Decade’s WeeklyUnited Nations, Water for Life, UN Water
 News from the International Decade for Action ’Water for Life’ 2005-2015
  Issue 52. 24 October 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

On the occasion of World Cities Day, the UN Documentation Centre on Water and Sanitation offers you a selection of related UN publications!

Tip of the week

>> UN publications on Water and Urban Areas


Inaugural World Cities Day to be commemorated this 31 October under the theme "Leading Urban Transformations"

Date: 31 October 2014
Place: Worldwide

In 2013, the UN General Assembly designated every 31 October as World Cities Day, to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and challenges in urbanization and contribute to sustainable urban development in cities and towns around the world.

Under the theme Leading Urban Transformations, the first World Cities Day to be commemorated this 31 October will be hosted by Shanghai Municipality, in the People’s Republic of China. 300 participants are expected to attend the event, including the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in China, UN-Habitat and other UN agencies, Mayors and representatives of various cities around the world, universities, research institutes and the media.

World Cities Day 2014 marks the conclusion of Urban October, a month of raising awareness, promoting participation, generating knowledge and engaging the international community towards a New Urban Agenda. Urban October starts on World Habitat Day on 6 October to World Cities Day on 31 October.

Today, more than two thirds of the global population lives in cities with greater levels of inequality than 20 years ago. From an urban perspective, and especially in the developing world, challenges related to water and sanitation will magnify in the future due to an ever growing city population needing to share already insufficient and poorly managed resources.

Check the official website for ideas on how to participate on World Cities Day!

>> More information about the Day
>> Water and cities

In the news Forthcoming events
#Desertification In fight against hunger, UN launches initiative targeting threat of desertification

The growing menace of desertification poses a distinct threat to the world’s agriculture and eco-systems, the United Nations agriculture agency warned on 22 October, as it announced a new initiative aimed at curbing the spread of land degradation and building resilience to climate change. The programme, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty. "Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts," FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said.
>> Full UN press release

#Water&Food African Development Bank Group approves Programme to End Drought and Famine Cycles in the Sahel

The African Development Bank Group approved on 15 October loans and grants amounting to US $231 million to finance a Programme to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel. The Programme aims to eliminate the structural causes of acute and chronic food and nutrition crises by helping vulnerable households to increase their productivity, production and incomes, gain access to infrastructure and basic social services and build a heritage that strengthens their livelihoods in a sustainable manner. Project 1 of the program will construct water mobilization as well as pastoral facilities in targeted rural districts and assist vulnerable households to sustainably manage natural resources and improve nutrition.
>> More information

#WaterPost2015 Getting ready for the Post-2015 SDGs: Join the Asian Development Bank e-dialogue!

From 20 October to 24 November, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), jointly with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is facilitating an open e-discussion around the implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a dedicated global forum. The forum will focus on three bottlenecks considered to stand in the way of the Asia Pacific region’s aspirations: adequate finance, access to technology and a strong evidence base. The forum aims to reach out to new audiences and garner a variety of ideas, views and experiences. You are invited to register, contribute and share!
>> Read more at the Asian Development Bank Blog

#HumanRightToWater Joint call of UN experts to ensure human right to water for most vulnerable in Detroit

Following a visit to Detroit, Michigan, USA, from 18 to 20 October 2014, the UN Special Rapporteurs on the human right to water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, and on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, expressed their concern regarding the unprecedented scale of water shut-offs taking place in the city. Over 27,000 residences have had water services disconnected this year, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable and poorest, most of whom are African American. The UN experts stressed that all decisions that affect access to water and to adequate housing for residents of Detroit should be guided by human rights and urged the adoption of a mandatory affordability threshold and the adoption of specific policies to ensure support to people living in poverty.
>> UN News Press Release >> Joint Press Statement by UN Special Rapporteurs >> Detroit’s water shut-offs target the poor, vulnerable and African Americans

#UNDay United Nations Day

Date: 24 October 2014
Place: Worldwide

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. 24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. "The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises. Poverty, disease, terrorism, discrimination and climate change are exacting a heavy toll. Millions of people continue to suffer deplorable exploitation through bonded labour, human trafficking, sexual slavery or unsafe conditions in factories, fields and mines. The global economy remains an uneven playing field. [...] At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable", says Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, on his message for the Day. The UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) participates in UN Day celebrations in Madrid, Spain.
>> More information

#WaterQuality UNESCO-IHE Symposium on UV disinfection in developing countries

Date: 6 November 2014
Place: Delft, The Netherlands
Organizers: International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education

In recent years, an increasing number of demonstration projects have highlighted the great potential of UV disinfection as point of use, point of entry, or community-based treatment system. This one-day symposium on UV disinfection in developing countries will encompass basic principles of UV disinfection, applications, commercial solutions, research and future up-scaling potential of this technology. Academic, practitioner and manufacturer experts will be involved in a panel discussion on the future role of UV technology in meeting the needs for safe drinking water in developing countries.
>> More information
>> Symposium brochurePDF document

#ClimateChange Climate Change Impacts on Snow, Glacier and Water Resources: Multidisciplinary Network for Adaptation Strategies

Date: 6-7 November 2014
Place: International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change, Koblenz, Germany
Organizers: UNESCO-International Hydrological Programme (IHP)

The aim of the workshop is to connect scientific research, policy development and action, and identify recommendations to develop sustainable adaptation strategies. The session will also present case studies which will consider geographic hotspots of particular concern such as melting glaciers in mountains. Finally the session will contribute to enhanced resilience to global change, particularly climate change, through improved understanding of vulnerabilities, opportunities and potentials for adaptation. It will consequently contribute to the development of strategies and policies based on scientific/evidence-based knowledge in major mountain regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, and Americas.
>> More information

From the Decade’s Programmes
#MYWorld UNW-DPAC joins My World Campaign

The United Nations Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) has signed on as an official partner of MY World: The United Nations Millennium Campaign. MY World is a United Nations global survey for citizens. Working with partners, MY World aims to capture people’s voices, priorities and views, so world leaders can be informed as they begin the process of defining the next set of global goals to end poverty after the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

>> More information
>> UNW-DPAC website

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