Water, sanitation loom behind food, energy and climate change

The World Water Week in Stockholm (watch related videos) concluded with 2400 scientists, leaders from governments and civil society declaring that slow progress on sanitation will cause the world to badly fail the Millennium Development Goals while weak policy, poor management, increasing waste and exploding water demands are pushing the planet towards the tipping point of global water crisis...

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 22, 2008 -- The World Water Week in Stockholm (watch related videos) concluded with 2400 scientists, leaders from governments and civil society declaring that slow progress on sanitation will cause the world to badly fail the Millennium Development Goals while weak policy, poor management, increasing waste and exploding water demands are pushing the planet towards the tipping point of global water crisis.

Action is crucial, stakes are high and time is running out were key messages coming from the World Water Week in Stockholm. Sanitation and hygiene, climate, water management, ecosystems and business issues were prominent program focal points throughout the week. SIWI itself released new research that showed half of food is lost after it is produced and called for governments and individuals around the world to reduce by half the amount of food that is lost to ease pressure on water and land resources (read "Water, energy and food in Stockholm").

The World Water Week, which included 200 co-convening organizations, witnessed the launch of a number of new and groundbreaking studies, reports and initiatives designed to improve a global situation where billions of people are without sustainable access to safe drinking water or suffering ill health due to poor sanitation, where bio-energy demands are diverting water from food production, and where global climate change is shaking the overall water balance.

Preliminary conclusions taken from the week written by subject experts following the key themes of Sanitation, Water Resources Management, Climate, Environment and Ecosystems, Transboundary Waters, are available on the World Water Week website.

Some of the studies, reports, initiatives and announcements made during the week included:
• SIWI, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) released the report, "Saving Water: From Field to Fork - Curbing Losses and Wastage in the Food Chain."
• The Asia Development Bank, International Water Association and USAID signed a collaboration agreement entitled "Waterlinks" in Stockholm to collaborate on Water Operation Partnerships initiatives in Asia.
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented "The IPCC Technical Report on Water and Climate."
• World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched 4 new reports (1) UK Water Footprint: the effect our consumption has on water resources, (2) Everything you need to know about the UN Watercourses Convention, (3) Water for life: Lessons for climate change adaptation from better, management of rivers for people and nature, (4) Adapting freshwater to a changing climate.
• Borealis & Borouge and Uponor launched the first water footprint initiative in the water sector.
• ITT and Water For People unveiled new partnership called ITT Watermark to provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education in schools.
• WaterAid presented the findings of its latest research from Madagascar and Zambia on how the aid system can better respond to public health imperatives and get the MDG for child mortality back on track.
• The Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) launched the handbook "Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) and Sanitation in Development Countries."
• The Japan Water Forum in collaboration with the Water Web Alliance launched a renewal version of the "World Sanitation Project Map" on Google Map/Earth.

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