... and the winner is an entry from the California Institute of Technology! Michael Hoffman received the prize for the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" from Bill Gates himself on August 14, 2012 in Seattle. The award winning technology model is based on a self-contained, sun-powered system that recycles water and breaks down human waste into storable energy.
The World Region
Did you know that the depth of poverty is much worse for rural dwellers? In fact, 75% of poor people live in rural areas, and extreme poverty is more than twice as high in rural areas compared to urban areas in developing countries. The rural-urban income divide is not only large but increasing in most transforming economies.
Outside China, about 80% of the reduction in national poverty rates in the developing world has been due to reducing rural poverty. (With China, the figure is 56%.) The conclusion is pretty obvious: rural development is critical to achieving a world without poverty.
According to the World Food Program, a third of all deaths in children under the age of 5 in developing countries are linked to undernutrition. Undernourished children also suffer from childhood stunting, or low height for age. For those who survive when stunted at the age of 2, the damage is largely irreversible and has lasting impacts on cognition and health.
Last week I was a speaker at a Global Water Intelligence summit in Rome. The organizers asked the panelists to imagine a perfect water future in 25 years and then re-engineer what is necessary to get there. I came up with a long list for an ideal water future, and gradually whittled it down to my personal four:
As the 2015 endline for the Millennium Development Goals draw to a close, the process of developing the next goals is underway. The World Bank has been involved with the UN and others for some time, thinking of how to reshape goals for water and sanitation. In parallel, however, there is a call (led by the Governments of Colombia and Guatemala) to reshape these goals into
We hope you can tune in live tomorrow, April 20 at 2 p.m. EDT, as government ministers from 40 developing countries are meeting with UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, UK International Development Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell, Chair of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, and major donors and water and sanitation sector organizations, to discuss speeding up global access to water and sanitation.
Las Vegas is extreme in many ways, perhaps in no way more than in its water management. We were delighted to host 'Water Czar' Patricia Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Las Vegas Valley Water District, to hear how Las Vegas has completely transformed the way it manages water services.
- The World Region
The 6th World Water Forum was very intense and there is much to reflect on, but one memory stands out.
During the final two-hour session, Making Commitments and Mobilising Resources for Integrated Sanitation—Achieving Improvements at Scale, eighteen speakers had just five minutes each to summarize our collective insights on working at scale. Afterwards, Margaret Catley Carlson, former chair of the Global Water Partnership, expressed how happy she was with the summary.
UNICEF and WHO's recent report on Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation brought both good and bad news. The good news: 88% of the world’s population now has access to an improved drinking water source. The bad news: the world is still off-track to meet the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation. In this blog post published by the Center for Global Development, Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Claire Chase, an evaluation specialist with the Water and Sanitation Program, examine whether an increased focus on sanitation will ironically lead to further neglect of hygiene, and second, which sector should hold responsibility for scaling up access to sanitation.
The session on Human Right to Water has led to constructive debate and dialogue. More interestingly, discussion on whether the human right to water implies providing water for free is no longer part of the mainstream debate. We have moved beyond this dichotomy and are now focused on figuring out how to make it work, while recognizing the costs involved.
There were many take-away messages. We need to operationalize the definition of the human right to water, develop more specific indicators and targets for each dimension that makes up the human right to water, and work to ensure that targets and indicators are relevant for different country contexts. Questions such as How affordable is affordable?, How safe is safe?, and How available is available? will differ between countries.