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Potential Shared Water Disputes - Causal Factors Mapped

BRUSSELS, Belgium

Scientists of the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) have used a new machine-learning approach to investigate pre-conditions and factors that are likely to lead to water management issues in shared water bodies.

New “Global Commission” Will Accelerate Climate Adaptation Action; “Flagship Report” With “Recommendations” Expected Within 12 Months

The Hague, Netherlands

World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US software billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates have launched a new initiative, the “Global Commission on Adaptation” (GCA) in a move to address “risks associated with climate change—from floods and droughts to sea level rise and storms”.

At an October 16 launch in The Hague Georgieva, Ki-moon and Gates all stressed the need to scale up and speed up adaptation, especially in light of last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report that warned of imminent and unprecedented dangers to humans on a fast-warming planet.

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Uzbekistan Infrastructure To Benefit From $232 Million USD (EIB) And $580 Million USD (EBRD)

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced (October 15) two new loan facilities for Uzbekistan amounting to $232 Million USD for freshwater and energy efficiency initiatives. In completely different transactions, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced (October 16) its own initiative in Uzbekistan: a $580 Million USD investment to finance six water and power supply and district heating projects in the country.

Georgia: Court Orders Local Authority To Provide Water Connection For Muslim School

KOBULETI

A court in Georgia has ordered local authorities in Kobuleti to provide water and sewage connections to a Muslim boarding school. The local mayor’s office had argued they could not do so because of ‘objections from neighbours’ leading to the school remaining closed. It is not yet known whether the Mayor’s Office will appeal the court’s ruling.

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IPCC Report: "The Next Few Years Are Probably The Most Important In Our History"

INCHEON, South Korea

On October 6, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C”. The report to assess the differences between allowing temperatures to rise towards 2 degrees C above pre-industrial times or keeping them nearer to 1.5 C was commissioned at the Paris Convention in 2015.

At 1.5C the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2C, it notes. Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty.

Three working groups assessed different aspects of change: the physical scientific basis of climate change; impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and climate change mitigation.

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history," Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group that assessed impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, said in a statement marking the report's release.

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OOSKAnews Voices: The Long View On Long-Term Climate Impacts: Building Cathedrals Of Resilience

CORVALLIS, United States

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. In this article, John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which is chaired by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Bank, observes that cities are the landscapes where most climate adaptation decisions are being negotiated and contested...and that most of those decisions are about water.

Matthews’ work integrates technical and policy knowledge for climate adaptation for practical implementation. John has worked globally on these issues since 2007 and has authored many publications on adaptive management for water infrastructure and ecosystems. He has a PhD in ecology from the University of Texas and is based in the United States.

If national policies are the battleground for greenhouse gases, I would argue that cities are the landscape where most of the climate adaptation decisions are being negotiated and contested. Most of those decisions, of course, are about water.

Last week I landed in Mexico City — known regionally at CDMX (Cuidad de Mexico), which must be in a competition with Cape Town to be the poster child for water scarcity and ongoing system-level crises and “droughts”. I temporize on the term drought, since water scarcity is often a mixture of insufficient supplies, perverse consumption incentives, and (in many places) long-term declines in the amount of water available as a result of climate trends.

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$264 Million USD for Bulgaria Regional Water Operators

SOFIA, Bulgaria

The government of Bulgaria last week signed an agreement with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to manage an initial $132 Million USD European Union Cohesion Fund investment grant to improve the country's water supply, sewage and wastewater treatment facilities. This is the first Cohesion Policy backed financial instrument for the water and wastewater sector in Bulgaria.

OOSKAnews Talks - Stuart Orr And Alexis Morgan, WWF - Article Links to Audio

STOCKHOLM, Sweden

At August 2018’s World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, OOSKAnews spoke to Stuart Orr, Leader of WWF's Global Water Practice, and Alexis Morgan, WWF's Global Water Stewardship Lead (audio links are provided in this Free OOSKAnews article).

Stuart Orr, Leader of WWF's Water Practice, describes a welcome increase in recent years of awareness of corporate water risk; corporate engagement with responsible water stewardship practices; the "urgent need" to address global water challenges during this critical period. Orr also, with reference to recent disasters with dam projects in Asia, speaks to the need to balance risk and benefit in dam construction.

The audio conversation between Stuart and David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews, is linked here.

Stuart Orr:

On the evolution of Water Stewardship initiatives:

"It's been a long road, it's been an interesting one, and it continues to evolve quite rapidly, particularly as the financial world comes into the whole conversation about water".

"One of the big changes is the realization from the financial world...(has) financial impacts on markets and economies".

On WWF's Water Risk Filter tool:

"There is a general excitement that these kinds of tools are really aiding companies and financial institutions to ask the right questions, and know how to respond".

On dams; benefits and risks:

"This headlong rush to meet renewables targets...(can) lead us to putting infrastructure projects in the wrong place".

On the future:

"I'm optimistic...I just came out of World Water Week (impressed by) so many people trying to find (water) solutions...there was so much new this year around finance, unlocking nature based solutions, around governance, so many opportunities for collaborative efforts".

Alexis Morgan, Global Water Stewardship Lead, WWF, talks about global corporate water responsibility and risk; WWF's corporate water risk assessment tool, "Water Risk Filter"; WWF's updated Water Stewardship Brief paper which was launched in Stockholm at World Water Week.

The audio conversation between Alexis and David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews, is linked here.

Alexis Morgan:

On public and corporate awareness of water stewardship challenges:

"You can see (an improvement) in the media coverage ranging from day-zero issues in Cape Town all the way through to issues in California with crop production...issues around droughts and floods and droughts are in the news almost daily...businesses are starting to pay a lot more attention to this".

"Water is a social value creator...we can look at this, and track (river systems)...it's no surprise that cities and the great economic engines of the world are based along rivers".

"A lot of companies are very, very serious about (water stewardship)...they've been told to deal with this by shareholders...this is no longer a "touchy-feely" issue...there are billions and billions of dollars being affected, when you start talking those numbers, shareholders start to listen".

On WWF's Water Risk Filter assessment tool:

"It's essentially a tool where (a company can input) some key pieces of information and it provides (you) with information about what are the water risks you need to be paying attention to in a given place on the planet and across a portfolio of operations".

"We've added a lot more functionality, and we're on the verge of doing that again...Version 5.0 will go live in the fall and expands into new areas".

On the future:

"As we enhance the narrative around valuing rivers, and how we approach water stewardship, there is potential to change this to a whole new scale of impact. If we can show scale and impact, it creates a narrative of optimism and hope that, I think, people are really looking for in this space".

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UNFAO Chief Urges Shift To Sustainable Farming Practices

ROME, Italy

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva has urged government ministers, private sector and civil society representatives to move away from high-input and resource-intensive farming as these current practices contribute to deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Maintaining Global Warming At 1.5 Degrees Celsius Will Help To Protect Freshwater Availibility

Washington, United States

Approximately 117 million more people could face water shortages if global temperatures increase 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels compared to a 1.5-degree Celsius increase in temperatures, according to a new study.

Drought Caused By Climate Change May Cost China $47 Billion USD Per Annum

BEIJING, China

Scientists have warned that economic losses caused by drought in China may double to $47 Billion USD per annum if global temperatures rise by 1.5 to 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

WHO Calls For Actions To Achieve SDG 6

GENEVA, Switzerland

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for countries to make comprehensive policy shifts and invest more to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of universal sanitation coverage by 2030. 

OOSKAnews Voices - An Accidental Survey: The State of Climate Adaptation Today

CORVALLIS, United States

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. In this article, John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which is chaired by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Bank, describes the state of the art of assessing climate change risk for water and coastal regions. 

Matthews’ work integrates technical and policy knowledge for climate adaptation for practical implementation. John has worked globally on these issues since 2007 and has authored many publications on adaptive management for water infrastructure and ecosystems. He has a PhD in ecology from the University of Texas and is based in the United States.

Last April, I received an email from a United Nations Frmework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agency called the Consultative Group of Experts or CGE. The CGE organizes and hosts workshops on technical and policy topics for the national liaisons for the member states of the UNFCCC. Could I support three regional workshops — Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia, the Pacific region, and eastern Europe and the Middle East — on the state of the art for assessing climate risk for both the water sector and for coastal regions?

My first thought was that this was not the kind of question you say no to. I had never heard of the CGE before, but some research showed that their workshops span a wide range of topics. Some focus on administrative areas, but some are more detailed and narrow. CGE finds suitable speakers — the “experts” in CGE — but largely allows these speakers to structure the substance of the topic. The attendees for the climate risk workshops would be national focal points on climate adaptation. Of course, I accepted immediately.

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More Needs To Be Done To Achieve Aims Of EU Water Framework Directive

VIENNA, Austria

Trends in European water quality and flood management and associated legal frameworks, pollution from microplastics and pharmaceuticals and the impacts of climate change were discussed at last week's 5th EU Water Conference in Vienna.

Reconnecting Cities With Their Basins, People With The Water Cycle

London, UK

One in four large cities presently experience water stress, yet water demand is projected to increase 55 Percent by 2050 meaning cities are set to face increasing supply challenges. A new report by international engineering and consultancy Arup examines approaches to reversing the water pressures faced by cities around the world and presents an economic pathway for addressing the challenges of urban population growth and climate change on the water system.

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US, India and Saudi Arabia Have Most To Lose Economically From Climate Change

SAN DIEGO, United States

The top three countries with the most to lose economically from climate change are the United States, India and Saudi Arabia, according to new research. China also places in the top five countries with the highest losses.

Faith Leaders Say UN Is Sidelining Internally Displaced People

NEW YORK, United States

In an open letter to UN member governments, more than 57 faith leaders from across the globe have challenged UN member governments about the exclusion of 40.5 million internally displaced people from the new Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact applies only to people who have been forced to flee across borders and ignores the plight of those displaced within their own countries.

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US Government "Must Act Now" On PFAS Contamination At Military Bases

WASHINGTON, United States

New analysis by US science advocacy organization the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) highlights significant health risks posed to military families and communities by per and poly fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), a class of synthetic chemicals found in firefighting foam, nonstick cookware and other products.

PFAS are long-lasting compounds known to accumulate in the human body and environment, including water supplies. Exposure to the chemicals is associated with a range of detrimental health effects including kidney and testicular cancer, liver damage, and decreased immunological response.

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