What Happened at the United Nations General Assembly?
Throughout the week, heads of state and leaders from the business and civil society communities gathered in New York City for the 68th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. A number of UNGA events focused on accelerating achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and setting the roadmap on a sustainable development framework beyond 2015.
The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has underscored the importance of partnerships to change the development landscape and mobilize finance, expertise and knowledge to further the MDGs.
Although significant progress has been achieved on providing access to water and sanitation (especially in Asia and in urban areas) the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) 2013 Update shows progress has been uneven among regions and within countries. Of the 768 million people without access to improved drinking water, 83 percent live in rural areas, and as Map 1 shows, the countries with the lowest rates of access are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 2.5 billion who lack access to sanitation, 71 percent live in rural areas, and as Map 2 shows, the countries with the lowest rates are also primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The MDGs set aspirational targets that leaders from each sector can work towards achieving. U.S. Water Partnership partners The Coca-Cola Company, Global Environment & Technology Foundation, Global Water Challenge, Conservation International, iDE, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Millennium Water Alliance, U.S. Agency for International Development, University of South Florida, WaterAid America, Water Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, Water for People, Winrock International, World Vision and World Wildlife Fund, have contributed to the success so far in achieving universal water and sanitation access.
The CEO Water Mandate recently held a side event during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on corporate water stewardship on how the private sector can support the post 2015 MDG development process. Many USWP partners participated in the discussions, including the Alliance for Water Stewardship, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, WaterAid America, World Resources Institute and others. For more information, please visit this website.
U.S. Water Partnership Web Portal Wants to Hear From You!
The U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) wants your input into the development of the USWP Web Portal. You can do so through completing the brief survey available here . This Web Portal is being developed to provide simplified and user-friendly access to the “best of U.S.” information and resources for users throughout the developing world. Please provide input that will inform the design and implementation of the USWP Web Portal to allow end-users to use water data to address solutions to their most pressing water challenges and priorities. The deadline for completing the survey is Wednesday, June 5th. For more information, or if you have questions, please contact Brian Banks, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USAID Identifies Goals for a 21st Century Food Assistance Program
U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) member the Center for Strategic Studies (CSIS) hosted a senior-level panel on food assistance in April featuring partner U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) framed the discussion by declaring that overcoming global hunger is the starting point for U.S. foreign policy because “nothing is more elemental to the human experience and development than having access to adequate and reliable sources of nutritious food.”
Administrator Shah shared Senator Lugar’s prioritization of food security and identified the challenges and goals for a 21st century U.S. food assistance program. Dr. Shah emphasized the ultimate goal is to transition food insecure communities from dependence to self-sufficiency. Dr. Shah also stressed the U.S. will continue its leadership on food aid that has fed 50 billion people since 1954.
The panel underscored that the policies set after WWII to address food assistance in emergency situations, need a refresh because geopolitics, agriculture, ecosystems and economies have experienced dramatic shifts, which have consequently altered the landscape of food assistance. According to Dr. Shah, “in an increasingly complex world, with extreme ideology, extreme climate, and extreme poverty…we have to be both agile and creative in our response.” The proposed reform focuses on improving flexibility, timeliness and efficiency by allowing the U.S. government to access an array of tools to meet food needs in specific situations around the world. One tool focuses on promoting local procurement, or providing cash vouchers for people in need. This delivers food more quickly to those in need by 98 days and that decreased time lag saves lives. Outdated and inefficient food aid policies not only cost human lives but also are a drain on the U.S. taxpayer. Dr. Shah mentioned inefficient food aid policies cost approximately $219 million over three years according to several studies, including a Government Accountability Office report. The release of President Obama’s 2014 Budget includes food aid reform that extends life-saving assistance to approximately two to four million more people each year while using the same level of resources. To accomplish this, USAID and other U.S. government agencies, civil society, and private sector companies have formed partnerships to identify areas for innovation and link with the appropriate technologies so more people can be reached with nutritious food. The reforms shift food assistance to be more proactive by emphasizing faster and more cost-effective assistance to transition temporary aid to achieve self-sufficient and sustainable food security outcomes.
Water plays a key role to facilitate this shift to more effective and sustainable food aid. For example, the multiple use water service approach, being implemented by USWP members Winrock International and USAID, considers the variety of water uses that include the health, environment and productive aspects for communities. Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is important to food security because if water-borne parasites lead to diarrhea or tropical enteropathy, then children, parents and elders cannot absorb the nutritious food that the food aid reform ultimately provides. Furthermore, food security demands a multi-sectoral response. As the food assistance community answers the challenge to provide nutritious food in response to a growing population and amidst increased natural disasters, political unrest or famines, the USWP can help serve as a critical resource. The Partnership can link the knowledge from research institutes, the innovation and technology from the private sector and the implementation expertise from NGOs in various developing countries to improve the water aspects of food aid.
Following Dr. Shah’s remarks, Ms. Johanna Nesseth Tuttle (CSIS) led a discussion with a distinguished panel including Dr. Helene Gayle (CARE), former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mr. Dan Glickman, Mr. Sean Callahan (Catholic Relief Services), and Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) on realistic and political implications of food aid reform
On Thursday, March 22nd, the U.S. Water Partnership hosted a reception and ceremony in celebration of World Water Day and its first anniversary. The ceremony featured remarks from Ambassador Hattie Babbitt, Chair of the U.S. Water Partnership, Robert Bailey, President of the Water Business Group for CH2M Hill, and Lieutenant General Jeffrey Talley, Chief and Commanding General of the Army Reserve and welcomed 14 new members to the partnership.
PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Water Partnership’s (USWP) First Anniversary Celebration
U.S. Army Reserve Chief, Lt. Gen. Talley and CH2M Hill’s Bailey Highlight the Value of the U.S. Water Partnership and New Members & Signature Initiatives Announced: During U.S. Water Partnership First Anniversary Celebration
March 22, 2013, Washington DC – Yesterday, during the U.S. Water Partnership’s (USWP) first anniversary celebration at the National Academy of Sciences, Lt. Gen. Talley, Chief of the U.S. Army Reserve, highlighted the critical nature of water to security issues, and discussed the important value of public private partnerships in improving the skills and expertise of U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers. The USWP was launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last World Water Day. To date, public, private and civil society sector partners have contributed more than $600 million in financial and in-kind resources to build sustainable solutions through the USWP platform.
Lt. Gen. Talley outlined how the USWP will assist in training U.S. Army Reserve units to hone their technical and logistics skills in clean water access project design and implementation, which will help ensure unit readiness and also scale-up innovative dual-use technologies to implement collaborative solutions. “I am pleased to represent America’s Army Reserve this evening and I am eager to begin working with the U.S. Water Partnership, and you, its member organizations, to address global water challenges,” Talley said. “We look forward to working with many of you as we meet our training objectives; improve our technical enabling skills in engineering, medical, civil affairs, and logistics; all while assisting U.S. Water Partnership to promote clean water access to people in the developing world.”
Bob Bailey, President of CH2M Hill Water, also delivered keynote remarks to the approximately 100 member organization representatives and invited guests. “Sustainable management of water, energy and food resources is critical to the future of our global community, economy and environment,” noted Bailey. The consulting, design-build, operations, and program management company employs 28,000 people around the globe, with gross revenue of $7 billion in 2012. “CH2M HILL has a passion for and commitment to solving water resource management challenges around the world. We support the U.S. Water Partnership because we know it takes a holistic approach and collaboration and action from all sectors of society to create a more sustainable world. We are proud to lend our knowledge, resources and skills as a member of the U.S. Water Partnership as we continue to tackle the pressing, intertwined challenges that face everyone who influences or is influenced by the water cycle.”
Ambassador Hattie Babbitt, Chair of the USWP Steering Committee opened the event with brief remarks on the progress the Partnership has made over the past year and outlined the anticipated direction for the Partnership through 2013.
Ambassador Babbitt said; “The resources, skills, and commitments of these new partners will help spur even more tangible action to address global water challenges; action that would likely not have otherwise happened without the enabling platform of the Partnership.” She listed several concrete activities facilitated through the USWP over the past year, including USWP Signature Initiatives, multi- and bi-lateral partner exchanges and study tours between the U.S. and other national government agencies.
New partners recognized by Ambassador Babbitt included: CH2M Hill, the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc., National Heritage Institute, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University, the U.S. Army Reserve, the University of Nebraska Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, the University of South Florida Patel College for Global Sustainability, the University of Texas at Austin Center for Research in Water Resources, Water for People, and Winrock International. The 10 new members bring the total number of USWP partners to 61.
During the event, two new Signature Initiatives were also added to the USWP: 1) The Great Rivers Partnership, proposed by The Nature Conservancy; and 2) the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, proposed by Conservation International and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, together bringing the total number of Signature Initiatives to six. The four original Signature Initiatives include: 1) Multiple Use Services, led by Rockefeller Foundation; 2) Improved WASH Access, led by The Coca-Cola Company; 3) Water Security/Water Risk in South Asia, led by the Skoll Global Threats Fund; and 4) Knowledge Management, led by the Global Environment & Technology Foundation and the U.S. State Department.
Thursday evening’s reception and ceremony kicked-off the USWP’s World Water Day events, which continued into Friday with an all Partners Meeting to discuss further deepening collaboration around projects and initiatives.
For more information on the U.S. Water Partnership, please email Nathan Engle.
The U.S. Water Partnership unites and mobilizes “best of the U.S.” expertise, resources, and ingenuity to address global water challenges with a special focus where needs are greatest. A joint effort of both the public and private sectors in the U.S., the Partnership is supported by more than 60 members including U.S. government agencies, academic organizations, NGOs, water coalitions and the private sector. For more information on the USWP, please visit www.uswaterpartnership.org
World Water Day 2013
World Water Day is held every March 22. Recognized by the United Nations and the global community, World Water Day reminds us that much of the world still faces a global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) crisis, and that it is our urgent obligation to act.
Drought Preparedness as a Stepping Stone for Climate-Resilient Water and Food Systems
The likely intensification of extreme droughts from climate change in many regions across the U.S. and the world has increased interest among water managers, farmers, development practitioners, researchers, and policy makers to understand the extent to which these changes will impact water resources, harvests, incomes, and livelihoods. Many of these same decision makers are also contemplating the most appropriate choices they can make to prevent, respond to, learn from, and adapt to these impacts. The recently released draft U.S. National Climate Assessment and other reports and studies over the past several years present convincing evidence for taking prudent action to prepare our water and food systems for the increasing challenges from drought that lay ahead.
PAHO/WHO calls for international funding of new Haiti cholera plan
Haitian government reveals $2.2 billion blueprint for water and sanitation investments to eliminate cholera transmission over the next 10 years
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 27 February 2013 (PAHO/WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) today called on the international community to provide financing for a new $2.2 billion plan from the Haitian government to eliminate cholera transmission over the next 10 years through major investments in water and sanitation.
PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Water Partnership Salutes Winners of U.S. Water Prize
U.S. WATER PARTNERSHIP SALUTES WINNERS OF U.S. WATER PRIZE
(Washington, D.C.) February 26 - Along the Reflecting Pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the U.S. Water Alliance announced the 2013 winners of the coveted U.S. Water Prize: Onondaga County, NY, for its program to “Save the Rain” and embrace green infrastructure solutions to wet weather problems; The Freshwater Trust for its collaborative market-based solutions to restore and protect rivers and streams; and, MillerCoors for their innovative and comprehensive strategies to protect and conserve water throughout its life cycle. “Our 2013 U.S. Water Prize winners are leading the way, from East to West and all points in between, on the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for one water sustainability,” boasts Alliance President Ben Grumbles. “Our champions are showing how to save the rain, clean the stream, and grow with care, up and down the supply chain throughout the water cycle.”