Making Waves

Transforming the Water Sector Through Information and Communication Technology

February 23, 2012

Core issues of governance were among the themes of the recent USAID/World Bank learning event on information and communication technology (IcT) held during the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network (SDN) week. experts from the water and IcT sectors discussed greater accountability, transparency, results, and collaboration through open innovation. The event began with introductions by Rachel Kyte, Vice President of SDN at the World Bank and Christian Holmes, USAID Global Water coordinator. Vivek Kundra, former U.S. chief Information Officer delivered the keynote speech on Open Government.

To highlight examples of how ICTs can transform a sector, two panels of experts from the Department of State, the World Bank, Akvo, Ushahidi, the Pacific Institute, and Nokia shared innovative mobile and mapping solutions for water. Project examples included Haiti, Afghanistan, Kenya, Indonesia, and central America. With more than 150 U.S. Government and World Bank staff members in attendance, lively discussions about implementation, sustainability, affordability, and replicability followed.

Participants also interacted with the experts in small group clinics to learn how to use the technology, including TileMill from MapBox. This event is an activity under the U.S. Government-World Bank MOU on Water, signed on World Water Day, March 22, 2011, by Secretary Clinton and President Zoellick.

A. Gambrill

The 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France

March 12-17, 2012

A Time for Solutions was the theme of the 6th World Water Forum held in Marseille, France, from March 12-17, 2012. Over 35,000 attendees including heads of States, U.N. Agencies, parliamentarians, water practitioners, NGO and civil society representatives, academics, women's associations, donors, youth, and other stakeholders from 170 countries convened to make it the world’s largest international event on water issues.

Attendees participated in over 400 sessions and debates to collaborate on real and practical measures and pledge solid commitments for making progress in the water sector. The focus of this year’s forum was to prioritize action by availing solutions from the ground and at different levels of government in countries around the world. Among the substantial results, governments renewed commitments and bolstered the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, which was to be revisited in the April High Level Meetings at the World Bank in Washington, Dc. The Forum also hosted high level roundtables to discuss solutions for increasing access to improved water and sanitation, investigating the water-energy-food nexus, promoting water security and sustainability, facilitating transboundary cooperation, and financing infrastructures.

“Nothing about them without them,” USAID Deputy Administrator and head of the U.S. Delegation Don Steinberg declared in a meeting with civil society groups. Steinberg insisted that solutions need to include along the lines of finance, USAID co-hosted a workshop with Japan's International cooperation Agency (JICA) on “Boosting Public-Private Partnerships in the Water Sector” to announce expansion of its joint activities in the Philippines to Vietnam and several parts of Africa.

Loïc Fauchon, president of the World Water council, closed the forum, "All is not finished yet. We are now facing the challenge to act. And we are expected to act!" Attendees left the Forum, looking forward to making Water an integral issue at Brazil’s Rio +20 in June.

K. Patel

World Water Day

March 22, 2012

Secretary Clinton announced the launch of a new public-private water partnership that will increase the impact of America’s work on water in a speech at the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. Water Partnership brings together partners from the private sector, the philanthropic community, NGOs, academia, and the government to share information on bringing safe water to developing nations in a sustainable way. Secretary Clinton stated that water must remain a priority in order to ensure continued success in improving national security as she announced the release of the National Intelligence council’s assessment of global water security. The report states that water security is an essential component of U.S. national security interests. This report makes it clear that increasing access to clean water is not just a development imperative, but also a peace and security necessity.

Across the globe, thousands celebrated World Water Day in their communities and schools by learning about the role of water in food security. Groups watched videos, participated in events online, planted seeds in community gardens, and attended workshops to share experiences on gardening, fishing practices, food security, and water scarcity. World Water Day events will continue to take place through the end of summer and follow-on events continue to be added.

C. Wixted

Earth Day

April 22, 2012

In honor of earth Day, and as a sponsored event by the UNEP World environment Day, the U.S. Department of State held its second “6k Walk for Water” in Washington, D.C., where participants walked the same distance as water-seeking women and girls in developing nations to help bring awareness to this issue. Across the developing world, women and girls are responsible for fetching water for drinking, cooking, and washing. To provide for their families, they walk an average of six kilometers each day carrying 15-20 liters of water that weigh about 44 pounds. This time-intensive activity keeps them out of school and deprives them of opportunities to generate income. Over half of the 72 million children not attending school around the world are girls. USAID and EPA also held a 6k Walk for Water on April 27 in Washington, D.C. to address issues of water scarcity, conservation, and access as part of its earth Day celebrations.

C. Wixted

Last updated: September 19, 2013

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