Central America and Caribbean

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Día Interamericano del Agua 2013: el agua y el saneamiento rural siguen siendo retos para la salud y el desarrollo

Iagua | 2013-10-10

El día interamericano del Agua es un celebración que tiene como propósito principal sensibilizar a la población sobre la importancia de la protección de la salud humana y el bienestar, tanto individual y colectiva, dentro de un marco de desarrollo sostenible, mediante la mejora de la gestión del agua, incluyendo su protección como medidas de prevención, control y reducción de enfermedades relacionadas con el agua. La Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), la Asociación Interamericana de Ingeniería Sanitaria y Ambiental (AIDIS) y la Asociación Caribeña de Agua y Aguas Residuales (CWWA) firmaron una Declaración en el XXIII Congreso Interamericano de AIDIS en La Habana, Cuba en noviembre de 1992, mediante la cual crearon el Día Interamericano del Agua. Se decidió conmemorar ese día el primer sábado de octubre, y se celebró...

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In Trinidad, Sports Complex Targets a Key Watershed

Peter Richards | 2013-10-10

PORT OF SPAIN, Oct 7 2013 (IPS) - Trinidad's Orange Grove Savannah sits at the foothills of the Northern Range, whose watersheds provide copious volumes of fresh water into the aquifers – natural underground water storage areas – lying below these green spaces. “This natural savannah plays a key ecological function in reducing flooding to surrounding communities, as surface waters are absorbed through grass fields into the aquifer providing a 24/7 water supply to thousands of households in east Trinidad,” Dr. Carol James, a retired United Nations policy advisor who specialised in sustainable development, told IPS.

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Nicaragua's New Canal Threatens Biggest Source of Water

José Adán Silva | 2013-08-31

MANAGUA, Aug 23 2013 (IPS) - The law passed in Nicaragua to grant a concession to a Chinese company to build a canal between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans repealed legislation that protects Lake Cocibolca and its tributaries. Lake Cocibolca, also known as Lake Nicaragua, is the biggest source of freshwater in Central America and the second largest lake in Latin America after Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo. The alarm over the new threats to the lake was sounded by two local NGOs, the Nicaraguan Alliance on Climate Change (ANACC) and the National Risk Management Body (MNGR), in representation of 20 environmental groups in the country. Law 840, dubbed “the great inter-oceanic canal law” by the press, was approved by the legislature in June, with the votes of the governing left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of President Daniel Ortega. The canal, which will go across the lake, will be nearly four times longer than its rival, the Panama...

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Caribbean Launches New Tool to Deal with Climate Change

Peter Richards | 2013-07-24

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jul 15 2013 (IPS) - If the studies conducted by the International Code Council (ICC) are true, then by 2025, Caribbean countries will witness a significant increase in Category 4 and 5 hurricanes from the present level of 1.4 annually to four. And if the studies by the ICC – which focuses on safe building designs – are not frightening enough, another recent study conducted by the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies  is projecting an increase in rainfall during tropical storms and hurricanes. Against this background, the Caribbean last Friday launched a seminal online support tool that it hopes will promote climate-smart development by helping to embed a risk management ethic in decision-making processes across the region. “The timing of this launch is opportune. To begin with, it comes during the 2013 Tropical Atlantic hurricane season, which, according to scientific predictions, will see above-normal hurricane...

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Cuba Wakes Up to Costs of Climate Change Effects

Ivet González | 2013-06-20

HAVANA, Jun 17 2013 (IPS) - “How much is a species worth? What is the price tag on the services provided by a river or a forest?” These are the questions biologist María Elena Perdomo is asking to encourage Cubans to take account of environmental costs, which may apparently be incorporated in the present economic reforms. “Climate change effects reduce biodiversity, cause a decline in quality of life, change landscapes and have enormous social consequences. But what does all this mean in economic terms?” asks Perdomo, a researcher at the Centre for Environmental Studies and Services in Villa Clara, 268 kilometres from Havana. In an interview with IPS, she said that this kind of analysis should be given more attention when decisions are being made about how to protect the environment, and when planning ecological projects, defining environmental education messages and programmes and planning construction or other works that could harm vulnerable...

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Climate Change Threatens Water and Food Security in Antigua

Desmond Brown | 2013-06-18

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, Jun 12 2013 (IPS) - With their islands devoid of rivers or streams, farmers in Antigua and Barbuda have been building dams and ponds for centuries, harvesting rainwater to irrigate their crops and provide drinking water for their livestock. But now with the advent of climate change, they are facing major challenges. Stronger and more frequent storms regularly destroy trees planted around catchment areas as watershed as well as grass planted in and around these areas to slow evaporation. “Since 1995, since Hurricane Luis, we have suffered a lot of damage,” Owolabi Elabanjo, an agriculture extension officer based in Antigua, told IPS. “We have suffered a lot in some of our mini-dams or ponds with the hurricanes and some of the storms.” In September 1995, Hurricane Luis, a category four hurricane, passed directly over Barbuda, causing catastrophic damage in Antigua and neighbouring islands like St. Barthelemy, St. Martin and...

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Latin American Training Programme on Water Legislation for International River Basins

Global Water Partnership | 2013-06-11

GWP South America is working on the implementation of a new Latin American Training Programme on Water Legislation for International River Basins. This programmeaims to encourage improved international cooperation and facilitate good water governance in the region. Its main outputs will be three training workshops, a manual to support training processes and a monitoring report which will identify knowledge gaps, capacity needs, lessons learned and follow-up needs. The next phase, on implementation, includes another meeting in July in Bogotá during which the drafts of the manual and the syllabus for the first training workshop will be shared and discussed, and adjustments will be made.The process to build the Programme began in April 2013 in Bogota, where a meeting was held with the GWP South America partners and allies involved in this initiative. Key elements of this proposal were discussed and agreed upon, including objectives, contents of the manual and the course,...

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Caribbean Lecturers Learn about Using Toolbox in Education

Global Water Partnership | 2013-06-11

Over twenty lecturers and researchers from universities across the Caribbean will meet in Barbados at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus for the first-ever Integrated Water Resources Management Knowledge Management Workshop to be held in the region on 5-6 June 2013.   The two-day regional workshop is being spearheaded by the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean in collaboration with its partner, the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) of The UWI, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. The workshop will focus on the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Toolbox which was developed by the Global Water Partnership based in Stockholm, Sweden and its partners.

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El Salvador mining ban could establish a vital water security precedent

The Guardian | Central America | 2013-06-11

Five hundred scientists meeting in Bonn last month warned that 9 billion people would face the consequences of severe water shortages within a generation or two, but did not point the finger at industries devastating fresh water supplies. Meanwhile, a battle against a metal mining industry that has ravaged freshwater supplies in El Salvador shows just how difficult it is for a developing country to build economic alternatives for a water-secure future. Two mining companies are dragging El Salvador through a costly legal challenge at an international trade tribunal for attempting to protect limited water supplies by refusing permits for their operations. With 90% of its surface water heavily contaminated and a quarter of its rural population lacking access to safe drinking water, El Salvador is embroiled in a clean water crisis. More than two-thirds of the population rely on the Lempa river basin for drinking water – the...

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Water Efficiency for Central America

Global Water Partnership | 2013-05-30

GWP Central America and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), have produced a document on the efficient and sustainable use of water for family farming, in the context of climate change. The document will be a tool for technicians, researchers, and field staff seeking alternative technologies to be more efficient with the use of water for agriculture and includes success stories in the region on the collection, storage and distribution of water. It will also be a source of information for decision makers and donors. To validate the document, a workshop was held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on April 24 and 25, with the participation of experts from the six countries in the region. They reviewed the draft document and left their contributions to be taken into account in a final version, which will be published in early June 2013. The participants of the workshop also had an opportunity to visit a rural family in southern Honduras, which is part of the dry...

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