United States President Donald Trump’s long-awaited “Peace Plan” for the Middle East, revealed 28 January, has come under fire for disregarding the political and economic needs of occupied Palestine and lack of recognition or acknowledgement of one of the most contentious issues that abounds throughout the region: allocation of water resources.
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The Public Works and Housing Ministry will complete construction on eight major water dams in 2020 as part of the National Strategic Program. Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said in a press release on Thursday Indonesia's water supply is more than adequate at 2.7 trillion cubic meters per year.
Participants at an international conference to celebrate the “Blue Peace Decade”, held in London, United Kingdom 17-18 February, reflected on the evolution of Blue Peace in the last decade, and brainstormed about possible paths ahead. Speakers discussed “Evolution of Blue Peace: Global and Regional Progress”; “Importance of Data Exchange and Innovative Finance”; “Role of Media in Blue Peace” and “Future Directions”.
The European Union has announced $55 Million USD in support for the Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Parties to the 1998 Bamako Convention has adopted a new set of decisions to strengthen the Convention at the third Conference of the Parties to the Covention (COP3). The original purposes of the Convention are:
- To prohibit the import of all hazardous and radioactive wastes into the African continent for any reason;
- To minimize and control transboundary movements of hazardous wastes within the African continent.
- To prohibit all ocean and inland water dumping or incineration of hazardous wastes.
- To ensure that disposal of wastes is conducted in an “environmentally sound manner".
- To promote cleaner production over the pursuit of a permissible emissions approach based on assimilative capacity assumptions
- To establish the precautionary principle.
NGO Amnesty International has called for a halt to the construction of the Polihali Dam in Lesotho, at least until local communities in the Mokhotlong district have been properly consulted and compensated.
China on Thursday said it was helping its downstream neighbors cope with a prolonged drought by releasing more water from its dams on the Mekong River, adding it would consider sharing information on hydrology to provide further assistance in the future.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for the Indus River waters shared by Pakistan and India to be used as a “tool for peace and not war".
To counteract a particular result of the increase in population and water demand, the United Nations Misssion in South Sudan is currently undertaking a quick impact project in four villages on the outskirts of Mundri. Water holes in Bangolo, Kediba and Mbara will be either rehabilitated or drilled.
A group of 23 former foreign ministers has warned that humanity’s ongoing destruction of nature threatens the survival of our species. In an 18 February statement released by members of the Aspen Ministers Forum, the ministers call for more attention to be focused on rapidly warming oceans given their importance in producing oxygen and food for the world’s population of over 7 billion people. In addition, the group urges world leaders who will convene in Rome, Italy, 24 February to back the draft United Nations agreement to protect about one-third of the world’s oceans and land.
A meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was planned to take place in Kunming, Yunnan province, China from 24-29 February, but has been relocated to Rome, Italy, on the same dates because of coronavirus concerns.
A new collaboration that will bring together civil society, governments and the pharmaceutical industry was launched in New Delhi 11 February.
The group, initiated by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has been formed to promote the Responsible Antibiotics Manufacturing Platform (RAMP). RAMP is intended to address the global health threat related to the increase in emissions in the manufacturing process of antibiotics. RAMP will also promote collaboration between pioneers in the field of sustainable public procurement and the pharmaceutical industry.
A coalition of United States racial justice organisations has written to the governor of Lagos, Nigeria, arguing against possible "inherently unjust" privatisation of the state's water. Those objecting to the state’s plans include prominent African-American civil rights activist, and former US Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson.
A new report, compiled and written by international military and security experts, provides a global overview of security risks specifically as they relate to changing climate. It recommends “climate-proofing” international security (including infrastructure, institutions and policies) as well as significant reduction in emissions in order to contain, if not avert, significant-to-catastrophic security threats. Climate change-exacerbated water insecurity is already a significant driver of instability according to the report, with 93 percent of climate security and military experts surveyed agreeing that it will pose a significant or higher risk to global security by 2030.
Following meetings with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Egypt’s Housing Minister Assem al-Gazzar has confirmed the country’s interest in cooperation with the private sector for seawater desalination.
Christine Gottschalk, director of the Centre for Resilience at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has described restructure of the agency's resilience programmes as conducive to "...really thinking about shocks and stresses as perennial features and not anomalies...This is really about knowing that [droughts and floods are] going to happen. How do we plan for it so we can be responsive?”
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released a new compilation of maps reflecting how effects of drought, sea-level rise, forest fires, extreme rain and flooding may affect selected regions in Europe. The maps are based on different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios and climate models that have been projected through the 21st Century.
Alok Sharma has been announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the United Kingdom’s Minister with responsibility for COP26, the United Nations Climate Summit which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland in November this year. He is also the UK’s new Minister for the country’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The World Bank has announced a $10-15 Million USD grant for desalination in Gaza, Palestine. This funding, announced 10 February, will supplement funds already committed by the Partnership for Infrastructure Development in parallel with financing from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The total project funding now exceeds $115 Million USD.
A coalition of more than 200 leading scientists have warned that the planet may be tipped into “global systemic collapse” by overlapping environmental crises. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, extreme weather events, major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, food crises, and water crises top a list of 30 global risks both in terms of likelihood and impact, according to scientists surveyed by international research group “Future Earth”.
Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed challenges brought over the expansion of the Trans Mountain (TMX) oil pipeline system expansion project. The challenge, rejected in a 4 February unanimous ruling, was presented by four indigenous groups on the basis that they had not been properly informed or consulted regarding the extension of the pipeline.
The coalition of indigenous groups claim that the environmental review did not consider the effect of the project on the First Nations’ way of life and the environment in a meaningful way. Specifically, the proposed pipeline will run through a number of aquifers including the recharge zone for the Coldwater aquifer. The possibility of oil spills threatens the quality of drinking water for over 90 percent of the Coldwater First Nation reserve.
The chief of the Coldwater Indian Band, Lee Spahan, further argues that the threat to water goes beyond its quality, saying that the people have a connection to the water and that it is sacred. Spahan said the route through the First Nation’s territories is still to be determined and Canada has an ongoing duty to consult with it on the route and protection of its water.
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