Submitted by Mark Smith on Tue,03/22/2016

What does it take to include nature in investment porfolios to improve water security? Renat Heuberger, CEO of the South Pole Group, and Mark Smith, Director of the IUCN Global Water Programme, explore the options.Read more


Submitted by guest blogger on Sat,03/19/2016

By Aaron Reuben of IUCN’s Forest and Climate Change Programme.

In late 2014 I attended a panel discussion on national infrastructure for improved water supplies. This was part of the ACES (A Community on Ecosystem Services) conference on Ecosystem Markets in Washington, DC. From the presentations and discussions, it emerged that there are three key ways to increase investment in natural infrastructure – ecosystems such as river basins, forests and wetlands which, together with ‘built infrastructure,’ are critical to maintaining water supply.Read more


Submitted by Rebecca Welling on Tue,12/15/2015

Water for nature is too often sidelined in discussions around built water infrastructure development and subsequent water allocation needs. With increasing demands for food and energy production from a growing global population, many countries look to engineered solutions to bring them water, food and energy securityRead more

Submitted by guest blogger on Tue,12/15/2015

By Giulio Boccaletti and Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy, an IUCN member.

While the negotiations at the UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris have been deemed successful on many fronts, we are already witnessing the impacts of climate change on our most critical resource – water.Read more


Submitted by Mark Smith on Tue,12/08/2015

Fire, earth, air and water. To the ancient Greeks, these were the keys to understanding the world around them. To modern-day climate negotiators? Not so much.Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Wed,11/11/2015

Written by Peter Newborne, Research Associate Water Policy Programme, Overseas Development Institute-ODI

Access to water is crucial in arid and semi-arid regions. A key question is how far cities can require distant rural areas to provide water for their – growing – inhabitants.Read more

Submitted by James Dalton on Tue,10/27/2015

By James Dalton of IUCN’s Water Programme.

Around 40% of the world’s population lives in river basins that span two or more countries. These transboundary water systems include over 445 aquifers, more than 1,600 lakes and reservoirs, and 286 rivers. They are fundamental to the well-being of societies in terms of healthy people, healthy nature, and economic wealth. Yet population growth, climate change and a host of other threats are putting enormous pressure on these critical resources with far-reaching ramifications.Read more


Submitted by guest blogger on Sat,10/24/2015

By Vanja Westerberg of IUCN’s Global Economics and Social Science Programme.

Kicking off the recent 16th annual Biodiversity and Economics for Conservation (BIOECON) 2014 conference, keynote speaker, Professor Salzman, took us through a fascinating history of drinking water, showing the way in which societies have attempted to supply it in time and space. But for whom, in what quantity, when and at what price, if any, should potable water be supplied?Read more


Submitted by Rebecca Welling on Tue,10/13/2015

There is growing recognition that water security is critical for sustainable economic development, reducing poverty and adapting to climate change. Yet a key aspect often overlooked in efforts to meet this fundamental need is the role played by ecosystems such as rivers, floodplains and wetlands – or ‘natural infrastructure’.

This is where the WISE-UP project, led by IUCN, comes in. It shows the value of natural infrastructure as a ‘nature-based solution’ for climate change adaptation and sustainable development. As the impacts of rainfall variability, along with population and economic growth, increase competition for water, solutions are needed that maximise the benefits provided by the basin – food, water for irrigation and energy production and so on – whilst maintaining the needs of the basin ecosystem itself.

Focussing on the Volta and Tana River basins of West and East Africa respectively, WISE-UP works with decision makers, encouraging them to consider solutions that are based on both natural and built infrastructure (including dams and irrigation channels).

Dialogue with decision makers to identify and agree trade-offs lead to conversations on more equitable and effective solutions that suit all stakeholders including farmers, local communities and government agencies. However, these conversations need the right tools and knowledge to integrate natural infrastructure into future planning and investment choices, together with the latest climate information to understand the future pressures on river basins.

Key questions arise in these conversations: are the initial project findings relevant to stakeholder needs? Is the research accessible, communicable, and applicable for key decision makers? Is there anything that project partners feel that hasn’t adequately been covered? 

Some of these questions were raised at the recent ‘action learning’ meetings held in Nairobi and Accra, led by our partners, the African Collaborative Center for Earth System Sciences (ACCESS) – University of...Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Mon,09/21/2015

By Jerome Koundouno of IUCN’s Office for West and Central Africa.

The recent Stockholm World Water Week provided plenty of opportunities to explore the links between water and land rights, and the importance of these rights for ensuring sustainable development at both local and national level.

This was my second time at World Water Week. As regional coordinator of the Global Water Initiative (GWI) in West Africa, based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, I travelled to Stockholm with colleagues from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and partners from Mali and Senegal.

‘Water for development’, the theme that set the scene for this year’s conference, made the link with two big events on development and climate: the Sustainable Development Summit taking place next week in New York and the UN climate change conference in Paris in December. As a result, many of the sessions and workshops were about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to ensure water is thoroughly integrated into the expected climate agreement.

This year’s theme fitted particularly well with our GWI work in West Africa on how to make large water infrastructure – especially dams and irrigation schemes – better in terms of benefit sharing and food security for local people. We presented a side event ‘Toward economically viable and socially just dams in West Africa’ in collaboration with representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR, a Senegalese think tank) and local communities of the Niger River Basin.

Women working in irrigated rice fields in Bagre, Burkina Faso © Global Water Initiative

Women working in irrigated rice fields in Bagre, Burkina Faso © Global Water Initiative

...Read more