News archives 2012

Now online! Consolidated proposal and working group reports from The Hague Consultation

Post-2015 tag14 December 2012 - The consolidated proposal, working group reports and presentations from the 2nd Consultation on the Formulation of Post-2015 Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Goals, Targets and Indicators which took place in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 3 to 5 December 2012, are now available online.


Over One Thousand "Hackers" Find 181 New Apps to Improve Access to Safe Sanitation for Poor People

Sanitation Hackathon logo5 December 2012 - More than a thousand computer programmers and other information technology specialists in 40 cities around the world developed 181 new application software, or apps, this past weekend (1-2 December) to help improve access to safe sanitation for the 2.5 billion poor people who lack it. The "hackers" competed for 48 hours in the first ever global Sanitation Hackathon.


Draft Resolution on the implementation of the International Year of Water Cooperation approved

International Year of Water Cooperation logo30 November 2012 - The 2nd Committee of the 67th UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution titled "Implementation of the International Year of Water Cooperation, 2013" by which the General Assembly would stress the importance of full involvement by all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the Year at all levels.


Consultative Post-2015 document on water [PDF document-280k]

Post-2015 tag7 November 2012- In anticipation of a water goal in the future sustainable development goal (SDG) framework, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) has initiated, at the global level, a consultative technical process to ensure that targets and indicators proposed to the UN General Assembly in September 2013 optimally reflect the state of the art in monitoring, represent the dual interests of the development and human rights communities and take on board lessons learned from the global monitoring experience during the MDG period. This consultative document explains the background to this process, and provides a list of potential targets and indicators – as well as formulations to be considered for the goal itself.

>> Participate and submit your comments to the consolidated report


Have your voice heard! Water in the post-2015 development agenda

Post-2015 tag21 November 2012 - The Thematic Consultation on Water (the water consultation) in the post-2015 development agenda is now open, waiting for your inputs on the World We Want website. The water consultation is part of the UN-system led “global dialogue” comprising of 50 - 100 country consultations and 11 global Thematic Consultations, among them the one on water. The water consultation is waiting for your voice! It needs your ideas to foster a shared vision on key future challenges in water and a new global water goal in the post-2015 development agenda.

You can engage through the website and also through social media at Twitter @WaterPost2015 using the hashtag #waterpost2015 or visiting the Facebook page WaterPost2015.

The water consultation is divided into two interactive phases. Phase I is the global water consultation, which focuses on broad challenges to trigger engagement and discussion. The global consultation will remain online and active for the whole duration of the consultation. Phase II focuses on thematic sub-consultations broadly in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), water resources, wastewater management and water quality. Phase II starts in mid-January and runs up to 3 March 2013. In March the outcome from the different discussions will be summarised into policy recommendations in a final report that will be transmitted to the High-level Panel on Post-2015 appointed by the UN Secretary General at the end of March.

>> Participate in the Thematic Consultation on Water!


Over 60 Projects Posted on New "Water Action Hub"

UN Global Compact logo 15 November 2012 - The UN Global Compact Office announced that 63 projects have been posted on the CEO Water Mandate's Water Action Hub since it was launched in August 2012 - surpassing internal expectations and reinforcing the need for an international platform to showcase water stewardship initiatives and "match-make" organizations on collective-action projects within specific river basins.


Kenya has ‘unique’ chance to move ahead with deforestation reversal – UN environment chief

image kenya deforestation7 November 2012 – Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP, called on Kenya to act on a “roadmap” for reversing deforestation in the East African country at the conclusion of Kenya Water Towers, Forests and Green Economy National Dialogue, a three-day gathering at UNEP headquarters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The meeting focused on Kenya’s five montane forests, also known as ‘water towers’ due to the fact that these forests store water during the rainy season and release it slowly, thus ensuring water flow during dry period.


Links between waste management and environmental sustainability spotlighted at UN-backed conference

Links between waste management and environmental sustainability spotlighted at UN-backed conference6 November 2012– Amid a rapidly growing world population, waste management issues are becoming increasingly crucial for the promotion of environmental sustainability, delegates at the conclusion of a two-day United Nations conference on the matter heard. “Basic human needs such as clean water, clean air and safe food are jeopardized by improper waste management practices, with severe consequences for public health,” a UNEP news release warned.


Launch of UN Documentation Centre on Water and Sanitation

UN Documentation Centre on Water and Sanitation24 October 2012 - On the occasion of UN Day and the World Development Information Day, the United Nations Office to support the International Decade ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015/UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) has launched the online UN Documentation Centre on Water and Sanitation (UNDCWS). The centre has been developed by UNW-DPAC with the support of the Municipality of Zaragoza in Spain and provides access to valuable water and sanitation related publications produced by the United Nations system.

This virtual library is available in English www.unwaterlibrary.org and in Spanish www.bibliotecaonuagua.org but publications are accessible in different languages when available (including the 6 official UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).

The online UNDCWS currently provides access to the most recent publications but the repository is being fed every day with publications from all UN agencies, programmes and initiatives.

We hope this documentation system will help media to find useful information to report on water and sanitation, researchers to find valuable resources for their research, students to increase their knowledge base and policy and decision makers find relevant and timely information when needed.


'Considerable efforts' required to make the most of Europe's inland waterways

Map of European Inland Waterways11 October 2012 - With only 7 per cent of goods transported on inland waterways in the European Union, "considerable efforts" are still required by the region's governments and the transport industry to increase this number and relieve congested road and rail networks, according to a new UN report. Produced by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the latest report on the issue – the Blue Book - finds that roads account for 78 per cent of all goods transported in the EU, with rail lines accounting for another 16 per cent.

>> Access the Blue Book [PDF document – 1.7 MB]
>> Access the Map of European Inland Waterways [PDF document – 2.5 MB]


Policies to protect wetlands necessary for sustainable economies

Cover of report The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands16 October 2012 - Governments must recognize the vital economic and environmental role that wetlands play in supporting human life and biodiversity, according to a United Nations-backed report released on 16 October, which also stresses that their protection is essential for countries to transition into resource-efficient and sustainable economies.

>> Access the report 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands' [PDF document - 5.2 MB]


UNEP to help Afghanistan combat effects of climate change

Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. Photo: Anssi Kullberg11 October 2012 - The United Nations is to help Afghanistan combat the effects of climate change, teaming up with the country's Government to implement a $6 million initiative that aims to operate in vulnerable communities and shore up the ability of Afghan institutions to independently address risks posed by changes to the climate. UNEP identified Afghanistan as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. The initiative's interventions will include improved water management and use efficiency as well as community-based watershed management among others.


Catarina de Albuquerque joins Global Handwashing Day PDF document

Catarina de Albuquerque. Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation11 October 2012 - "Governments do not prioritize hygiene in their policy and budgeting, in the school curriculum, in promotion activities," the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, emphasized in a statement to mark Global Handwashing Day.


California law on human right to water sets example for others, UN expert says

Photo: UNECE. Handwashing28 September 2012 - The new law passed by the state of California in the United States of America on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is an "inspiring example" for governments, said the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque.

The assembly bill 685, adopted on 25 September in the most populated US state, with more than 37 million inhabitants, also provides for coordination among state agencies about the use of water for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.


In UN speech, Uzbek Foreign Minister stresses water conservation as key to regional security

Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Marco Castro28 September 2012 - In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov, underlined the commitment of his country - a landlocked nation in Central Asia – to a UN convention protecting water resources in his water-scarce region as part of a larger effort to ensure regional peace and stability.

"In the modern world, given climate change and the worsening ecological situation on a global scale, ensuring reasonable and rational use of water resources becomes the most acute problem," Mr. Kamilov told the 67th Assembly on the fourth day of its annual General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York.


Action on climate change crucial to water and food security, Ban Ki-moon stressed at UN event

Opening of 67th General Debate of General Assembly. UN Photo/Marco Castro.27 September 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called again for urgent and concrete action on climate change, as high-level officials gathered at the United Nations to discuss the growing global concern over the impacts of the phenomenon on food and water security.

"Action on climate change remains a major piece of unfinished business," Mr. Ban told an event hosted by Qatar on the sidelines of the General Debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly.

Last December, Member States agreed to reach a legally binding agreement on climate change by 2015, he said, referring to the decision taken by the 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at their conference in Durban, South Africa.

"Two days ago I called on Member States to make good on this promise. Time is running out on our ability to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees centigrade."


Protecting global water resources a crucial necessity, Hungarian President tells UN

János Áder, President of Hungary, addresses the general debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly25 September 2012 - Emphasizing that international cooperation on waste water management had become "indispensable," Hungary's President János Áder warned the 67th United Nations General Assembly that without further collaboration among its Member States, the world risked growing tensions over this crucial natural resource.

"Half of Earth's population lives in so-called 'shared' or 'joint' water catchment areas," he said in his statement to the Assembly's General Debate. "The same river provides the water supplies for two, three or more countries," he continued, adding that cooperation between countries on water-related issues was "a daily obligation" as the absence of it could lead to "the emergence of supply, social, health or even war tensions."


Participate in the slogan contest for World Water Day 2013!

World Water Day 2013 logo19 September 2012 - Your proposal could be chosen as the slogan for the International Year of Water Cooperation and World Water Day 2013 campaign. Participate and win an invitation to the kick-off in Paris! Submit your slogan by 15 November 2012.


UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate launches Global Water Action Hub

CEO Water Mandate Logo29 August 2012 - The UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate initiative announced the launch of a global Water Action Hub, an on-line platform to unite companies, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders on a range of critical water projects in specific river basins around the planet.

>> Access the Water Action Hub


UN agency welcomes Nigeria's decision to carry out oil clean-up in Ogoniland

An aerial view of Ogoniland shows oil floating on the water's surface. Photo: UNEP.1 August 2012 - The United Nations welcomed the decision by the Nigerian Government to clean up a major oil contamination in the Niger Delta in the Ogoniland region of the country. The decision comes twelve months after the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) presented a scientific assessment of oil pollution in OgonilandPDF document to the Government, underlining serious public health and environmental impacts.


Kiribati must urgently address rights to safe water and sanitation

Locals in Tebikenikora, a village in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.25 July 2012 - Catarina de Albuquerque has called on the Government of Kiribati to urgently address the human rights to safe water and sanitation, which could help to tackle the high child mortality rate in the Pacific island nation. "I was shocked by the child mortality rate in Kiribati, which is the highest in the Pacific," said the Special Rapporteur on the right to water and sanitation.


UN experts urge action to achieve Millennium Development Goals ahead of 2015

Catarina de Albuquerque. Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation10 July 2012 - A group of UN independent experts urged States to intensify efforts towards realizing the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), stressing that there is no room for complacency with only three years to achieve them before the 2015 deadline. In relation to safe drinking water, Ms. de Albuquerque noted that in spite of the target of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation "significant disparities still exist and the most vulnerable people in the world have not benefited from progress."


Launch of MDG Report 2012: With three MDGs achieved, global partnership for development is key to 2015 success

MDG Report 20122 July 2012 - Three important targets on poverty, slums and water have been met three years ahead of 2015, says this year's Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), launched today by UN Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon. The MDG Report notes success in reaching the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of drinking water by 2015. The proportion of people using improved water sources rose from 76 per cent in 1990 to 89 per cent in 2010, translating to more than two billion people currently with access to improved sources such as piped supplies or protected wells.

>> The MDG Report 2012
>> 2012 MDG Progress Chart
>> Press release


Rio+20 Legacy: World Centre for Sustainable Development launched by Brazil and UNDP

Rio+20 logo22 June 2012 - As a major and concrete legacy of the Rio+20 Conference, the Brazilian Government announced the creation of Rio+ Centre, the World Centre for Sustainable Development. The Rio+ Centre will facilitate research, knowledge exchange and promote international debate about sustainable development. It will bring together a broad international consortium of partners, consisting of government agencies, United Nations agencies, local governments (including the state government and municipality of Rio de Janeiro), NGOs, universities, think-tanks and the private sector. From the outset, the Rio+ Centre will provide continuity to the discussions launched by the Rio Dialogues for Sustainable Development.


3rd edition of 'Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award focuses on water cooperation: application period is closed

Water for Life and UN-Water logos.The 3rd edition of the 'Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award was launched at the Thematic Session on Water Cooperation organized by the Government of Tajikistan at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil. The application period closed on 15 September 2012.

The purpose of the Award is to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015 through recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

The Award is open to projects or programmes achieving particularly effective results in the field of water management or in raising awareness in water issues. This edition's focus in on Water Cooperation as 2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation and World Water Day 2013 is also dedicated to this important theme.

>> Website of 'Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award
>> Press release PDF document


Rio+20: countries announce agreement on Conference's outcome document

Rio+20 The Future We Want logo19 June 2012 – Members States announced that they have reached an agreement on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). UNCSD Secretary-General Sha Zukang said he was pleased to join the host Government in announcing that negotiations have come to a successful conclusion, with a text that will now be put forward for adoption by Heads of State at the conclusion of Rio+20 on Friday.

Water and sanitation issues have been included in the outcome document from para. 119 to para. 124; it recognizes the important role of water at the core of sustainable development and highlights countries' commitment to the 2005-2015 International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'. Member States reaffirm their commitments in relation to the MDGs, the JPoI and the human right to water and sanitation, and commit to the progressive realization of access to safe and affordable drinking water and basic sanitation as necessary for poverty eradication, women's empowerment and to protect human health. They also recognize the key role ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality and underline the need to adopt measures to address floods, droughts, and water scarcity. In relation to the means of implementation, States reiterate their commitments to support these efforts in particular in developing countries through the mobilization of resources from all sources, capacity building and technology transfer, and highlight the need for international assistance and cooperation. Countries also stress the need to adopt measures to significantly reduce water pollution and increase water quality, significantly improve wastewater treatment, and water efficiency and reduce water losses.

>> Water in the Outcome Document


Release of 'UN-Water Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to the Development, Management and Use of Water Resources 2012'

Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resources Management 201219 June 2012 – Based on a global survey assessing the progress and outcomes of the application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources, this UN-Water report includes lessons learned and recommendations, as well as focus areas for action. The report also provides guidance for establishing a regular international monitoring and reporting framework to promote sustainable development and management of water resources.

>> Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resources Management 2012 [PDF document - 16 MB]
>> Key messages and recommendations from the report  [PDF document - 938 KB]


Launch of GEO5 Global Environment Outlook 5

GEO5 Global Environment Outlook 5 6 June 2012 – The world continues to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing, according the fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit. The report cautions that if humanity does not urgently change its ways, several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.

The Water Chapter of GEO5 highlights the following main messages: (1) Increasing water-use efficiency in all sectors is vital to ensure sustainable water resources for all uses; (2) Recognition of ecosystem water needs within allocation systems will help protect life supporting ecosystem services; (3) Reducing both point and non-point pollution is imperative to improve ecosystem health and provide safe water for humans; (4) Improved water supply and sanitation is probably the single most cost-effective means of reducing water-related death and disease globally; (5) Climate-sensitive policies across all water-related sectors are essential to address extreme events and increased climatic variability; (6) The pace of increasing demands on freshwater and ocean resources must be matched by improved governance.

>> Chapter 4 of GEO 5 on Water [PDF document - 12.9 MB]


Hungarian designer wins the Drop by Drop Youth Prize

Drop by Drop Competition Youth Prize Winner 25 April 2012 - Eszter Szigethy of Hungary has won the Youth Prize in the Drop by Drop Ad Competition for her entry Save Earthlings. In the introduction to her winning entry Szigethy wrote that as Noah protected the animals and plants with his ark, we should do the same "The water is our ark, because without it we can't exist. Therefore we have to save the most important element in our life."

The Drop by Drop Competition received 3,500 entries from 45 European countries. It was launched by UNRIC, the UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels, in collaboration with UNEP, the UN Environment Programme and UN information offices in Europe with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Drop by Drop is part of the United Nations Secretary-General's campaign the Future We Want in the run up to the UN's Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro in June this year.

>> Drop by Drop website


Winners for the 2012 edition of the UN-Water "Water for Life" Best Practices Award

Category 1 winner for the 2012 edition of the UN-Water Water for Life Best Practices Award22 March 2012 - The United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015/UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) and the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 edition of the UN-Water "Water for Life" Best Practices Award. The purpose of the Award is to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015 through recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Category 2 winner for the 2012 edition of the UN-Water Water for Life Best Practices AwardThe prize is awarded yearly in two categories. Every year, special emphasis is being put on the theme selected for next World Water Day. In 2012, special focus is given to the topic "Water and Food Security".

The Secretariat has received a total of 28 applications for its 2012 edition: 22 for category 1 'Best water management practices', 6 for category 2 'Best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices'. Geographical distribution of applications is as follows: Africa 29%, Asia 32%, Europe 7%, Latin America and the Caribbean 32%.

The 2012 edition has been awarded at a special ceremony during World Water Day in Rome, Italy, to the following initiatives:


>> UN-Water "Water for Life" Best Practices Award website


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