Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home page No. 44, Fall/Winter 1998
Conflict Resolution and Transboundary Water Resources

Selected news of interest

annotated by Elaine Cubbins

Global International Waters Assessment project inaugurated

On 11 September 1998, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) inaugurated the Marine Biological Center in Kalmar, Sweden. The Center will be the new home of the Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) project that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of international water-related environmental problems. GIWA is comparable to other UNEP initiatives that address the environment, including the scientific assessments of ozone within the Montreal Protocol, global warming addressed by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, and biological diversity by the Global biodiversity Assessment.

UNEP's move toward leadership concerning water issues during the next century is to stress that finding multinational solutions to the global water crisis is a priority for the Programme and should be for the international community. "In the next century, more than two thirds of the global population will be living under conditions of water stress," said Shafqat Kakakhel, UNEP's Deputy Executive Director. One of GIWA's focal areas will be to examine the connections for the problems of freshwater basins and marine and coastal waters.

For more information, contact:
Per Enarsson, Programme Officer
UNEP GEF Coordination Office in Nairobi
Tel.: +254 (2) 623676
Fax: +254 (2) 624041
Robert Bisset
UNEP Media and Communications Officer
UNEP Nairobi
Tel.: +254 (2) 623084
Fax: +254 (2) 623692

World Commission to Address Water Issues of the 21st Century

The availability of potable water for all peoples on the planet is one of the most crucial issues to be faced in the next century. The World Commission on Water for the 21st Century was established in August 1998 to develop a long-term vision to address issues arising from meeting an increasing world population's needs for fresh water while still maintaining a healthy, balanced environment. The Commission comprises twenty-one internationally reknowned experts in the areas of environment, development and water, from many walks of professional life, including government and the private sector, the academic community, and national and international institutions. The target date for release of the Commission's investigative report is 22 May 2000, World Water Day.

Areas that the Commission will investigate include:

  • The impact of climate change on variability of rainfall and desertification.
  • Possible scenarios for population growth and spatial deployment.
  • Ways to reduce losses in monsoon areas.
  • Water harvesting in semi-arid and arid zones.
  • Desalinization development possibilities.
  • Developing new groundwater resources.
  • Re-use of city waste water for high value agriculture.
  • Techniques to transform water efficiency in agriculture.
  • Inclusion of local communities, women, and institutions in decision-making.

For more information, contact:
Laura Edwards
GWP Secretariat in Stockholm
Tel.: +46 (8) 698-5384
Sarwat Hussain
World Bank Special Programs
Tel.: +1 (202) 473-5690

Third Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management

The Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management helps to direct the management of integrated water resources toward a sustainable future in the Americas. This continuing process works to develop recommendations and guidelines through "the exchange of ideas, experiences, and information related to water issues between policy-makers, scientists, government officials, non-governmental organizations, academics, and the private sector. The Dialogue's ultimate goal is to chart new directions for solving the Western Hemisphere's deepening water crisis."

The Third Dialogue will be held on 21 - 23 March 1999 in Panama City, Panama. Main topics to be discussed include:
  • Water and health
  • Integrated water management
  • Social, environmental, and economic valuations of water resources
  • Public participation in water resources decision making
  • Global change and water resources

Registration information in both English and Spanish is available on the web at:

For additional information, please contact:
David W. Moody
Inter-American Water Resources Network (IWRN)
Technical Secretariat
Organization of American States
1889 F. St., N.W., Rm. 340-A
Washington D.C. 20006
Tel.: +1 (202) 458-3571
Fax: +1 (202) 458-3560

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Elaine Cubbins works for the Arid Lands Information Center at the Office of Arid Lands Studies. The editor gratefully acknowledges her assistance in preparing this material for publication.

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