Making Waves


Twenty years after the first United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil once again saw its streets flood with academics, activists, and decision makers, all in town for three days of discussions focused on the nexus between sustainable development and the environment. Rio+20, held June 20-22, 2012, centered on seven themes: livelihoods, energy, sustainable cities, food security and agricultural sustainability, water, oceans, and disaster mitigation and resilience. The conference led to the mobilization of over $500 billion and 700 commitments and culminated in world leaders signing an outcome document entitled "The Future We Want." A toolbox of best practices was also released. Prior to the start of Rio+20, U.N.-Water held an all-day event dedicated to discussing the relationship of water to Rio+20. During the conference, USAID joined a number of U.S.-based organizations in the global launching of the United States Water Partnership, which is dedicated to improving water resources around the world by combining the resources of organizations across the United States. Over $500 million has been committed to this partnership over the next five years.

New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

Improving the economic conditions of 50 million people over the next 10 years is the goal of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Strengthening food security commitments made by G-8 nations in 2009, this new alliance, launched by President Obama at the G-8 summit at Camp David on May 18, 2012, is a joint initiative by the G-8 countries, African leaders, and the private sector to increase agricultural production, food quality, and distribution within African nations. With an initial commitment of over $3 billion from more than 45 private sector businesses, the alliance is already working in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania and has plans to quickly expand to other nations, including Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mozambique. Within each country, the alliance will launch cooperation frameworks to help align activities with previous commitments, funding availabilities, and national policies.

12th International Coral Reef Symposium

Approximately 85 percent of the coral reefs located in the Coral Triangle are now under threat from humans, states a report released at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2012), which took place in Cairns, Australia from July 9-13, 2012. ICRS 2012, the foremost conference dedicated to coral reefs, brought together experts from around the world to discuss 22 themes, including technologies for climate change and bleaching, fish and fisheries, management and monitoring, and restoration. Throughout the event, the Coral Triangle region received worldwide attention from the release of several reports that highlight the worsening state of the area’s coral reefs. "Reefs at Risk Revisited in the Coral Triangle", published by the World Resources Institute with the support of USAID’s Coral Triangle Support Partnership, highlighted the negative impact that human activities, particularly overfishing, pollution, and coastal development, have on reefs located in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste. In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a new online tool, Coral Reef Watch, which uses a seasonal ecological forecast to predict coral bleaching spots around the world.

Africa Water Week

Over 300 million Africans lack access to safe water, and 40 billion work hours are devoted each year to collecting water in Africa. One thousand stakeholders, decision makers, entrepreneurs, and academics came together on May 14-18, 2012, during the fourth Africa Water Week in Cairo. This annual event, organized by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and convened in part by USAID’s Further Advancing the Blue Revolution Initiative, focused on the theme “Water for Growth in Africa, AMCOW’s Journey @ 10” in celebration of AMCOW’s tenth anniversary. This conference focused on the upcoming challenges and potential for growth within Africa and the steps needed to attain that growth. A strategic framework for Water Security and Climate Resilient Development was also released during Africa Water Week.

Agrilinks Seminar on Global Fisheries

On July 25, 2012, USAID’s Agrilinks held an Ag Sector Council Seminar entitled Fishing for the Future: The Why and How of Nature's Most Abundant Protein Sourceto shed light on the challenges and opportunities of global fisheries. USAID’s Richard Volk and Bryan Gillooly spoke about the importance of fish for livelihoods, nutrition, and early childhood development; the hazards of overfishing; and the holistic ecosystem approach to fisheries management used by USAID. They highlighted examples of USAID programs in Ghana and the Philippines that are helping reform the fisheries sector, boost health and livelihoods, and improve coastal and marine resources management.

Last updated: September 17, 2013

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