Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bring water into climate negotiations

IPS: Longer periods of drought, decreased river flow, higher rainfall variability and lower soil moisture content: water is at the heart of the impacts of climate change. Yet the precious commodity scarcely features in climate negotiations. Three hundred million Africans lack access to clean water; 500 million lack access to proper sanitation, according to Bai-Mass Taal, Executive Secretary from the African Ministers’ Council on Water.

"Lack of water security will be exacerbated by climate change, which directly threatens food security," says Dr Ania Grobicki, head of the Global Water Partnership (GWP). Yet there is no focus on water in climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"There is no United Nations agency for water, and there's no international convention regulating water resource management and there is no water focus under the UNFCCC," says Grobicki. "Water also evaporated from the text of the Copenhagen Accord."

Grobicki and her colleagues argue for a focus on adaptation measures on the ground. Rehabilitation and maintenance of existing infrastructure is one place to start. "With our local partners, we cleaned up a water course that was polluted by waste water from a sugar cane plantation in Swaziland," says Alex Simalabwi from GWP's Partnership for Africa's Water Development project. "As a result 10,000 smallholder farmers have access to clean water."

Burkina Faso, where 80 percent of the population depends on agriculture for a living, has invested in the construction of more than 1,500 small dams since 1998. These reservoirs - built at relatively low-cost, often with local communities contributing labour to their construction - are a vital protection against drought.

Most African agriculture is rain-fed, says Grobicki. "As climate variability increases and temperatures rise, water security drops radically. Dams ensure water is available throughout the year."…

A lake drying up in Burkina Faso, shot by Martin Wegmann, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

1 comment:

snoring solutions said...

I read your post and understand the problem of African's.Grobicki and her colleagues do a great job and this is very helpful and useful to the African's.Thanks for your greatfull job.I appreciate your work.