Repeated droughts around the world have shockingly large and often hidden consequences, destroying enough farm produce to feed 81 million people every day for a year, damaging forests, and threating to trap generations of children in poverty, according to a new report from the World Bank Group.
Uncharted Waters: The New Economics of Water Scarcity and Variability presents new evidence on how increasingly erratic rainfall impacts farms, firms and families. It also shows that although floods and storm surges pose major threats, droughts are “misery in slow motion,” with impacts deeper and longer lasting than previously believed.
“These impacts demonstrate why it is increasingly important that we treat water like the valuable, exhaustible, and degradable resource that it is,” said Guangzhe Chen, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice. “We need to better understand the impacts of water scarcity, which will become more severe due to growing populations and a changing climate.”
The report found that impacts caused by drought can cascade into unexpected areas.
For families, the effects of drought can span generations. The report finds that in rural Africa, women born during extreme droughts bear the marks throughout their lives, growing up mentally and physically stunted, undernourished and unwell because of crop losses. New data shows that women born during droughts also have less education, fewer earnings, bear more children and are more likely to suffer from domestic violence. Their suffering is often passed on to the next generation, with their children more likely to be stunted and less healthy, perpetuating a vicious cycle of poverty.
On farms, repeated years of below-average rainfall not only destroys crop yield — it forces farmers to expand into nearby forests. Since forests act as a climate stabilizer and help regulate water supplies, deforestation decreases water supply and exacerbates climate change.
For firms, the report calculates the economic costs of droughts as four times greater than that of floods. A single water outage in an urban firm can reduce its revenue by more than 8%. And if that firm is in the informal sector, as many are in the developing world, sales decline by 35%, ruining livelihoods and stagnating urban economic growth.
Many of the regions most affected by drought overlap with areas that are already facing large food deficits and are classified as fragile, heightening the urgency of finding solutions.
“If we don’t take deepening water deficits and the bigger and more frequent storms that climate change will bring seriously, we will find water scarcity spreading to new regions of the world, potentially exacerbating issues of violence, suffering, and migration,” said the report’s author and World Bank’s Water Global Practice Lead Economist Richard Damania. “Current methods for managing water are not up to the challenge. This sea-change will require a portfolio of policies that acknowledge the economic incentives involved in managing water from its source, to the tap, and back to its source.”
The impacts of erratic rainfall ripple through farms, firms and families, sometimes for generations. The report offers proposals for how to tackle these challenges, calling for new policies, innovation and collaborations.
The report recommends constructing new water storage and management infrastructure, paired with polices that control the demand for water. Utilities responsible for water distribution in cities also need to be properly regulated to incentivize better performance and investment in network expansion, while also ensuring a fair market return. The report also noted that when flood and droughts turn into economic shocks, safety nets must be put in place to ensure poor families can weather the storm.
IEA holds Energy Efficiency Training Week in Paris
The International Energy Agency is hosting its 11th Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies Training Week from 20 to 24 May. More than 120 energy efficiency professionals from 40 countries have come together in Paris for the event.
The objective of the training week is to enable participants to learn from leading experts in the field and from each other, strengthening the knowledge and networks needed to meet some of today’s most pressing challenges. The weeklong activities focus on the critical role of energy efficiency in mitigating growing energy demand across all sectors in the world’s fastest‑growing economies.
Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, kicked off the event by stressing the importance of energy efficiency as the first fuel. “Many of the challenges the world is facing today – climate change, energy security, access to electricity – can be met at a large scale only by implementing the right energy efficiency policies,” he said.
Ambassadors from Brazil, Switzerland and the United Kingdom joined Dr Birol in the open plenary session to share their experiences and support for the training week. His Excellency, Mr. Carlos Márcio Cozendey, Ambassador and Delegate of Brazil to International Economic Organisations in Paris, commended the opportunity that the training week presents. “Energy efficiency will remain very important in Brazil, and international cooperation through the IEA and bilateral cooperation with different countries will be an important part of that,” he said.
Participants are engaged in one of five parallel courses, which focus on energy efficiency in buildings, industry, appliances and equipment, cities, and indicators and evaluation. Experts from the IEA are guiding participants through an interactive agenda, with lectures, discussions, practical exercises, site visits and group activities.
The IEA will host its first Energy Efficiency Training Week for Africa later this year and a specialised training programme on green buildings in Singapore from 16 to 18 July. Please keep an eye on our website for registration opening dates.
Aviation Strategy for Europe: Commission signs landmark aviation agreements with China
The European Union and China have today signed an agreement on civil aviation safety and a horizontal aviation agreement to strengthen their aviation cooperation.
The agreements follow up on the EU-China Summit of 9 April and will serve to boost the competitiveness of the EU’s aeronautical sector and enhance overall EU-China aviation relations. This marks yet another key deliverable under the Juncker Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe – designed to generate growth for European business, foster innovation and let passengers profit from safer, cleaner and cheaper flights.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “In an increasingly unsettled world, Europe’s partnership with China is more important than ever before. The EU firmly believes that nations working together makes the world a stronger, safer and more prosperous place for all. Today we took a first big step in this direction by signing two aviation agreements with China that will create jobs, boost growth and bring our continents and peoples closer together. Today’s agreements show the potential of our partnership and we should continue on this path of cooperation. For it will always be in unity that we find strength.”
Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “China is one of the European Union’s most important strategic partners and we attach a lot of importance to our excellent relations on transport matters. We are mutually interested in better connecting Europe and Asia and making it easier to move goods, services and people between Europe and China. That applies to aviation, too. Today’s agreements will boost the European Union’s trade in aircraft and related products, and ensure the highest levels of air safety.”
The main objective of the bilateral civil aviation safety agreement (BASA) is to support worldwide trade in aircraft and related products. This agreement will remove the unnecessary duplication of evaluation and certification activities for aeronautical products by the civil aviation authorities, and therefore reduce costs for the aviation sector. The BASA will also promote cooperation between the EU and China towards a high level of civil aviation safety and environmental compatibility.
The second agreement signed today is a so-called horizontal aviation agreement. It marks China’s recognition of the principle of EU designation, whereby all EU airlines will be able to fly to China from any EU Member State with a bilateral air services agreement with China under which unused traffic rights are available. Up until now, only airlines owned and controlled by a given Member State or its nationals could fly between that Member State and China. The conclusion of a horizontal agreement will thereby bring bilateral air services agreements between China and EU Member States into conformity with EU law – a renewed legal certainty which will be beneficial to airlines on both sides.
Both the European Commission and the Chinese transport administration will now proceed with their respective internal procedures to put the conclusion of the agreement in place.
World Bank to Strengthen Human Capital and Climate Resilience in Haiti
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today three projects for a total amount of US$162 million in grants to improve the quality of health and education services and strengthen climate resilience in Haiti.
“These three projects address key national priorities to build a better future for all Haitians,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Haiti Country Director. “Access to quality healthcare and education are crucial to break the cycle of poverty and to build a stronger human capital so that Haitian children can reach their full potential. The Bank support will also help build climate resilience in the face of the growing threat of natural hazards by strengthening early warning systems and disaster preparedness in high climate risk areas.”
Globally, Haiti ranks 112th on the World Bank Human Capital Index. A child born today in Haiti will be only 45 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she had enjoyed full health and education. Infant mortality in Haiti remains high with 59 death per 1,000 live births and maternal mortality has increased from an estimated 523 per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 646 per 100,000 live births in 2016. Only 40 percent of children are fully vaccinated, which has contributed to outbreaks of preventable diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, and measles.
Similarly, the education outcomes are not very promising. On average Haitian children attend 11.4 years of school by age 18, which is equivalent of 6.3 years of adjusted learning and is the lowest score in the region. In terms of disaster risks, Haiti is highly exposed to hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Between 1976 and 2012, losses associated with hydro-meteorological events alone were equivalent to almost two percent of annual GDP on average. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew affected over two million people, resulting in over 500 deaths and displaced 175,000 people.
The “Strengthening Primary Health Care and Surveillance in Haiti” project will significantly enhance basic healthcare services for three million people, particularly for pregnant women and children in the South, North West, North-East, Center and Nippes departments. It will strengthen nationwide surveillance capacity and immunization for infectious diseases. The project will also improve the overall coordination among government and international partners in the health sector. The US$70 million project is financed by a US$55 million grant from International Development Association (IDA) and a US$15 million grant from the Global Financing Facility.
The second approved grant for the “Providing an Education of Quality in Haiti” project is to increase enrollment and improve the school learning condition in public and private primary schools in the Southern departments of Haiti. The project will particularly focus on closing the gender gaps in attendance and retention rates. The support is provided as an additional financing of US$57 million, including a US$39 million grant from IDA and a US$18 million grant from the Global Affairs Canada.
The third project “Strengthening Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience” will support the design of a national early warning system and improve emergency response and evacuation capacity of targeted municipalities in high climate risk-prone areas. It will also reinforce infrastructure such as schools and community centers to serve as emergency shelters, provide technical training, and support for strengthening the building codes. The project is financed by a US$35 million grant from IDA.
The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank institution that provides low-interest or interest-free grants and loans to the world’s poorest countries to help them implement projects and programs that stimulate economic growth, contribute to the reduction of poverty and improve the living conditions of the poor.
Iran vs. US: Bracing for war?
On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better...
Turkey is the Guarantor of Peace in the Black Sea region
The wider Black Sea region—which brings together the littoral states plus neighbouring countries—is experiencing a rapidly shifting security environment that...
IEA holds Energy Efficiency Training Week in Paris
The International Energy Agency is hosting its 11th Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies Training Week from 20 to 24 May....
A survey of Arab youth highlights gaps between policies and aspirations
Results of a recent annual survey of Arab youth concerns about their future suggest that Arab autocracies have yet to...
Breitling Celebrates a Powerful Partnership with the Premier Norton Edition
The Breitling Premier Norton Edition is a potent representation of a partnership between two iconic brands that share intriguingly similar...
Aviation Strategy for Europe: Commission signs landmark aviation agreements with China
The European Union and China have today signed an agreement on civil aviation safety and a horizontal aviation agreement to...
The Durand Line Issue
The Durand Line is a 2,200-kilometre debated border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was set up in 1893 between Sir...
Travel & Leisure3 days ago
7 Must Visit Sites in Chiang Rai
Science & Technology2 days ago
Organisations that embed cybersecurity into their business strategy outperform their peers
Economy3 days ago
Euro – 20 years on: Who won and who lost?
Economy2 days ago
Convergence Of Competitive Markets And Indian Elections
East Asia2 days ago
The origin of the Four Modernizations and President Xi Jinping’s current choices
South Asia2 days ago
Indian Nuclear Explosions of May 98 and Befitting Response
Newsdesk3 days ago
European Union and World Bank Support to Help Enhance Georgia’s Innovation Ecosystem
Energy2 days ago
Four Things You Should Know About Battery Storage