world’s water resources is increasingly challenged,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“It may seem like an overwhelming challenge but there are enough solutions where human ingenuity allied to technology and investments in nature’s purification systems – such as wetlands, forests and mangroves – can deliver clean water for a healthy world.”

read more: UN