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The State of the World's Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture: new FAO report

A new FAO report profiles the state of the natural resource base upon which world food production depends. The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW) notes that – while the last 50 years witnessed a notable increase in food production – »in too many places, achievements have been associated with management practices that have degraded the land and water systems upon which food production depends«. Today a number of those systems »face the risk of progressive breakdown of their productive capacity under a combination of excessive demographic pressure and unsustainable agriculture use and practices«, the report continues. No region is immune: systems at risk can be found around the globe, from the highlands of the Andes to the steppes of Central Asia, from Australia’s Murray-Darling river basin to the central United States.

 
Leven met water: 9e Erasmus-Descartesconferentie

18 november 2011, Amsterdam • Water, een gemeenschapsgoed? Hoe bestrijdt men waterrampen? Welke toekomstige projecten bestaan er? Zestien experts presenteren hun visie. De Erasmus-Descartesconferentie wordt sinds 2002 afwisselend in Parijs en Amsterdam georganiseerd en maakt deel uit van de activiteiten van de Nederlands-Franse Samenwerkingsraad.

 
Decision making in a changing climate: World Resources Report 2010-2011

The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank and the World Resources Institute have released the World Resources Report 2010–2011: «Decision Making in a Changing Climate». The publication explores challenges and offers recommendations for national-level government officials to make informed and effective decisions to respond to the changing climate.

 
The World's Water Volume 7: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

Although we do not have a report for 2010, «The World’s Water», the ‘Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources’ ,promises again to be a very interesting and well-written publication if it is like the previous six volumes. We reviewed them all before and were excited each time about the quality of the chapters. Volume 7 features chapters on U.S. water policy, climate change and transboundary waters, and the effects of fossil fuel production on water resources, and other timely issues. Water briefs provide concise updates on topics including bottled water, The Great Lakes Water Agreement, and water and security. We expect that Peter Gleick and his team from the Pacific Institute have done a great job again.

 
The Governance of Adaptation: international symposium

22–23 March 2012, Amsterdam • In March 2012 a two day conference will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on ‘The governance of adaptation’. Topics to be discussed include: the framing of adaptation problems and goals, modes of governance and available instruments, agency and leadership in adaptation governance, science-policy interaction and adaptation. The purpose of the meeting is twofold: 1) to establish a network of researchers who are analyzing the efforts of both public and private actors to prepare for climate change, 2) to exchange insights on adaptation governance across the world and draw lessons in a coordinated way. Abstracts are welcomed and a contribution to travel costs is available for all participants with an approved abstract.

 
Traditional irrigation systems and methods of water harvesting in Yemen

With support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sana’a, Yemen, a documentary study on models of traditional irrigation systems and methods of water harvesting in the Hadramout and Shabwah governorates in Yemen has been translated and reproduced. Man has long struggled with nature to obtain water for drinking and agriculture. Over time, he has developed expertise in harvesting water, and draining surface water for irrigation. Expertise that accumulated over thousands of years is now falling into neglect.

 
Converging Currents in Climate-Relevant Conservation: Water, Infrastructure, and Institutions

The difficulty of determining future hydrological conditions based on past records of climate and hydrologic regimes has been the “death of stationarity”, which refers to the assumption that future climate conditions have “predictable uncertainty”; that is, the frequency and severity of flood or drought events can be accurately estimated, allowing water managers (and economists) to manage risk. Climate change undermines this assumption by suggesting that the future holds unpredictable uncertainty. The water resource management community has not yet developed an alternative vision capable of embracing this new reality.

 
WMO Secretary-General elected chair of UN-Water

UN-Water elects new office holders as water moves to centre of sustainable development challenge. The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr Michel Jarraud, has been elected as the Chair of UN-Water for a two-year term. Mr Bert Diphoorn, Director of Human Settlements Financing Division at UN-Habitat, was elected as vice-chair of UN-Water. With the customary two-year term approaching, the election took place in Stockholm during UN-Water’s 15th meeting.

 
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