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World on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine

News release

Geneva  31 July 2015 - Results from an interim analysis of the Guinea Phase III efficacy vaccine trial show that VSV-EBOV (Merck, Sharp & Dohme) is highly effective against Ebola. The independent body of international experts - the Data and Safety Monitoring Board – that conducted the review, advised that the trial should continue. Preliminary results from analyses of these interim data are published today in the British journal The Lancet.

“This is an extremely promising development,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “The credit goes to the Guinean Government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks.”

Fears Grow for Indigenous People in Path of Massive Ethiopian Dam

By Chalachew Tadesse

Lake Turkana believed to beLake Turkana, believed to be four million years old, has been called “the Cradle of Mankind”. The Kwegu people living around it are under threat from the massive Gibe III Dam project, one of Africa’s largest hydropower projects. Credit: CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia CommonsA United Nations mission is due to take place to assess the impact of Ethiopia’s massive Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric power project on the Omo River which feeds Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, lying mostly in northwest Kenya with its northern tip extending into Ethiopia.

The report of the visit by a delegation from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from Ethiopia’s state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) comes amid warnings by Survival International that the Kwegu people of southwest Ethiopia are facing severe hunger due to the destruction of surrounding forests and the drying up of the river on which their livelihoods depend.

Chlorine use in sewage treatment could promote antibiotic resistance

Graduate student Nicole Kennedy measures theGraduate student Nicole Kennedy measures the antibiotic activity of various samples in the lab. Credit: Olya KeenChlorine, a disinfectant commonly used in most wastewater treatment plants, may be failing to completely eliminate pharmaceuticals from wastes. As a result, trace levels of these substances get discharged from the plants to the nation’s waterways.

And now, scientists are reporting preliminary studies that show chlorine treatment may encourage the formation of new, unknown antibiotics that could also enter the Figure 1, per WSSC: Water main breaks are expected to increase dramatically in the near future. Graduate student Nicole Kennedy measures the antibiotic activity of various samples in the lab. Credit: Olya Keen environment, potentially contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. problem of antibiotic resistance.

U.N. Chief Backs New Int’l Decade for Water for Sustainable Development

By Thalif Deen

Floods in Morigaon India submerged about 45 roads in October 2014Floods in Morigaon, India submerged about 45 roads in October 2014. Most people wade through the water, believing this is quicker than waiting for a rickety boat to transport them across. Credit: Priyanka Borpujari/IPSAs the United Nations continues its negotiations to both define and refine a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before a summit meeting of world leaders in September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for a new “International Decade for Water for Sustainable Development.” “It would complement and support the achievement of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals – for water,” he said.

“A dedicated Sustainable Development Goal, explicitly addressing the multifaceted nature of water - as a social issue, an economic issue, an environmental issue, as well as the main cause of disasters on our planet – is an imperative.” Torgny Holmgren.

The Africa Sustainability Hub launched

Prof. Judi WakhunguProf. Judi Wakhungu. Credit: HeinrichBöll-Stiftung / FlickNew research hub gathers talent from across Africa to work on low carbon economic development and innovation from and for Africa

On 10 June 2015, the Africa Sustainability Hub was launched in Nairobi, Kenya. The hub is part of the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium, which is a group of six global research hubs located in South Asia, China, Europe, Latin America, North America, and now Africa, to tackle sustainability challenges facing the world. The Africa Sustainability Hub will bring together researchers from across the continent to work collaboratively on research promoting pro-poor low carbon economic development.

World´s Large Rivers Initiative kicks off in Vienna

A Two capital cities on opposite banks of the Congo River Brazzaville on the north© NASA Two capital cities on opposite banks of the Congo River: Brazzaville on the north side, and Kinshasa on the south side.The World’s Large Rivers Initiative kicked off recently with the first meeting of its working group, at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

Led by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP), this international initiative was created in response to threats and pressures on the world’s large river basins. It aims to analyze the state and future development of these vital systems, assess future trends, identify and test adaptation and mitigation strategies, and develop innovative strategies based on best practices for their sustainable management.

In the Niger Basin, Countries Collaborate on Hydropower, Irrigation and Improved Water Resource Management

Dominic Chavez World BankDominic Chavez/World BankThe Niger River is one of the few perennial sources of water in the arid and semi-arid lands of Africa’s Sahel region. For thousands of years, the river has supported communities of farmers, cattle grazers, and fishermen.

Today, the Niger Basin is one of the most fragile developing regions of the world, by any measure. Seven of the basin’s 10 countries are among the world’s poorest 20, with Niger having the lowest Human Development Index in the world. The threats of food insecurity and climate change are compounded by civil unrest, terrorism, and the Ebola crisis, all of which feed the vicious cycle of rural poverty and insecurity in the region.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2