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$500 Million USD For African Water Facility Urban Sanitation Program

BEIJING, China

The Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing was the occasion chosen for the African Development Bank’s November 6 announcement of a new sanitation project for sub-Saharan Africa’s urban inhabitants. The Gates Foundation, in partnership with the Government of China, has promised support for the initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in conjunction with the African Water Facility to bring fast adoption of innovative, pro-poor sanitation technologies to the world’s developing regions.

Radioactive Water Dump Threatens Fukushima Fisheries

TOKYO, Japan

Last month’s announcement that the government of Japan will release radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean has left Fukushima fisherman wondering how they will ensure the safety of their livelihoods and the safety of the fish they now catch.

South Arica: Alien Plants Suck

PRETORIA, South Africa

The government of South Africa has announced the launch of a “first comprehensive national-scale assessment of the status of biological invasions and their management” in response to "the real economic threat" posed by such invasions.

WWF Launches Upgrades To Water Risk Assessment Tool

EDINBURGH, Scotland

WWF, the world’s largest conservation group has announced an upgraded version 5.0 of the “Water Risk Filter”, a leading online tool developed with the German Development Finance Institution (DEG), which empowers users to explore, assess, value and respond to corporate water risks.

The Water Risk Filter uses 32 annually-updated, peer reviewed data layers along with a site-based operational risk questionnaire to enable users to understand and prioritize water risks and specific sites. Designed to be easy to use by non-water experts, it is the only water risk tool to assess both basin and operational risks. Drawing on site-specific water risk data, including over 10M km2 of high resolution data, the tool can also guide users towards contextually appropriate mitigation response actions.

Ariane Laporte-Bisquit, the Water Risk Filter Project Manager, demonstrated new functionalities, features and benefits of the upgraded version 5.0 to attendees of The Alliance for Water Stewardship’s (AWS) annual Global Water Stewardship Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland October 31.

Laporte-Bisquit is responsible for overseeing the ongoing evolution and implementation of the Water Risk Filter strategy. She leads on the engagement with investor and corporate users of the tool in collaboration with the wider WWF network. She described key new features of the Water Risk Filter, including a new look and interface; upgraded data structure and indicators; new local high-resolution data as well as a new “response section” and a new valuation section which will go live soon. Users can now explore maps, country profiles, WWF stories, reports and more without needing to login and have improved assessment capacity – to get to know the water related risks their organization's assets are facing through customized assessment and analysis that can highlight hot spots.

In blogs about the Water Risk Filter, Laporte-Bisquit has deployed the expression “canary in a coal mine”, in which miners used nature (birds) to signal risks (air quality) which she describes as being "as relevant today as it was when the term was coined two centuries ago. Water is the lifeblood of our global economy, as virtually every business sector relies on water to irrigate, cool, clean or as an ingredient…the “water canary” is telling us we’re in trouble”.

“We have learned a lot over the course of the past six years (since the 2012 launch of Water Risk Filter), not only through seeing how thousands of users employ the tool, but also through engagement with companies and in the field…Many companies that we work with, for example Edeka, Marks and Spencers, and Nestle, have used the Water Risk Filter at the corporate level, but have also taken advantage of the tool at the local level, as they’ve sought to implement the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard in their supply chains and operations. Assessing water risk needs to be rooted in cutting edge data, but easy, fast and layered…The quality of water data is ever improving.

“While WWF has annually updated data since 2012, version 5.0 significantly expands the scope and quality of the data we harness to better guide companies and sites. Those leading companies and facilities…wanted more information on future projections, on reputational risk, and to understand how data sets on scarcity differed, so we’ve obliged! We’ve not only expanded from 20 to 32 basin risk indicators, but we’ve worked with new partners…to add unique data sets”.

“The upgraded Water Risk Filter has integrated multiple state-of-the-art, robust and peer reviewed global models in order to encourage users to interpret water risks under different lenses. Since many global water data sets are modelled, we have sought to draw upon multiple models — in the same way that the IPCC looks to multiple models. For example, we now offer three different takes on water scarcity alone.

Furthermore, a global versus local perspective is also necessary so we were keen to expand the number of local data sets…In short, not only can the Water Risk Filter support global corporate water stewardship, but it can also support local, site-based water stewardship, which makes it an invaluable tool to support AWS members and AWS Standard implementers”. 

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OOSKAnews Publishing Schedule - Holiday Season - A Note To Newsletter Subscribers

WASHINGTON, DC, United States

OOSKAnews will not publish its subscription-based email water news report "International Water Weekly" on Wednesday this week (November 8). Our normal weekly Wednesday publishing schedule for "International Water Weekly" will recommence the following week (November 15) and continue with no break in publication at the time of the North American Thanksgiving holiday week.

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Malaysian Minister Will Raise Subject Of Singapore Water Treaty During ASEAN Summit

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

Malaysia Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya's office has confirmed that the issue of the 1962 Malaysia-Singapore water treaty is on the agenda for a private meeting between Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be held on November 12 during the 33rd Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore.

UNFAO and NDB To Join Forces To Help Meet SDGs

ROME, Italy

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) and the New Development Bank (NDB), formerly known as the BRICS Bank, have announced a new joint effort to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A formal agreement, which special focus on safeguarding water and soil resources is expected to be finalized soon.

OOSKAnews Talks - Andre Fourie, Global Director, Water, Anheuser-Busch Inbev: Accelerating Water Security In High Risk Watersheds

LONDON, United Kingdom

Andre Fourie is Global Director, Water Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), the world's largest brewer. He leads the company’s work on water stewardship such as investing in watershed protection in high-stress areas. ABI’s portfolio comprises over 500 beer brands includes global brands Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, and numerous multi-country brands.

In this audio conversation with David Duncan, OOSKAnews, Fourie describes the corporate, shareholder value case for responsible water use in the beverage sector and the challenges of responsible water stewardship in disparate geographies.

Fourie also comments on two new global water security partnerships which ABI, with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and WWF announced ahead of October’s WWF-Financial Times Water Summit in London which aim to “accelerate water security in some of the most high-risk watersheds globally”.

The first phase of the TNC global partnership is to focus on Latin America with development of four new Water Funds in Colombia, El Salvador, Argentina and Mexico. Initiatives aim to unite public, private and civil society stakeholders around the common goal of contributing to water security through nature-based solutions and sustainable watershed management. In addition to improved water security, benefits for communities will include improved agriculture, job creation and climate resilience.

Andrea Erickson, Global Managing Director of Water at TNC said, “The scale of the challenges we face and the speed at which they are growing require innovation and evolution in our alliances. This partnership with AB InBev builds on our shared vision of a water secure future: where people, commerce and nature all have reliable, equitable access to clean water. We hope it will inspire other companies to incorporate nature-based solutions into their water stewardship endeavors.”

ABI’s partnership with WWF in Bolivia and a number of African countries including South Africa and Zambia builds on previous collaborations that involved water risk assessments and the development of influential reports, for example highlighting the value of water to the economy. Together, WWF and ABI are to develop blended finance approaches to encourage private sector investment at the scale required to improve water access and quality, enhance the health of river basins, and ensure the needs of local communities are met. For example, in the Kafue Flats wetlands in Zambia, the partnership will deliver financing projects to address the current pressures on the landscape.

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AWS Sees Growth In Adoption Of Water Stewardship Standard Certification

EDINBURGH, Scotland

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) held its third annual Global Water Stewardship Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland this week, reporting growth in uptake of its Water Stewardship Certification and an expanding membership base.

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OOSKAnews Talks - Francois Munger, Director, Geneva Water Hub: "A Matter of Survival" - One Year On

STOCKHOLM, Sweden

On the first anniversary of publication of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace Report “A Matter of Survival”, OOSKAnews caught up with François Munger, Director of the Geneva Water Hub, which acts as Secretariat to the Panel. 

In this audio conversation with David Duncan of OOSKAnews, Munger describes the founding ideas behind creation of the Geneva Water Hub of which he was principal developer; the need to link water with peace; global challenges contributing to rising tensions and risk of conflicts regarding water; Geneva Water Hub’s contribution to the Global High Level for Water and Peace; how the Global Panel Report “A Matter of Survival” contributes to global thinking about water, peace and security linkages, and next steps for the Geneva Water Hub.

The Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace was launched in 2015 with the task of developing a set of proposals aimed at strengthening the global framework to prevent and resolve water-related conflicts, and facilitating the use of water as an important factor of building peace and enhancing the relevance of water issues in national and global policy making. 

The 15 countries who co-convened the Panel are Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, France, Ghana, Hungary, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Oman, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland with the Geneva Water Hub acting as Secretariat. The Panel was tasked with focusing on four main themes: Identify legal, economic, financial and institutional mechanisms to incentivize multi-sectoral and transboundary water cooperation; Examine how to cope with and prevent water-related conflicts, namely transboundary and inter-sectoral — possibly exploring potential mechanisms to promote hydro-diplomacy; Promote effective implementation of the global water conventions; Promote best practices in water cooperation.<--break->

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"Wetland City" Accreditation Launched By Ramsar Convention

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Last week’s Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has introduces a “Wetland City Accreditation” program, which initially recognizes 18 cities that have taken exceptional steps to safeguard their urban wetlands.

Colonial-era "Water Grabbing" Policies Still Have Negative Impact On African Smallholders

PRETORIA, South Africa

A new report from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and South Africa's Pegasys Institute assesses the history ofcolonial-era “water grabbing” policies in sub-Saharan Africa and argues for a “de-colonizing” solution to modern-day imbalanced and unfair water permit regulations.

Students Protest China "Misuse", India "Indifference" Over Brahmaputra

PASIGHAT, India

Students in India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh held a protest rally October 24 to demand a water treaty with China in response to recent geological river disasters in China which threatened flooding of downstream regions of India, forcing the evacuation of thousands.

New Project Aims To "Green" Vietnam Textile Sector

HANOI, Vietnam

A project of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) and WWF, with support from HSBC, will support improvement of water and energy sustainability within the country's textile sector to reduce environmental impacts.

Nigeria Prez Calls For Lake Chad Recharge To Stem Emigration

ABUJA, Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has called for greater investment from Europe and America to achieve recharge in Lake Chad. Climate change has caused the lake, which serves several millions of people in Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, to shrink to 10 percent of its original size, affecting the welfare of those dependent on the lake for fishing, farming, and animal husbandry.

New $60.4 Million USD USAID WASH Program Aims To Benefit Three Million Nigerians

ABUJA, Nigeria

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the launch of a new urban water and sanitation "activity" aimed at providing 500,000 Nigerian families in six states access to reliable supply of clean, piped water.

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