Marine Newsletter #5 – March 2010

Highlights from the Marine Programme at GRID-Arendal for March 2010.

1. Featured Project

Eastern Caribbean Watershed Project
A project proposal has been developed together with the Island Resources Foundation, the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) and the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) to seek funding for an “Eastern Caribbean Watershed Project” – that would put some focus on “blue carbon” ecosystems. In general, the project will include and combine:

  •  the use of applied science consisting of satellite imagery analysis and other remote sensing techniques, geographical information system (GIS) mapping, and modeling, and data on e.g. pollutant sources and water quality;
  • assessments of ecosystems; ecosystems services and change due to human activities; local livelihoods and vulnerability; and environmental governance;
  • studies and applied best practices, on watershed management issues for small islands (in-line with the on-going work of the GEF-funded “Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management (IWCAM)” project;

Through the cooperation with the partner regional organizations and local agencies and NGOs, the objectives of the project are to achieve:

  • increased awareness and education on water issues, especially expressed on the development impacts on watersheds and their ecological services;
  • a better understanding of the sources, threats and comprehensive consequences of declining coastal ecosystem health and poor water quality on local communities;
  • demonstration of sustainable water practices, and new technologies to restore and rehabilitate coastal ecosystems, and implement an integrated watershed management approach, as strategies to increase the ecosystems services and surface water quality.

2. Data and Products

Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable management
A Rapid Response Assessment (RRA) report on the challenges of wastewater.
With global action and positive momentum towards improving access to safe water and sanitation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), in partnership with the members of UN Water have collaborated to bring together their collective experience and expertise to bear on the challenges posed by illegal and unregulated wastewater.

“Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development” not only identifies the threats to human and ecological health and the consequences of inaction, but also presents opportunities, where appropriate policy and management responses over the short and longer term can trigger employment, support livelihoods, boost public and ecosystem health and contribute to more intelligent water management. The report was launched in Nairobi, Kenya on World Water Day, 22 March 2010, and at the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro, 23 March 2010. The full report, e-book and additional materials are available for download here:

The collaborating agencies are available to assist governments who seek additional information or support beyond the full report.

3. Events

Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences where representatives from the Marine Programme have participated:

  • Visit to GRID-Arendal by H.E. John Hannaford, Ambassador of Canada to Norway, Arendal, Norway, 03 March – taking part in a dialogue on key GRID-Arendal activities and on possible synergies with the Canadian goals and priorities.
  • First meeting of the steering committee on the Global Outlook on Methane Gas Hydrates, Arendal, Norway, 04-05 March – formalising the content of the project.
  • Meetings with Australian government representatives, including the Australian Geoscience Climate Change group, Ausaid, and the Department of Climate Change, plus the Norwegian Ambassador to Australia, Sydney, Australia, 07-14 March – profiling a number of GRID-Arendal projects, including Blue Carbon and others.
  • Meeting with the International Council on Metals and Mining, London, UK, 08 March – discussing issues including the Pacific Marine Minerals and Deep Sea Mining Assessment.
  • Work session with Jonathan Porritt, Forum for the Future Foundation, London, UK, 08 March – producing a detailed outline of a Green Economics chapter linked to the Global Outlook on Methane Gas Hydrates.
  • International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems (IMDIS) 2010, 29-31 March, Paris, France – the IMDIS cycle of conferences has the aim of providing an overview of the existing information systems to serve different users in ocean science. It also shows the progresses on development of efficient infrastructures for managing large and diverse data sets, standards, interoperable information systems, services and tools for education.

4. Other

Did you know that…
…each day 2 million tons of solid matter and near 1.5-2 billion tons of wastewater are discharged?
…over half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from water related diseases?
…expert estimates indicate that up to 80 per cent of ALL water treatment plants ever built are not operational?

Our favorite website of the month

Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network:

Wednesday 14 Apr 2010