news in brief

UN: $4.4bn needed to prevent ‘catastrophe’ of famine

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UN chief Antonio Guterres says more than 20 million people face starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen The United Nations needs $4.4bn by the end of March 2017 to prevent “a catastrophe” of hunger and famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, according to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

More than 20 million people face starvation in the four countries and action is needed now to avert a humanitarian disaster, Guterres told a news conference at UN headquarters on Wednesday the 22 February. “We need $4.4 billion by the end of March to avert a catastrophe,” he said.

Uranium Contaminates Montana Water System

36Image credit: “35/365,” Krystian Olszanski © 2010By Sara Jerome

A water system in Montana that has been plagued with chronic water problems recently warned residents about uranium contamination. “The town of Whitehall has had problems with its water for close to a year. Last year it was E. coli contamination, now it’s too much uranium. Officials sent several notices to residents about the water being contaminated,” NBC Montana reported.

“This is the fourth time Whitehall has gotten dinged by the [state] for having uranium rates over the drinking water limit in its water supply. The problem began in early fall 2015,” the Independent Record reported.

Vanuatu makes progress towards joining the Ramsar Convention

A field trip to wetlands on Efate Island with Donna Kalfatak,the Principal Biodiversity and Conservation Officer at the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Roger JaenschA field trip to wetlands on Efate Island with Donna Kalfatak,the Principal Biodiversity and Conservation Officer at the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Roger JaenschThe Ramsar Regional Officer for Oceania, Solongo Khurelbaatar, visited Vanuatu from 23 to 27 of January to discuss the country’s accession to the Ramsar Convention and the way forward as well as to provide technical support in filling out the Ramsar Information Sheet for Lake Letas. The Lake Letas, a crater lake in the centre of the volcanic island of Gaua in northern Vanuatu, is poised to become the country’s first Wetland of International Importance (‘Ramsar Site’) when Vanuatu joins the Convention.

With financial support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, a local non-governmental organization named “Ecolifelihood Development Association” is implementing a small grant project to support the listing of the Lake Letas as a Ramsar Site and raise awareness of threats to the lake’s ecology.

Veolia to build drinking water network in Sri Lanka

Veolia business development director Mark ElliotVeolia business development director Mark ElliotVeolia has won a E156 million ($164 million) contract to design and build a water treatment and conveyance network supplying potable water to 350,000 people in the Greater Matale region of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan National Water Supply and Drainage Board appointed Veolia subsidiary OTV to project manage the construction of five new water treatment plants, 12 service reservoirs, five pumping stations, and 433 kilometres of transmission and distribution pipeline. Veolia subsidiary SADE will act as subcontractor to design and build the pipeline.

Greater Matale region is in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, about 150 kilometres outside of the capital city Colombo, and is predominantly agricultural.

World Water Council granted UNFCCC observer status

33The World Water Council has been officially granted observer status to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the 22nd Conference of Parties (CoP). This new status will enable the Council to engage more substantially with the climate negotiation processes and strengthen its efforts in raising visibility for water within the climate debate.

Ever since the formulation of the World Water Vision in 1998–2000, climate change has been a pivotal issue for the Council, as manifested through the launch of many multistakeholder dialogues and publications in particular since CoP15. Thanks to a close partnership with the French and Moroccan Governments, the Council co-facilitated the first ever Water Action Day as part of the Global Climate Action Agenda during CoP22 last November in Morocco.

 

                           


            

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