The United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. As we get ready to ring in the New Year, we look at new ways to partner up to tackle the issues that matter.
Cooperation sometimes starts at home. In anticipation of World Wetlands Day in February, we take a deeper look in this issue’s cover story at programs that simultaneously work toward conservation and WASH goals. While these programs require intense coordination between different practitioners whose work is usually independent, we have found that the payoffs are immense and that healthy ecosystems and communities are truly intertwined. The proof is in the wetlands. In the parks around the Okavango Delta, where several of these initiatives take place, acacia trees tower, lions roar, and indigenous communities thrive.
Cooperation can also transform cities. With the United Nations Day of South-South Cooperation on the horizon, we look at the WaterLinks project, which has made waves in Asia by facilitating over 60 partnerships between urban water operators. The results so far are heartening: Malaysians helped Indians to provide continuous water services, Koreans helped Thais to provide clean, safe water, and more than one million people throughout Asia gained improved access to water.
As the New Year approaches, the time is ripe to look at persisting problems from new angles. Global climate change has wreaked havoc throughout the world through disasters and droughts. But what about its relationship with food security? In this issue, we bring you captivating snapshots of climate change impacts on food, from the coral reefs of the Seychelles to the rice paddies of Bangladesh, and discuss some of the ways USAID is helping farmers, fishermen, and the famine-stricken to adapt.
All of these programs bring change thanks to the involvement of stakeholders on the ground. We continue to focus on engaging stakeholders, and work hard to raise awareness of water issues in the developing world. This edition’s Real Impact story looks at novel ways that USAID has raised awareness, including reality shows, talk shows, and soap operas. These engrossing radio and television programs not only capture the imaginations of millions with universal stories about love, family, and identity, but also educate them on everything from WASH to natural resource management.
Happy holidays and we look forward to working with you throughout the International Year of Water Cooperation!
Last updated: July 17, 2013