The Human Impact

Corruption in water sector increases hunger risk – experts

Stamping out corruption in the water sector is crucial to boosting global food production as world population growth increases pressure on water supplies, according to experts meeting at World Water Weekin Stockholm.

Corruption in the water sector is already a major problem for farmers and it’s likely to get worse as competition for water increases, a joint statement released by the Water Integrity Network (WIN), Transparency International and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Water Governance Facility at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.

Governments, businesses and civil society must work together to improve transparency in the water sector, and introduce better checks and balances to counter corruption and nepotism, the statement said.

“It’s about raising awareness, pushing and talking about it – that makes a difference” WIN research coordinator Binayak Das told TrustLaw.

“This creates a sense of accountability – if the information is out there it’s difficult to be more corrupt.”

Abuzz over malaria on World Mosquito Day


Handout picture shows tea party held in British doctor Ronald Ross’s honour at the Ross Institute on Aug. 20, 1931. ALERTNET/Handout/LSHTM

Each year on Aug. 20 the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) celebrates Mosquito Day to honour the date in 1897 when British doctor Ronald Ross discovered that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between human beings. Ross was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1902 for his discovery.

http://youtu.be/V8j0vKwJF3E

Picture credit: Handout picture shows tea party held in British doctor Ronald Ross’s honour at the Ross Institute on Aug. 20, 1931. ALERTNET/Handout/LSHTM

Experts mull global system to monitor water resources

A global system to monitor management of water resources would help governments secure food and water supplies for the future, a U.N. expert due to attend the World Water Weekconference later this month has told AlertNet.

“There’s demand for a global reporting mechanism that will help us see what is the status of water security and how water is used around the world as a resource, whether in agriculture, industrial production or any other way,” said Joakim Harlin, senior water resources advisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The embryonic process – due to be discussed at the water gathering – would set indicators for water-resource management, and build capacity in developing countries so they can collect data, analyse and report on these indicators, he said.

Kenyan boy conceived through hate, lives without love

 

By Katy Migiro

“I wish he was dead,” said Grace Wanjiku referring to her four-year-old son, Charles. “I don’t feel any love for him.”

My heart went out to the innocent boy. While Grace said he didn’t deserve to be alive, he certainly didn’t deserve the miserable life he’d been born into.

Charles was not conceived out of love, but out of hate.

His mother was gang-raped by five men in Kenya’s Rift Valley province during the chaos that followed Kenya’s disputed 2007 election. Over 1,200 people were killed and some 600,000 displaced before order was restored with a power-sharing deal.

Prostitution: their bodies, their rights

It is seen as a job no woman would want to do. A job no woman would willingly do.

Yet, spending time in one of Asia’s largest red light districts gives a view of prostitution that jars with what many feminists, gender rights activists and, in fact, society in general believe.

The Sonagachi district – a labyrinth of narrow bustling lanes lined with tea and cigarette stalls, three-storey brothels, and beauty parlours – in the east Indian city of Kolkata raises eyebrows with many who know this place.

Acid attacks: the faceless women you can’t forget

Since I met her over a week ago, I have been unable to forget.

Every morning as I put on my lipstick and black eyeliner in front of the mirror, I am reminded of her face. Or lack of it.

Sonali Mukherjee, 27, is one of hundreds of women across the world who have lost their faces, and their will to survive, as a result of one of the most heinous crimes against women I have come across: Acid violence.

Nine years ago, three men broke into Sonali’s home in the east Indian city of Dhanbad as she slept, and threw concentrated acid over her face.

Mobile technology boosts water security for the poor

 

Information technology is a powerful tool for experts working to provide secure access to water for personal use, food production and business in developing nations.

Giving poor people proper access to safe water and sanitation would save  2.5 million people a year from dying from diarrhoea and other diseases spread by a lack of hygiene, according to charity WaterAid.

The widespread availability of mobile phones has enabled the development of low-cost solutions aimed at improving water security and reducing poverty.

Pregnant teen with cancer stirs abortion debate in Dominican Republic

BOGOTA (TrustLaw) – When gynaecologist Lilliam Fondeur recently wrote about the plight of a pregnant teenager diagnosed with acute leukaemia in her column in the Dominican Republic’s El Nacional newspaper, little did she know it would revive debate about the country’s blanket ban on abortion and stir public support in favour of the young girl.

Following a change to the constitution in 2010, abortion in the Dominican Republic is banned under any circumstances, even when the mother’s health or life is in danger.

In recent weeks, Fondeur and local women’s rights groups have been campaigning for the 16-year-old girl, who is around 10 weeks pregnant, to undergo potentially life-saving chemotherapy to treat the cancer.

Climate change is wild card in water security – SEI analysts

** This post is part of AlertNet’s special report on water: The Battle for Water

We can think creatively about water management, but unknown large global threats could cause a fundamental reorganisation of life on Earth, according to a water expert with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

“A doomsday scenario would be that if the Greenland ice sheet melts, and then there’s six metres of sea-level rise — all bets are off,” said David Purkey,  a senior scientist who heads SEI’s Northern California office. “I think we’ve got bigger problems than water scarcity at that moment.”

Rain, rain everywhere and not a drop to drink

NAIROBI (AlertNet) – It’s bucketing down outside, washing away houses and people and causing total gridlock in the city’s evening rush hour.

And when you finally make it home and switch on your tap, it’s dry.

It’s infuriating.

In Nairobi, private water vendors do a booming business, selling water in 20-litre jerrycans to the poor and in 4,000-litre tankers to the rich.

City residents are the lucky ones. In rural areas, women and children walk for hours to collect water from streams and wells.

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