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Assessment of transboundary freshwater vulnerability in Africa to climate change

Managing the freshwater impacts of climate change in Africa is as much a political and development challenge as a technical climate change challenge. Even without climate change, many of Africa’s water resources are facing overuse, pollution, and degradation. Poor land-use practices are contributed to this process. Large numbers of people living in poverty in rural and informal urban areas are already vulnerable to water-related risks, whether floods, droughts, poor water quality, or increasing water scarcity. The status of water resources in Africa has been changing for many decades, whether through decreasing water quality, lowered groundwater, more or less rainfall, and changed timing of rainfall. Change is not new. Climate change, however, will profoundly accelerate the rate of change, affecting the ability of people and societies to respond in a timely manner. The rate of change is compounded by uncertainty of the impacts of climate change. While there are a number of models that attempt to predict the impacts of climate change, many of these are at a very coarse scale and do not predict localised impacts, which may differ from the generalised picture. At the same time, different models predict different climate change trends in the same areas, some, for example, predicting an increase in rainfall, while others predict a decrease in rainfall. Managing for high rates of change in a context of uncertainty is thus what is demanded of African governments.

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Building urban resilience: assessing urban and peri-urban agriculture in Dakar, Senegal

This report presents the findings of a knowledge assessment on urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) for the city of Dakar, Senegal, that was conducted in 2012. It examines the state of UPA in the city through the lens of intensifying urban pressures and increasing climate risks with the objective of identifying how these and other drivers potentially interact to affect the long-term sustainability of UPA, and what response options are needed to address existing and emerging challenges.

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Guidelines for integrated environmental assessment of urban areas

Planning and management for sustainable development require an understanding of the linkages between environmental conditions and human activities and encourage participation by all sectors of society in decision-making. This publication is a useful tool that will help strengthen institutional capacity to prepare environmental assessments and comprehensive reports on cities in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

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A post-2015 global goal for water: synthesis of key findings and recommendations from UN-Water

In a one-year-long expert consultation process, UN-Water’s 31 Members from the United Nations system and 36 international Partners have come together to analyze what role water could have in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The result is a consolidated technical advice from the UN system to Member States to prioritize water through a dedicated global goal with five interlinked targets. The proposed goal builds on and extends existing commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals and the priorities agreed at Rio+20. Its overall framework universally applicable but responds to particular national circumstances.

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Coordination of water actions at the country level

This report analyses water related coordination mechanisms in 13 countries representing differing humanitarian and development situations and geographic locations. The information collected has been supplemented by selected case studies on coordination provided by UN-Water Members and Partners and an examination of the literature on coordination mechanisms of government for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and water resources management. A previous report on 5 countries from the Task Force in 2008 also contributed significantly to an understanding of coordination mechanisms.

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Water and sustainable development: from vision to action

This report of the 2015 UN-Water Zargoza Conference is compiled by the United Nations Office to support the International Decade for Action, 'Water for Life' 2005-2015. It includes the views of different stakeholders (Civil Society, Business, Academia, Governments and Global actors) about their role and their views about each others roles in the implementation of the water-related SDGs.

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Eliminating discrimination and inequalities in access to water and sanitation

Patterns of marginalisation and exclusion are present all over the world, with stark and persisting inequalities in access to water and sanitation. Progress made in the water and sanitation sector does not always benefit those who are most in need of these services, in particular the poorest, people living in informal settlements and/or people marginalised on the basis of gender and other grounds. This policy brief aims to provide guidance on non-discrimination and equality in the context of access to drinking water and sanitation, with a particular focus on women and girls. It also informs readers on the duty of States and responsibilities of non-State actors in this regard.

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Compendium of water quality regulatory frameworks: which water for which use?

Water quality issues are complex and dynamic in nature and need urgent attention and action. Improving efficiency of water use requires regulatory frameworks that better reflect how different water uses require different water qualities, such as water from industrial processes being reused in agriculture. Drafting regulatory instruments to better manage water qualities that are ‘fit for purpose’ can benefit from the wide range of standards and guidelines currently available. The Compendium contains a selection of recent water quality guidelines and standards for different uses. The immediate target group is public officials and regulators – decision makers at large.

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2016 UN World Water Development Report: water and jobs

Three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come, according to the 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report: water and jobs, which was launched on 22 March, World Water Day, in Geneva. From its collection, through various uses, to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is a key factor in the development of job opportunities either directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, waste water treatment, etc.) or in economic sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health. Furthermore, good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth. In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. It also highlights the key role of water in the transition to a green economy.

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Regional coordination mechanisms for water

This report from the UN-Water Task Force on Regional-Level Coordination aims to identify regional coordination mechanism for water in the pursuit of improving and scaling up coordinated UN actions in water-related areas at the regional level.

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Water and sanitation interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This UN-Water Analytical Brief analyses the central role of water and sanitation to describe the links and interdependencies between the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation and those of other Goals. It aims to stimulate United Nations Member States’ consideration of the water-related linkages within the Goals to facilitate an integrated approach to implementation. The Brief highlights the importance of mainstreaming water and sanitation in the policies and plans of other sectors, and how the management of interlinkages supports the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Towards a worldwide assessment of freshwater quality

The world is facing a water quality challenge. Serious and increasing pollution of fresh water in both developing and developed countries poses a growing risk to public health, food security, biodiversity and other ecosystem services. Pollution is strongly linked to economic development – with population growth and the expansion of agriculture, industry and energy production all in turn producing wastewater, much of which goes into surface and groundwater bodies uncontrolled or untreated. Despite recent preliminary assessments of the current worldwide water quality situation, the magnitude of the challenge is still unknown. Better information is required on where the issues lie and what is needed to effectively and efficiently take action to protect and improve water quality. This Analytical Brief provides information about past assessments, outlines the challenge but also provides a plan for a world water quality assessment, which, if undertaken, would provide decision makers with the information they need to address this challenge. The Analytical Brief also explores the strong linkages between water quality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 6, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” includes a specific target (6.3) dedicated to water quality. Central questions include: ‘how can the water quality target be achieved?’; ‘How will worsening water pollution affect SDGs for health, food security, and biodiversity, among others?’; Or, conversely, ‘how can actions to protect and enhance water quality help meet other SDGs?’.

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Promoting livelihoods to build the self-reliance of urban refugees in Nairobi

The majority of the urban poor in Nairobi, including asylum seekers and refugees, find employment and self-employment opportunities in the highly competitive informal sector. Poor regulation, poor physical infrastructure and limited access to institutionalized business support services, limit the viability of the informal sector. Those without specialized skills or capital to start a business earn daily wages as casual labourers or as low-level employees. For asylum seekers and refugees the odds are worse, encumbered by a lengthy asylum seeking process, limited engagement with local administrative authorities which deprives them of critical protection and support, and a business community hesitant to engage them as a potential market. Without ownership of fixed assets those seeking to start or grow a business fail to meet the collateral requirements to access business loans. The March 2012 livelihoods baseline indicates that food alone comprises between 45 percent and 55 percent of monthly costs for the very poor. After spending on food and housing, very little remains for other essentials. Additional expenditure on limited health care, hygiene, energy and water deplete the modest monthly wage. UNHCR and the urban refugee’s livelihoods working group are implementing livelihoods projects targeting refugees and Kenyans. With limited funding and experience the UNHCR chaired urban refugee’s livelihoods working group is implementing a range of livelihood support projects. To improve the effectiveness of current livelihoods programming resources are required to build partner technical capacity in designing, implementing, and monitoring and evaluating interventions, institutionalizing the use of best practices and models that are proven to work, and scaling up to reach more beneficiaries.

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Who will be accountable? Human rights and the post-2015 development agenda

This publication is intended to help fill some of the more pressing accountability gaps that impede the realization of global and national development goals. We approach this challenge from the perspective of human rights, as a universal normative and legally binding framework embodying the minimum requirements of a dignified life, encapsulating universal values that a post-2015 agreement should strive to prioritize and protect as well as essential features of a road map to take us there.

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Protecting people through nature: natural World Heritage sites as drivers of sustainable development

This Dalberg and WWF report shows that natural World Heritage sites support livelihoods for communities, and provide communities with vital protection against the impacts of climate change.

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Meeting our goals: FAO’s programme for gender equality in agriculture and rural development

FAO recognizes the potential of rural women and men in achieving food security and nutrition and is committed to overcoming gender inequality, in line with the pledge to “leave no one behind”, which is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda. The publication illustrates the consistent and sustained work of FAO towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are at the core of the Organization’s work to eliminate hunger and rural poverty. Each chapter highlights the relevance of gender work to achieving the FAO Strategic Objectives, and describes main results achieved, showcasing activities implemented at country and international levels. Stories from the field demonstrate the impact of FAO’s work for beneficiaries, highlighting successes and significant insights gained.

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Learning from each other: South-South and triangular cooperation in East and Southern Africa

South-South and triangular cooperation has an enormous potential role in agriculture and rural development in developing countries, both in unlocking diverse experiences and lessons and in providing solutions to pressing development challenges. From the cases in this publication, a number of common lessons emerge. Meanwhile, the importance of adaptation also emerged from these documented cases. Inspiring examples in other regions or countries encourage people to take up certain approaches, but they can almost never be copied exactly into any new context.

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Changing lives through IFAD water investments: a gender perspective

This study was designed by IFAD in order to contribute to the knowledge about the relationship between gender, water investment and time saving. It is also intended to contribute to gender mainstreaming in IFAD’s water projects. The focus of the study is to see how much time women and men gain when they have improved access to sources of water and to establish what individuals, particularly women, do with the time they save by not having to walk long distances in search of water. The study further aims to discover to what extent the projects/investments contribute to reducing drudgery and to achieving equitable workloads between men and women. The survey targeted ongoing projects from the five regions in which IFAD operates that were either in their second phase or a mature stage of operation. In each project, one community was covered and 24 households were targeted. The survey successfully covered seven communities and 140 households and was mainly conducted through project officers facilitated by country programme managers or country programme officers.

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Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report 2016. Education for people and planet: creating sustainable futures for all

The Incheon Declaration for Education 2030 has been instrumental to shape the Sustainable Development Goal on Education to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. It entrusts UNESCO with the leadership, coordination and monitoring of the Education 2030 agenda. It also calls upon the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report to provide independent monitoring and reporting of the Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG 4), and on education in the other SDGs, for the next fifteen years. The ultimate goal of this agenda is to leave no one behind. This calls for robust data and sound monitoring. The 2016 edition of the GEM Report provides valuable insight for governments and policy makers to monitor and accelerate progress towards SDG 4, building on the indicators and targets we have, with equity and inclusion as measures of overall success.

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Pyanj River morphology and flood protection

The Pyanj, on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, is a dynamic river system that has caused considerable damage to life and property in both countries due to flooding and riverbank erosion. Flood management efforts have often been short-lived and expensive to maintain, and have worsened hazards in adjacent areas because of the river’s sudden shifts in channel position, rapid bank erosion, and continual meander growth. This report presents more sustainable approaches to better understand river processes and help anticipate how the river channel will respond to management efforts at the project sites and along nearby reaches.

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River basin management planning in Indonesia: policy and practice

This publication summarizes the strengths, challenges, opportunities, and risks characterizing the prospects for integrated water resources management in Indonesia. Integrated water resources management planning is essential for sustainable growth. Understanding these conditions may provide decision makers with more insight to optimize the country’s water resources potential using available and state-of-the-art methodologies and tools for river basin planning. The publication discusses all aspects of basin planning based on experiences from one of Indonesia’s most complex and strategic river basins.

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Water: securing Bhutan's future

Water has been sculpting Bhutan’s landscape for millennia, flowing down from majestic alpine mountains to the narrow valleys and deep gorges that make up the country’s iconic landscape before spreading out toward the southern plains. Water needs to be managed well, and in an integrated and adaptive way. This kind of management is very challenging because it involves many actors and stakes. Water is not a sector in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a complex fabric—particularly in Bhutan—of interconnections between agriculture, ecology and energy that need to be recognized and managed as a system. This view of water management gives coordination a central role. Bhutan’s framework for integrated water resource management (IWRM) adopts coordination as its core management principle. It builds on a strong Bhutanese tradition of water sharing and collective management, examples of which are illustrated in this book.

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Sanitation and sustainable development in Japan

This publication documents Japan’s experience in pursuing sustainable sanitation solutions in the context of economic development. Five case studies illustrate how sound sanitation policies are essential in achieving a nation’s growth. Produced by ADB in cooperation with Japan Sanitation Consortium, this publication also documents key policies and laws that enable the integration of sewerage systems and wastewater treatment facilities in development plans. It shares learnings on how the sanitation challenge can be met, not only at the community, but also at the national level.

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Agricultural production and groundwater conservation: examples of good practices in Shanxi Province, People’s Republic of China

Climate change and declining water resources threaten food production systems worldwide, increasing the need for efficient agricultural processes. The Shanxi Province in the PRC has been experiencing declining groundwater tables since 1956. This publication provides examples of how ADB’s development support met the rising challenges in water security, food production, and climate change faced by communities in the Shanxi Province. It describes initiatives in four counties in the Shanxi Province selected as pilot areas, where traditional farmers learned modern methods of groundwater use and management. As a result, options for more sustainable use of groundwater were introduced, while farm labor was reduced, crop yields increased, and water was used more efficiently.

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Nature-based solutions for building resilience in towns and cities: case studies from the Greater Mekong Subregion

Urban populations are projected to increase from 54% to 66% of the global population by 2050, with close to 90% of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. Cities and towns—a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions—will need to address challenges posed by climate change. A nature-based approach in identifying climate change vulnerabilities and developing relevant adaptation options was conducted in three towns of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Working with local governments, non-government organizations, women’s groups, and professional associations, town-wide adaptation measures were defined by overlaying climate change projections on town plans and zoning schemes for strategic infrastructure. This publication captures valuable experience and lessons from the project.

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