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"aquaNOW Audiences" In Conversation: Scotland's Hydro Nation International Centre

EDINBURGH, Scotland

Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of the Hydro Nation International Centre (HNIC) at The James Hutton Institute (JHI), Scotland, is in conversation with David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews – VIDEO LINK

Ferrier describes the rationale of the Scottish Government's Hydro Nation Programme; the work of the globally renowned JHI; and the Hydro Nation International Centre.

As one of the largest interdisciplinary centres of its kind, the Centre contributes to Scotland’s continued efforts to become the world’s first Hydro Nation – one that manages its water environment to the best advantage and uses its expertise at home and internationally.

HNIC provides a translational hub for the water community-of-practice around the world. By helping commissioners and stakeholders/users of research to access the correct expertise and talent it supports innovation and impact, to the benefit of all, linking industry, policy, research, and agencies to support economic development and good stewardship of water resources and to share best practices around the world. HNIC operates as a virtual centre to coordinate and amplify the impact of a range of waters-related initiatives and groupings. It is nominally based at the James Hutton Institute’s site in Aberdeen, Scotland but has an international focus, links and spheres of activity that will extend the benefits from these groups and initiatives. It brings together a critical mass of the Scottish water research community to focus on developing talent, promoting innovation, supporting expertise and maximising outcomes that can be applied in any global context.

Professor Ferrier has over 30 years’ experience in water resources management, with a particular focus on developing a holistic approach to achieving sustainable solutions to resource management. He has worked globally on issues such as acid rain, diffuse pollution, contaminants, catchment to coast interactions, driven by climate change, land use, and human influences.

The Scottish government's Hydro Nation initiative collaborates in the aquaNOW Audiences panel show series, produced by OOSKAnews.

Background, and footage of the “aquaNOW Audiences” series can be found here.

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Mekong River Commission Calls For Water Flow Transparency From China

VIENTIANE, Laos

The Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) annual report, published 16 June, includes a noteworthy statement calling for increased transparency from China over upstream dam operations on the river. The Mekong is Southeast Asia's longest river and acts as a lifeline to 60 million people.

Downtream Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam all suffered severe drought in 2019 as the river fell to record lows while upstream dams in China reportedly held "above-average natural flow”, withholding water and compounding the drought.

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Unilever Commits $100 Million USD Per Year For Ten Years For New Climate Change & Nature Fund

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

Multinational consumer goods company Unilever has announced creation of a new Climate & Nature Fund with a commitment to invest $1.1 Billion USD across all brands over the next ten years.

The new range of measures, announced 15 June, is described as being designed to improve health of the planet through decisive action to fight climate change, and protect and regenerate nature. Programmes will be directed at landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation. Unilever intends to work with stakeholders and governments and to improve access to water, especially in water-stressed areas.

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New Funding Support For Gaza Wastewater Treatment Plant

WASHINGTON DC, United States

New funding has been confirmed for operation support and maintenance of the North Gaza wastewater treatment plant. The World Bank announced new funding of $10 Million USD 10 June for four years, and is further supported with $3.7 Million USD from the Partnership for Infrastructure Development Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

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2023 Lunar Rover Will Map Moon's Water Resources In Advance Of Future Human Missions

WASHINGTON DC, United States

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), which will be deployed on the Moon in late 2023 to prospect for water ice that could support future human missions, will be delivered by US space robotics technology Astrobotic Technology.

VIPER will investigate the moon for 100 days, roving over several miles and sampling various soil environments. In addition, the rover will take core samples of up to three feet.

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EU Green Deal: EWA Looks At Implementation Of Water Management Solutions

BRUSSELS, Belgium

NGO European Water Association's (EWA) “Water Manifesto 2020” identifies current challenges for water management in Europe and presents corresponding sustainable solutions in four critical themes:

  • Nature-based Solutions to Respond to Climate Change
  • Financing Investment in Water Services
  • Asset Management and Digitalisation of Water Infrastructure
  • Boosting Water Demand Management
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Canada Government Urged To Invest In Environmental Protection Of Great Lakes Region

OTTAWA, Canada

The "Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Collaborative" has called on the Canadian government to implement a proposed $1.6 Billion USD Action Plan to address some of the greatest environmental challenges facing the region over the next ten years.

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World Bank Funding For Kosovo Water Security Program

WASHINGTON DC, United States

The World Bank has approved $27.4 Million USD in financial support for Kosovo’s Fostering and Leveraging Opportunities for Water Security Program (FLOWS). A 10 June announcement describes the programme's aims to strengthen Kosovo’s capacity for managing water security at the national level and to improve water security in the driest region of Morava e Binces basin, in particular.

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UN Experts Urge Japan To Delay Decision On Release Of Radioactive Fukushima Water

GENEVA, Switzerland

Experts at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have urged the Government of Japan to delay any decision regarding the release of radioactive water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear facility until after the COVID-19 crisis has passed and full consultations with affected communities and neighbouring countries can be completed.

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Unconventional Water Resources: From The Fringes To The Mainstream

EBENSBURG PA, United States

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest columns written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. In this article, Renee Martin-Nagle examines unconventional water resources (UWR). Martin-Nagle is President and CEO of A Ripple Effect plc, Treasurer of the International Water Resources Association and a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute. She holds two undergraduate degrees and three law degrees, including a PhD in Law from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Her book Governance of Offshore Freshwater Resources was published by Brill Nijhoff in early 2020.

With predictions of dire consequences for humans and other species due to an impending global freshwater scarcity, attention is turning to sources of freshwater that have until now been viewed as unconventional. On 5 June 2020, UN-Water published an Analytical Brief that examines in detail several types of unconventional water resources (UWR), some of which have been utilised for years while others await catalysing circumstances:

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Niger: Malian Refugees Killed And Water Facility Destroyed In Armed Attack On Camp

GENEVA, Switzerand

Over 50 armed men on motorbikes attacked a refugee camp in western Niger 31 May, killing two Malian refugee leaders and a local host community leader. The site hosts some 20,000 refugees and an additional 15,000 displaced Niger nationals. The United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) reports that the gunmen then torched food supplies and aid items, destroyed mobile phone towers and the main water station and pipe network.

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Improve Water Supply, Decrease Ocean Plastic

WASHINGTON DC, United States

A new report from the United Nations’ High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP) suggests that improving water supply, especially in developing nations, would have a significant positive effect on the amount of plastic waste dumped in oceans.

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EIB Investment For Water Network Improvement In Kosovo

LUXEMBOURG, Luxemburg

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced an investment of $12.5 Million USD for construction of a wastewater treatment plant and related sewerage network for the municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane in Kosovo. Funds will also be applied to other key environmental protection infrastructure. The project will be co-financed by EBRD ($11.5 Million USD) and an EU grant of $4 Million USD.

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World Environment Day – “It Is Time For Nature”

BOGOTA, Colombia

World Environment Day (5 June) 2020, hosted by Colombia, had the theme "Time For Nature". In an address marking the occasion Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), described “Humanity’s unhealthy relationship with nature”, saying that “The science does not lie…We can tell much of the story of the damage our species has wrought with a few facts”:

  • Humanity has altered 75 per cent of the Earth’s ice-free surface.
  • Since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest, equal to three times the size of South Africa, have been lost.
  • Nearly one million species face extinction, while the illegal wildlife trade is the fourth largest illegal trade crime in the world.
  • COVID-19, which was transmitted from animals to humans, is a direct warning that nature can take no more. COVID-19 is zoonotic, a type of disease that transmits between animals and humans. We are facing it in large part because humanity’s expansion into wild spaces and exploitation of species brings people into closer contact with wildlife. COVID-19 may be one of the worst, but it is not the first. 75 Percent of all emerging infectious diseases are of zoonotic. origins. Ebola, SARS, the Zika virus and bird flu all spread from animals to people, often due to human encroachment on nature.
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$700 Million USD To Advance Environmental Priorities In Developing Countries

Rome, Italy

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has agreed on $700 Million USD for projects and programmes to help developing countries keep advancing urgent environmental priorities through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic. The new and expanded programming, announced 3 June by the Facility’s governing body, will help developing countries protect marine biodiversity, fight wildlife trafficking, tackle dangerous uses of mercury, and fortify defenses against climate change in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, in basic services such as drinking water, and other areas.

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Water Security Among Six "Global Systemic Risks" For Investors

NEW YORK NY, United States

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified water security among six “global systemic risks” in a white paper which outlines a governance framework to enable the investment community to address the annual investment gap of $6.26 Trillion USD required to mitigate these risks. The other systemic risks are climate change, population growth, geopolitical uncertainty, negative interest rates and technology disruption.

“Transformational Investment: Converting Global Systemic Risks into Sustainable Returns”, released in May, provides new insights to ensure that the long-term impact of non-traditional risks and opportunities can be better understood.

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Putin Declares State Of Emergency As Massive Oil Spill Contaminates Siberian River

Moscow, Russia

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin declared a local state of emergency 3 June after 20,000 tons of oil leaked into rivers from a power plant in the Arctic north of the country.

The contamination happened 29 May when the “oil products” leaked from a tank in an industrial plant operated by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and one of the largest producers of nickel, platinum and copper.

Putin said in a 3 June meeting with officials that “The accident took place at the industrial site of the Nadezhdinski Metallurgical Plant, and part of the spilled petrochemicals, a considerable amount actually, seeped into the Ambarnaya River”.

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GERD Technical Talks To Resume, Ethiopia Will Commence Land Clearing For Reservoir

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The government of Ethiopia has described preparations for land clearing behind the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) ahead of commencing filling its Blue Nile reservoir with water in July.

Bashir Abdel Rahim, Director General of Ethiopia’s Job Creation Agency said 30 June that more than 2,000 workers will be deployed to remove trees, shrubs and stones from the land behind the dam, with a total of 1,000 hectares to be cleared within 45 days.

Previously on 21 May, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to resume technical discussions on filling the dam after virtual talks between Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Further OOSKAnews Coverage of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

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"Water and Resilient Cities": An aquaNOW Audience

EDINBURGH, Scotland

Livestreamed and Recorded 27 May, 2020 - CLICK HERE to watch "Water and Resilient Cities", an aquaNOW Audience

Our world will have an estimated 2 billion new urban residents by 2050, so how do we make our cities more resilient in a water context? We need cities that can absorb, recover and prepare for future stresses and hazards while promoting sustainable development, well-being and inclusive growth, deploying environmental, governmental, economical and societal tools at our disposal. aquaNOW Audiences are produced by OOSKAnews in collaboration with the government of Scotland, the Hydro Nation. A 27 May livestreamed “aquaNOW Audience” panel looked at aspects of urban water resilience challenges and solutions, engaging in discussion around:
 
  • The relationship between freshwater ecosystems and human-hydrologic systems
  • Global exemplars of smart, resilient cities
  • Differences between the urban “north” and urban “south”
  • Community-centred decision-making and application
  • Political will, education and “buy-in”
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November 2021 For COP26

GLASGOW, Scotland

The deferred United Nations climate change summit (COP26) will now take place in Glasgow, Scotland, between 1 and 12 November 2021. The event had been postponed from planned November 2020 dates because of the COVID pandemic. In the meantime the conference venue, the Scottish Exhibition Centre, was repurposed as a hospital facility supporting Scotland’s National Health Service in response to the virus crisis.

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The Water Diplomat is produced by OOSKAnews, Inc in a collaboration with The Geneva Water Hub. Content is produced by, and copyright held by OOSKAnews, Inc and do not represent any official position of The Geneva Water Hub.