Decade's WeeklyUnited Nations, Water for Life, UN Water
 News from the International Decade for Action ’Water for Life’ 2005-2015
  Issue 44. 18 July 2014 
This week in focus  Editor’s note

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

Tip of the week
UN Secretary-General has ambitious goals for the United Nations: Linkedin interviews Ban Ki-moon
"Our vision is that by 2030, another 15 years from 2015, we will have abolished the whole of extreme poverty. There should be nobody left behind. [...] And by that time, we should also give universal access to energy. And there should be nobody who is suffering from lacking safe drinking water."

>> Listen to the interview

Level of human loss, destruction in Gaza "immense," says UN agency

The level of human loss and destruction in Gaza as a result of the ongoing conflict with Israel has been "immense," said the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees on 15 July, noting that eight days of hostilities claimed 174 lives and injured well over 1,100 people.

"The numbers are increasing by the hour," Sami Mshasha, from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), told a news conference in Geneva. "We also notice that a good number of those killed and injured are women and children, and that is a cause of concern for UNRWA," he said.

The figures as of 14 July: 138 civilians killed; 1,361 injured; 17,000 displaced; 600,000 at risk of losing access to water supply.

>> Full press release
>> UNRWA Report: Gaza in 2020. A liveable place?
>> Gaza Emergency Situation Report (as of 14 July 2014) PDF document

In the news Forthcoming events
#Water&FoodSecurity Study highlights new agricultural methods and technologies that can save governments millions and conserve vital natural resources

A shift in agricultural policy to encourage crop diversification and use of new water and energy saving technologies could save millions of hectare-metres of water annually, as well as millions of dollars in energy costs, finds a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners food security study.
>> Full press release

#EndCholera In Haiti, Ban calls for greater efforts to improve water and sanitation, end cholera epidemic

On 14 July, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for intensified efforts to ensure access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in Haiti as he launched a new United Nations-supported initiative and met with families affected by cholera. "As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I want to assure you that the United Nations and its partners are strongly committed to ending the epidemic as quickly as possible. We are making progress, and we will continue to pursue with all our energy our goal of freeing the country from the disease," Mr. Ban said.
>> Full press release

#Gender&Water UN WWAP UNESCO Project for Gender Sensitive Water Monitoring Assessment and Reporting

The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) has launched a project to develop and test the collection of key gender-disaggregated water data. WWAP is developing a priority set of gender-sensitive indicators and a gender-disaggregated data methodology that will be tested in the field by Member States in different regions. This project will produce a comprehensive methodology for gender-disaggregated data gathering and will yield the first-ever set of gender-disaggregated data on topics such as women’s water empowerment and participation in water decision making.
>> More information

#ClimateChange Ban appoints former Irish President Mary Robinson as special envoy for climate change

On 14 July, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed former Irish President Mary Robinson as his Special Envoy for Climate Change to mobilize political will and action ahead of the climate summit that the United Nations chief will convene in September. "Building on her work on climate justice she will engage Heads of State and Government around the world in order to mobilize political will and action, and raise ambition in advance of the 2014 Climate Summit that the Secretary-General is hosting in New York on 23 September 2014," said the announcement from Mr. Ban’s office. "The Summit will be an important milestone to mobilize political commitment for the conclusion of a global agreement by 2015, as well as to spur enhanced action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilient communities."
>> Full press release

#Urbanization World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas

Today, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. Projections show that urbanization combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90% of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations report launched on 10 July. The 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (UNDESA) Population Division notes that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria. As a result, these countries will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including sufficient housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy and employment, as well as for basic services such as education, water and sanitation.
>> Full press release
>> 2014 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects

#AfricaWater 2nd International Forum of NGOs: "Access to Water for All in Africa"

Date: 30-31 July 2014
Place: Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire
Organisers: NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, UNESCO

Experts, representatives of international NGOs, stakeholders on the ground, men and women from different backgrounds will gather to discuss, exchange, and share their experiences on different aspects of the issues addressed: progress and obstacles, the pollution problem, role of education and traditions, international decisions and their implementation, conflicts, etc. The Forum is intended primarily for NGOs in official partnership with the Organization, but is open also to other organizations and institutions interested in the topics.
>> More information

#WaterCities WaterLinks Forum 2014

Date: 11-13 August 2014
Place: Manila, The Philippines
Organisers: WaterLinks with the support from Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Water Association (IWA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance among others

This Forum will provide a platform to learn about and debate the most recent developments in solving critical urban water and wastewater efficiency problems. The forum will focus on key issues of growing urban water insecurity in Asia and the Pacific, the need to create new water and promote efficiencies amidst the challenge of climate change.
>> More information

Water Op-eds
#TransboundaryWaters The Unity of Water

By Mikhail Gorbachev
In May 2014, Vietnam became the 35th and decisive signatory of the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. As a result, on August 17, the Convention will enter into force. Roughly 60% of all freshwater runs within cross-border basins; only an estimated 40% of those basins, however, are governed by some sort of basin agreement. The UN Watercourses Convention must not become just another ignored international agreement, filed away in a drawer. The stakes are too high. In today’s context of climate change, rising demands, population growth, increasing pollution, and overexploited resources, everything must be done to consolidate the legal framework for managing the world’s watersheds. Our environmental security, economic development and political stability directly depend on it.
>> Read more


• Let’s talk incentives: Toilets, girls, and violence

Access to household toilets is often seen as just a water and sanitation issue or a public health concern. But the recent murders of two young Indian girls have highlighted another aspect - women’s safety and security. As reported in the media, the two teenage girls went into the fields by their village in Uttar Pradesh in search of a discreet place to relieve themselves and never returned.

By Anupma Jain, Senior Social Sector Specialist at Asian Development Bank (ADB)
>> Continue reading

Latest videos

Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros on climate change, water and World Heritage sites
UNESCO. June 2014
Ms. Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros, Director of the Division of Water Sciences and Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO, is interviewed by Responding to Climate Change TV during the 5th Assembly of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in Cancun, Mexico, 25 May 2014. She explains that extreme weather events, such as excessive rain, are damaging cultural heritage sites and neighbouring communities. According to her, protecting cultural heritage sites should be as much of a priority as all of the other topics in climate change discussions, such as agriculture, and she thinks UNESCO is in a good position to offer a holistic perspective on the matter to decision makers.

Enhanced Livelihoods: Water and Education
UNDP Kenya. July 2014
UNDP Kenya working with the National Drought Management Authority in Turkana and Garissa counties to enhance the lives of communities by improving students’ access to water for their use as well as cooking and agricultural purposes.

Enhanced Livelihoods: Water and Livestock
UNDP Kenya. July 2014
UNDP Kenya working with the National Drought Management Authority in Turkana and Garissa counties to enhance the lives of communities by improving their access to water and pasture for their livestock.

>> More videos accessible from the UN water video library

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