|New initiative: „Capacity Development to Support National Drought Management Policies“
26 Mar 2013 The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) jointly established a UN-Water Capacity Development Initiative to support National Drought Management Policies … The initiative was launched on March 12, 2013 … Risk based drought management is multifaceted and requires the involvement of a variety of stakeholders, and, from a drought management policy perspective, capacities in diverse ministries and national institutions are needed. Based on the identification of capacity needs from national to local levels, the initiative aims to develop such capacities to enable countries develop pro-active, risk-based drought management policies and overcome prevailing structures of reactive and post-hazard management strategies …
Australian Strategic Policy Institute Special Report Issue 49
Heavy weather: climate and the Australian Defence Force
25 March 2013 … argues that the downstream implications of climate change are forcing Defence to become involved in mitigation and response tasks. Defence’s workload here will increase, so we need a new approach … recommendations including … Defence should work with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to establish an interagency working group on climate change and security … Defence should appoint an adviser to the Chief of the Defence Force on climate issues … Defence should audit its environmental data to determine its relevance for climate scientists and systematically make that data publicly available … Australia should work with like-minded countries in the ‘Five Eyes’ community to share best practice and thinking on how military organisations should best respond to extreme weather events … recommendations aren’t about Defence having a ‘green’ view of the world: they’re about the ADF being well placed to deal with the potential disruptive forces of climate change …
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… it’s important to recognise that Defence won’t be the lead agency on climate change. Its role in climate security is to provide tools and approaches, and collaborate with other agencies, so that climate change doesn’t emerge as a primary military concern. The organisation’s actions should be part of a comprehensive whole‑of‑Australian‑Government approach … Projected regional and domestic climate change impacts mean that the ADF will face new demands and stresses on its force structure, personnel and roles. Climate change will affect where, when, why and how the ADF operates … climate change presents broad challenges to the whole national security community … the ADF will need to form partnerships and collaborate with other agencies, industry and external bodies to respond to the security impacts of climate change, which are almost always indirect … Climate change is transforming the conventional roles of security actors. As a threat multiplier, it has the potential to generate and exacerbate destabilising conditions that could reshape the regional security environment … Climate-induced population displacement, resource wars and the further weakening of fragile states are some of the potential consequences of a changing climate. It’s possible that dissatisfaction with government actions to mitigate climate change, while so far limited to the urban educated population, could contribute to domestic and regional instability. All this could see an increase in the ADF’s involvement in regional stabilisation missions. Defence will also need to plan more for its role in domestic disaster response missions … Greater cooperation with regional states on climate risks will be beneficial. The current Defence Cooperation Program should be expanded to include resilience support in states experiencing the effects of climate change. Defence’s expertise in logistics, engineering, hydrology and energy planning could be leveraged here. Neighbouring states may request an increase in Defence assistance to cope with the effects of climate change … ADF may be called on to help relocate villages or reinforce coastal infrastructure such as airports and ports … Climate change will present real opportunities for regional militaries to unite to deal with a common problem. Developing strategic partnerships with regional defence forces to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and contributing to joint capacity-building efforts, will enhance regional security … Australia should become more involved in the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team operated by US Pacific Command (PACOM), which facilitates planning and education for natural disasters and humanitarian risks across the Asia–Pacific region … In the coming decades, the ADF is likely to witness an increase in the number of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) missions … HA/DR roles will be attractive: they normally last weeks or months, rather than years or decades. Current Defence procurements, such as the helicopter landing dock (LHD) craft and C-17s, will increase HA/DR capabilities in the ADF … With a renewed US focus on the Asia–Pacific, HA/DR missions can be used as a means to maintain military readiness, exercise capabilities in a non-threatening manner, and build partnerships and regional trust. HA/DR can serve to strengthen allied interoperability … The ADF will need to integrate up-to-date scientific research into capability planning and assessments, and encourage design solutions for military capabilities to withstand tougher environmental conditions … Being involved in the gathering of environmental intelligence will help the ADF to map potential scenarios and cascading impacts brought about by climate change, and assist Defence to better formulate appropriate responses … Training and preparing Defence personnel to operate in changing and more extreme environments will become increasingly important as climate change affects the Asia–Pacific region … Changes to operating environments will test the resilience and endurance of ADF personnel, who may face more frequent deployments to disaster-prone regions, leaving reserves for domestic disaster relief efforts. The demand on the ADF’s human capabilities may stretch forces beyond optimal performance ranges … Defence should work with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to establish an interagency working group on climate change and security …
Facts & figures on water cooperation: An increasing demand
– Global population growth projections of 2–3 billion people over the next 40 years, combined with changing diets, result in a predicted increase in food demand of 70% by 2050.
– With expected increases in population, by 2030, food demand is predicted to increase by 50% (70% by 2050) (Bruinsma, 2009), while energy demand from hydropower and other renewable energy resources will rise by 60% (WWAP, 2009). These issues are interconnected – increasing agricultural output, for example, will substantially increase both water and energy consumption, leading to increased competition for water between water-using sectors.
– Water availability is expected to decrease in many regions. Yet future global agricultural water consumption alone is estimated to increase by ~19% by 2050, and will be even greater in the absence of any technological progress or policy intervention.
– Water for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest pressures on freshwater resources. Agriculture accounts for ~70% of global freshwater withdrawals (up to 90% in some fast-growing economies).
– Shifting diets from predominantly starch-based to meat and dairy require more water. Producing 1 kg of rice, for example, requires ~3,500 L of water, 1 kg of beef ~15,000 L, (Hoekstra and Chapagain, 2008). This dietary shift is the greatest to impact on water consumption over the past 30 years, and is likely to continue well into the middle of the twenty-first century (FAO, 2006).
Water e-Newsletter: www.unesco.org
Kazakh Foreign Minister: Water problem in Central Asia remains one of the most pressing issues
29 March 2013 … „Effective solutions have not been found for many years. Leaders in the region are looking for a formula to solve the problem,“ Idrisov said on the … meeting of foreign ministers of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue member countries … this issue was raised directly during his meeting with Tajik President … as well as with the ministers. „It’s no secret that the construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power plant is one of the important issues on the agenda … Idrisov said … that in dealing with controversial issues on the use of trans-boundary water resources, it is important to adhere to international norms and concepts which stipulate that the rights of countries that lie in the upper and lower reservoirs are equal. „The states in the upper waters should not violate the rights and economic interests of the states located in the lower waters and vice versa …“
Facts & figures on water cooperation: A resource without borders
– Water is not confined to political borders. An estimated 148 states have international basins within their territory, and there are 276 transboundary river basins in the world.
– There are numerous examples where transboundary waters have proved to be a source of cooperation. Nearly 450 agreements on international waters were signed between 1820 and 2007 (OSU, 2007).
– Yet 60% of the world’s 276 international river basins lack any type of cooperative management framework (De Stefano et al., 2010).
– Most rich nations are maintaining or increasing their consumption of natural resources (WWF, 2010), but are exporting their footprints to producer, and typically, poorer, nations. European and North American populations consume a considerable amount of virtual water embedded in imported food and products.
– The Russian Federation shares 30 transboundary river basins with riparian countries, Chile and United States 19, Argentina and China 18, Canada 15, Guinea 14, Guatemala 13, and France ten.
– The Danube River Basin is the „most shared“, with 18 countries sharing this transboundary river basin.
Water e-Newsletter: www.unesco.org
Salehi: Iran to start constructing hydropower plant in Tajikistan
29 March 2013 Iran will soon start constructing Ayni hydroelectric power station on the Zarafshan River in Tajikistan, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said … The agreement between the two countries to build the Ayni hydroelectric power station was reached in 2010, and a memorandum of understanding for the project signed a year later. Iranian experts had previously developed a feasibility study for the project. The HPP’s capacity will be 240 megawatts. Previously, Sangtuda-2 was built with the assistance of Iran on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan. Its launch at full capacity is scheduled for this week.
China’s Massive Water Problem
March 28, 2013 This month, a hundred years after the completion of the Panama Canal, China is expected to finish the first phase of its gigantic South-North Water Transfer Project, known in Chinese as Nanshui beidiao gongcheng — literally, “to divert southern water north.” The phrase evokes the suggestion, attributed to Mao, that “since the south has a great deal of water, and the north very little, we should borrow some of it.” In realizing Mao’s dream of moving huge quantities of water from areas of plenty to those of want, Beijing is building a modern marvel, this century’s equivalent of the Panama Canal. But whereas the canal inaugurated a century of faith in the ability of human ingenuity to reshape the natural world, the South-North Water Transfer Project is a testament to the limits of engineering solutions to problems of basic environmental scarcity. China is one of the most water-rich countries in the world. But as Mao observed, its water resources are unevenly distributed and overwhelmingly concentrated in the south and far west. Water scarcity has always been a problem for northern China, but shortages have reached crisis levels as a result of rapid economic development … Rather than face the political challenge of allocating water resources among these competing interests, Beijing has placed its faith in monumental feats of engineering to slake the north’s growing thirst … Ultimately, China needs significant political reform to meet the challenge of water scarcity. In order to make difficult decisions about who gets how much water, the country needs robust, transparent and participatory decision-making mechanisms. Moreover, in order to make policy ideas like water-rights reform work, the legal system and the rule of law must be strengthened. Finally, Beijing needs to stop relying on technology to avoid making hard choices about scarce resources … http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/opinion/global/chinas-massive-water-problem.html?_r=0
Reclaimed water project expands to University of Texas …
27 Mar 2013 … Austin Water’s Reclaimed Water Program is designed to find ways to use treated wastewater, instead of drinking water, for things like landscaping and chilling stations. The city, which has built the system from scratch, installed a new water storage tower … and new purple pipes … The distinct color sets them apart from the other water utilities. Chilling station No. 5 on the UT grounds, a facility that keeps campus buildings cool, is a final destination for some of the reclaimed water … The university hopes to save more than 70 million gallons of potable water each year … The project doesn’t stop at the university either. The Capitol Complex main is in the early design phase and will construct pipes that will stretch from the UT campus to downtown. Other reclaimed water sites are finished or underway across the city … Right now, Austin uses more than 1.5 billion gallons of reclaimed water every year. In the future, Austin Water plans to expand that to more than 8.5 billion gallons. That will free up enough tap water to serve more than 25,000 homes, and help the city conserve more water over time …
California water math
2013 Mar 26 California is in the midst of making a 50-year decision: Whether to build an enormous new water project to move water from the Sacramento River around the delta to the state and federal pumps in the south delta to serve cities and farms in the Bay Area and Southern California. The decision process is seven years in the making, with the final decision expected sometime next year … State documents relating to the water project, which is called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, suggest that the 20-year average is 5.3 million acre feet. State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said earlier this month when the first four chapters of the draft plan were released to the public, that deliveries could reduced by 10 percent or increased by 5 percent of the 20-year average … http://blog.sfgate.com/opinionshop/2013/03/26/california-water-math/
China’s electricity industry faces severe water shortages and that could be good news for the environment
March 25, 2013 For those keeping track of China’s looming environmental apocalypse, here’s another thing to worry about: The nation’s coal-fired power plants face severe water shortages that could disrupt their operations—and the economy—in the years ahead. Coal supplies nearly 80% of China’s electricity and has fueled the country’s economic boom. But thermal power plants need water to generate steam and cool their operations. Yet 85% of China’s generating capacity is located in “water-stressed” regions, according to a report … And 60% of China’s electricity is produced in northern China, which has just 20% of the country’s freshwater supplies … It’s not just a Chinese problem. As climate change-driven droughts increase in frequency and severity, nuclear power plants in the US have had to cut electricity production. And during a heat wave last August, an 800-megawatt nuclear reactor in Connecticut shut down temporarily because the water it draws on became too warm. Coal-fired power plants and coal mining suck up 15% of China’s freshwater supplies … And about 17% of power plants don’t recycle the water they use but continuously draw from rivers and other bodies of fresh water, degrading water quality and harming fish and other aquatic life.
Bloomberg estimates that it would cost China’s utilities $20 billion to install more water-efficient technologies …
Australian Water Trade Rises to A$1.6 Billion on Higher Rainfall
Mar 25, 2013 The value of water trading in Australia rose 6.7 percent in the year ended June amid above- average rainfall in the eastern part of the country, according to the National Water Commission. The estimated value of the Australian water market increased to A$1.6 billion ($1.67 billion) in 2011-2012, from A$1.5 billion a year earlier, the Canberra-based commission said today in a statement. Trading in water allocations and entitlements rose 23 percent and 10 percent respectively. “In a second consecutive year of well-above average rainfall in eastern Australia, growth in both the allocation and entitlement volumes traded has shown that even when it is wet, irrigators are still seeking to buy and sell water” … Water trading in Australia continued to be concentrated in the Murray–Darling Basin, which accounted for 85 percent of entitlement trade and 98 percent of allocation trade …
What Drought? Just Don’t Tread on Our Green Grass
March 23, 2013 In big Texas cities, the state’s water shortage can seem like someone else’s problem. Drought has been in the news a long time, but rates haven’t gone up. Water still comes out when you turn on the tap. The golf courses are still green, and so are the lawns. Some places do have restrictions; the state keeps a long list of them. El Paso residents pay fines if the sprinklers in their front yards accidentally water the streets. Austin restricts watering to one or two days per week, depending on the level of concern over water at any given time. West Texas towns and cities operate at high levels of alert, and one medium-size city, Wichita Falls, is on a list of cities that could run out of water this year. In the suburbs, where a lot of voters live in houses encircled by grass, and where that grass is sometimes a measure of how well or how poorly the Joneses are doing, water restrictions are a touchy subject …
Developing water and sanitation for a better future
23 Mar 2013 … Addressing the water and sanitation crisis is more than just charity, it is an opportunity … In January, the World Economic Forum declared water the second biggest risk the world faces today – ahead of weapons of mass destruction and food shortages. For some businesses this did not come as a surprise, since they were already addressing the many issues around water management, scarcity and access that threaten their future prospects. From HSBC to Unilever, Coca-Cola to Diageo, major international companies are developing water projects as they recognise the value of investing in water … Water has the power to enhance life; it also has the power to destroy it. It is among the world’s most prolific killers … At any given time, half of all hospital beds in developing countries are filled with people suffering from water-related diseases … It is estimated that a lack of safe water and adequate toilets costs Africa 5 percent of its GDP a year … According to the World Health Organisation, every $1 invested in water infrastructure produces an average of $4 in increased productivity … Because it touches on virtually every aspect of development, water and sanitation must be an essential part of this discussion. It will not be possible to make progress in eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and securing sustainable economic development without improving access to these services …
Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik: Sicherheitsrisiko Klimawandel – was können wir tun?
… Umwelt- und Klimaproblem werden zusehends zu unmittelbaren Sicherheitsbedrohungen für viele Staaten der Welt … mahnte der Naturwissenschaftler (Physiker und Biologe) und ehemalige SPD-Bundestagsabgeordnete Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker. In seinem Vortrag an der Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik am 11. März hat er sich mit der Sicherheitsbedrohung befasst, die aufgrund von Umweltverschmutzung, Raubbau an der Natur und Klimawandel entsteht … Von Weizsäcker fordert vor allem globales Umdenken … Doch nicht alle jüngeren Öko-Überlegungen teilt von Weizsäcker: „Flächendeckende Solarzellenfelder, Windmühlenparks und Strom aus Alpenseen sind keine Lösung. Und der Ausbau von Maisfeldern zur Gewinnung von Öko-Energie hat dazu geführt, dass die Vogelvielfalt in Deutschland signifikant abgenommen hat. Es ist ein ökologischer Albtraum, wenn wir die erneuerbare Energie ausbauen.“ Vielmehr wünscht er sich „eine technische Revolution zum Nutzen der Natur“ und empfiehlt, neben seinem „Effizienzprinzip“ (Faktor Fünf) neue Forschungswege einzuschlagen. Auch glaubt der Wissenschaftler, dass „steigender Wohlstand und eine zunehmende Urbanisierung die besten Kräfte zur Bevölkerungsreduzierung sind“. Und eine geringere Erdbevölkerung verbrauche weniger Energie, so seine Logik … Einen zweiten Schwerpunkt seiner Überlegungen bildete ein Werben für das „Zusammengehen Europas mit China“. Von Weizsäcker, der kurz zuvor in Schanghai den neuen Staatsführer Chinas, Xi Jinping, beraten hatte, sieht in der Volksrepublik einen Staat, der bereit ist, ökologisch und ökonomisch umzudenken, „im Gegensatz zu den USA“ … Weil die USA den herkömmlichen Erdöl-Weg fortsetzen, zählen sie für von Weizsäcker zu den Verlierern der Zukunft. „Ich aber will eine Allianz der Gewinnerländer. Wenn Europa die Euro-Krise meistert und die neue Fortschrittsrichtung (im Sinne von Faktor Fünf) entschlossen vertritt, sind wir zusammen mit Ostasien die Pioniere mit den entsprechenden Gewinnen“, prognostizierte von Weizsäcker. „Mit dem Aufbau eines friedlichen Eurasiens haben wir dann das Beste für die Sicherheit erreicht.“
Neues BMZ-Konzept „Entwicklung für Frieden und Sicherheit:
Entwicklungspolitisches Engagement im Kontext von Konflikt, Fragilität und Gewalt“
J.B.: Strategiepapier? Großes Wort, wenn z.B. gerade Wasser als zentrales Querschnittthema völlig unterrepräsentiert und damit auch unterbewertet ist. Wirkt eher als Selbstdarstellungpapier der Leitung und Claimabsteckung in den Zuständigkeiten (auch ggü. dem AA und dem BMWi). Das Kapitel: Ziele und Handlungsfelder wenig konkret, und nicht wirklich innovativ, auch weil Querschnittsthemen, die besondere Zugänge in der Krisenprävention + nachsorge eröffnen können, nicht extra herausgestellt werden. Also: schon in sich nicht „comprehensive“ und es verfehlt so den Eigen-Anspruch nach „Verzahnter Entwicklungspolitik“ in der PM der Bundesregierung … Damit bleibt es leider hinter dem Diskussionsstand in der wissenschaftlichen + internationalen Community zurück … aber sehr hübsches Foto der Ressortleitung gleich auf der ersten Innenseite …
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