Studying water scarcity trends, helping communities adapt can ease migration pressures, says UN agency
The worst impacted are those dependent on agriculture, explained José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), noting that some among them, especially the poorest, may see no alternative to migrate and in search of better livelihoods.
“Migration should be a choice, and not the only remaining option,” he stressed.
Exploring this intricate linkages in its new report, Water Stress and Human Migration, the UN agency also found that full information on these dynamics is lacking for India, Central Asia, the Middle East and central Sahel – areas expected to be hit with above-average surface temperature increases and worsening water scarcity in the next 30 years.
Furthermore, inadequate infrastructure coupled with rising temperatures, human demand (such as for agriculture, energy and industrial sectors) and greater rainfall extremes are expected to add to the water stress.
“While some studies demonstrate a correlation between water stress and higher outmigration, the causal interaction is still not clearly understood,” states the report, underscoring the importance to ensure that the water scarcity and migration does not become a case of “mutual aggravation.”
Adapting to water woes can help ease burden
Better adaption strategies, including ones that account for climate change impacts, to mitigate the compulsion to migrate is therefore vital.
“Analyzing water scarcity trends and engaging in preparedness are particularly valuable, allowing time to intervene to mitigate pressure for forced migration,” said Eduardo Mansur, a senior FAO official on water and land issues.
“Enabling proactive adaptation is a more effective and sustainable strategy than offering a reactive humanitarian response in the face of large-scale distress,” he added.
At the same time, the report also highlights that migrants can positively contribute to water management and development in both origin and host communities through good practices, skills and knowledge transfer, and the use of remittances.
In addition, it also calls for increased attention to the concept of environmental migration as well as more data to understand and pre-empt trends in a timely way.
The theme for this year’s World Water Day is ‘Nature for Water’ which exploring nature-based solutions to present-day water challenges.
Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/03/1005362Back to Top
As cities boom, forests key to meeting demands for water, food and energy – UN
“How we manage forests will determine how we meet this demand,” said Manoel Sobral Filho, Director of the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS).
He noted that growth and shifts in population, changes in climate, and innovation in knowledge and technology will undoubtedly impact future forests. “One thing I am certain of, investing in forests is essential for securing a sustainable future for communities the world over,” he added.
In his video message for the Day, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that “well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many plants and animals, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity.”
This year, the International Day, observed annually on 21 March, will focus on the interlinkages between the sustainable management of forest and sustainable cities.
The theme provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits forests and trees provide to urban communities.
It is estimated that by 2050, more than half of the world’s population will face water stress. Given that forested catchments provide three-quarters of all freshwater used worldwide, safeguarding the water-providing capacity of forests is even more urgent.
Trees in cities help regulate climate, store carbon, and reduce flooding and storm water runoff. Sustainable forest management and sustainable forest products offers some of the most effective and cost-competitive natural carbon capture and storage options available.
Forests are home to over 80 per cent of biodiversity on land, and urban forests and city parks can provide important habitat for migratory birds and other fauna and flora.
Sustainable Development Goal 15 of the 2030 Agenda, adopted in 2015 by world leaders, calls for action to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss” by 2030.
The UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030 envisions “a world in which all types of forests and trees outside forests are sustainably managed, contribute to sustainable development and provide economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits for present and future generations.”
At UN Headquarters in New York, the Day is being celebrated with a special event featuring speeches by prominent officials, including Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Social and Economic Affairs.
Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/03/1005561Back to Top