Decade’s WeeklyUnited Nations, Water for Life, UN Water
 News from the International Decade for Action ’Water for Life’ 2005-2015
  Issue 35. 09 May 2014 
This week in focus  Editor’s note

Welcome to the Decade’s Weekly! Every week it brings you the latest news from the International Decade for Action ’Water for Life’ 2005-2015. Please feel free to forward this newsletter. You can also access this newsletter online.

Quoting the UN
"Many of the challenges facing Small Island Developing States are shared by the international community, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, oceans and seas, disasters."
Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, on preparations for the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States, 1-4 September 2014.
Tip of the week
There is more behind the figures relating to the issues tackled by the UN! Access to a selection of UN photo banks and photo galleries on water for a visual representation of those affected, the people helping to instigate change and the projects around the world that are improving water and sanitation conditions on a daily basis.

WHO/UNICEF report highlights need to further reduce gaps in access to improved drinking water and sanitation

Since 1990, almost 2 billion people globally have gained access to improved sanitation, and 2.3 billion have gained access to drinking-water from improved sources. Some 1.6 billion of these people have piped water connections in their homes or compounds, according to a new WHO/UNICEF report "Progress on drinking water and sanitation: 2014 update", which also highlights a narrowing disparity in access to cleaner water and better sanitation between rural and urban areas.

"The vast majority of those without improved sanitation are poorer people living in rural areas. Progress on rural sanitation - where it has occurred - has primarily benefitted richer people, increasing inequalities," said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

"Too many people still lack a basic level of drinking water and sanitation. The challenge now is to take concrete steps to accelerate access to disadvantaged groups. An essential first step is to track better who, when and how people access improved sanitation and drinking water, so we can focus on those who don’t yet have access to these basic facilities," she added.

The report presents estimates for 1990-2012 and is based on data from nationally representative household surveys and censuses for the same period. It reveals that by 2012, 116 countries had met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for drinking water, 77 had met the MDG target for sanitation and 56 countries had met both targets. MDG 7.C aims to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

>> Full press release
>> Progress on drinking water and sanitation: 2014 updatePDF document

In the news Forthcoming events
#PhilippinesTyphon Philippines: Six months after typhoon, UN working with communities to rebuild lives

Six months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, while signs of recovery are starting to emerge, progress remains fragile, the United Nations said urging continued international support for the 14 million people affected. Haiyan is the biggest typhoon recorded in almost a century, and according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), it killed thousands and affected nearly 9.8 million people, displaced some 4 million people and destroyed 500,000 homes. The storm also devastated the country’s infrastructure, hospitals, schools and public services, causing $12 billion in estimated damages. The UN humanitarian agencies and their partners in the Philippines are now prioritizing projects on shelter and livelihoods, while continuing to assist the most vulnerable people with assistance and protection services.
>> More information

#HandHygiene Good Hand Hygiene by health workers protects patients from drug resistant infections

On Hand Hygiene Day (5 May), the World Health Organization (WHO) urged health workers to practice good hand hygiene when caring for patients, to protect them from contracting infections in health facilities. WHO has issued a major global report on antimicrobial resistance documenting high rates of resistance in bacteria that cause common infections in all regions of the world. Initial results confirm that resistance is very frequent in bacteria isolated in health-care facilities. "There is clear scientific evidence that good hand hygiene by health workers reduces healthcare-associated infections caused by resistant germs", says Professor Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of the WHO Clean Care is Safer Care programme and of the activities planned for Hand Hygiene Day.
>> Full press release
>> More information on WHO’s campaign "Save Lives: Clean Your Hands"

#AfghanistanDisaster Afghanistan plea for help on Disaster Risk Reduction

The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) has made an urgent appeal for greater support on disaster risk reduction efforts in the disaster-prone country following the large loss of life from mudslides in Badahkshan province. Afghanistan along with 13 other countries agreed in 2011 to the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan which intends to organize disaster response seminars, to improve knowledge and experience on dealing with the impact of disasters and to set up regional early warning systems in particular for droughts and other water-related threats. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is working with ANDMA and other UN agencies to support the process.
>> More information

#Water&Health Armenia prepares to ratify the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health: draft national water and health targets finalized

On 6 May 2014 in Yerevan, Armenia, the Steering Committee of the National Policy Dialogue (NPD) on water resources management approved the draft national water and health targets, prepared by the national expert group with support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Armenia signed the UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health in 1999 and is currently in the process of its ratification.
>> More informationPDF document

#DisasterRisk 5th African Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Date: 13-16 May 2014
Place: Abuja, Nigeria
Organiser: United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for Africa (UNISDR-AF)

This conference will develop the African position on a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction focused on building resilience of African communities in line with Sustainable Development Goals. Governments, intergovernmental regional organizations, donors, United Nations representatives, academic and technical institutions, representatives youth, media and the private sector are expected to participate to consolidate a common position.
>> More information

#Water&Ecosystems 4th Partnership meeting of the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES)

Date: 14-15 May 2014
Place: Washington D.C, USA
Organiser: Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystems Services (WAVES)

The 4th partnership meeting will bring together WAVES countries and partners to share successes and challenges, with a focus on water and ecosystem accounts. The meeting will feature presentations from UN and private sector partners and panel discussions on how natural capital accounts support wider development goals. WAVES is a global partnership that aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed in national economic accounts and development planning. The partnership includes UN agencies, governments, international institutes, NGOs and academics.
>> More information

#WaterConvention 3rd Meeting of the Implementation Committee of the Water Convention

Date: 15-16 May 2014 Time: 10:00
Place: University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Organiser: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

The implementation Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention for the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) will meet to discuss the draft analysis on the need for reporting under the Convention and the modalities for raising awareness about the mechanism to facilitate and support implementation and compliance.
>> More information

#WaterEnergyFood International Conference: Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. Synergies and Tradeoffs: Governance and Tools at various Scales

Date: 19-20 May 2014
Place: Bonn, Germany
Organiser: Global System Water Project (GSWP)

This conference will address linkages between water, energy and food security, seeking to assess available information, identify knowledge gaps, share lessons, facilitate networks and contribute to consensus on priorities in order to consider joint improvement in efficiency as a win-win strategy for human development and environmental sustainability. Recognizing the sustainability of the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus as a key research-for-action initiative, the conference will allow an internal policy consultation process to inform, influence, and catalyze action by key actors-including policymakers, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, educators, and researchers. Sessions will address themes such as tools for sustainable implementation of the nexus approach; governance and management of the nexus; the role of ecosystems in sustainability; and implementing the nexus at various scales. The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are part of the steering committee of the Conference.
>> More information

From the Decade's Programmes
#WaterPost2015 9th UN Water Dialogue in Casa Solans: Dialogue on the role of civil society in promoting water and sustainable development

Date: 15 May 2014
Time: 10:30-14:00
Place: Casa Solans, Av. Cataluña 60, Zaragoza, Spain
Organizers: UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) and Ecología y Desarrollo Foundation (ECODES)

The 9th UN Water Dialogue is organised by UNW-DPAC and the Ecología y Desarrollo Foundation (ECODES) within the framework of the 2015 UN-Water International Conference in Zaragoza, Spain, which will focus on water and sustainable development. This dialogue aims to report on progress in the Post-2015 Agenda, share the views of civil society on priorities in each of the topics, receive feedback on its contribution in relation to the means of implementation and identify key actors of the civil society.

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