The global water crisis is under discussion in Brasilia

Brasilia welcomes from Sunday the World Water Forum, to try to find solutions to supply problems of growing concern and affecting already several cities in the world, including Cape Town.

Nearly 40,000 people are expected in the capital of Brazil for this eighth edition of the Forum, including about fifteen heads of state, 300 mayors of cities around the world, and several dozen scientists and environmental activists, up to on March 23.

Global warming, river pollution, overconsumption of private individuals, farmers and industrialists: a source of life, water is threatened everywhere.

"There are more dams, more vehicles, more production and more inhabitants, for measures of protection still very weak compared to the impact already felt ", explains to AFP Ney Maranhao, director of the National Agency of Water (ANA), organization Brazilian regulator.

Monday, Unesco must make public in Brasilia its annual report entitled "Solutions based on nature, for water."

For the director of the forum, Ricardo Medeiros, the question of water must be thought beyond the purely environmental aspect

 The 45 countries in water scarcity in the world (AFP - Thomas SAINT-CRICQ)

The 45 countries in water scarcity in the world (AFP – Thomas SAINT-CRICQ)

"It is now necessary to go beyond the traditional speech evoking an essential element of life, to recognize it as an engine of development", added this engineer, member of the World Water Council, NGO based in Marseille (South of France) which organizes the forum every three years

"It is clear that the traditional speeches do not work", adds Coling Strong, American specialist author of a report on the public management global water problems

"We can manage a situation drought if we have a plan beforehand to respond to the crisis. But if cities do not have the means to respond to supply problems, there will be other situations like Cape Town, "he says.

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More than a quarter of renewable water resources (which do not include Antarctic ice, about 60% of the planet's reserves) are found in Latin America, compared to 60 times less in the Middle East and North Africa, regions with critical per capita resources.

Experts are concerned about possible extinction, in a few days ten years ago, aquifer reserves in part of the Ganges basin in India, southern Spain and Italy, or in the central valley of California.

Brazil, where 18% of the planet's drinking water is also hit hard by global warming. Some areas in the north-east of the country have been affected by the longest drought in their history since 2012.

"Water must be an element that unites communities, nations, not the motive for World War III, as some say, aims to share good practices, solutions and experiences, to boost cooperation between countries, "says Ricardo Medeiros.

The Cape economy already hit hard by the water crisis

In the middle of her Cape Town property, Marlize Jacobs worries. The historic drought in the second largest city in South Africa has put its vineyards to the test and is now threatening to jeopardize all its activity.

"Our tonnage retreats for the fourth year in a row and the shortage of wine threatens ", laments the viticulturist, installed for more than ten years on the usually green hillsides of Vergenoegd.

" The costs related to water have almost doubled, "she sighs," we do not use that the water strictly necessary to keep the vines alive, not a drop more. "

Cape Town and its region have suffered for three years from an exceptional drought that deprived them of most of their rains. winter.

The threat of the famous "Zero Day" or "without tap water" and the prospect of a rationing of populations, agitated for months by the authorities, was rejected for this year at the price of a drastic reduction of private consumption.

Resides They use more than two-thirds (70%) of the water consumed by the city, but the economy has not been spared by the necessary restrictions on consumption.

 Cape Town water crisis (AFP - Kun TIAN)

Water Crisis in Cape Town (AFP – Kun TIAN)

In January, the rating agency Moody's warned that it would degrade without hesitation the agglomeration at the disgraceful level of investment "speculative" if the water crisis was prolonged.

Most optimistic, the authorities of the Western Cape Province conceded that "the persistent drought has degraded (its) growth forecasts relative to those of the rest of the country and now threatens the level of employment. "

– Rising prices –

Agriculture and especially viticulture, which is the prestige of the Captonian hinterland and employs tens of thousands of employees, are subjected to severe test.

The decline of its activities because of drying Among other factors, eresse contributed to plunge South Africa into a "technical" recession in early 2017. Since then, the sector has been on the rise and the region has breathed a sigh of relief.

In 2016, the region only 20% of the wine and 16% of the fruit juice consumed in other African countries. The vineyards also drain a large contingent of foreign visitors to the region, the flow of which is vital: the tourism sector provides 300,000 jobs to the region.

 In St. James, 25 km from downtown Cape Town, residents live supplying drinking water on January 19, 2018 (AFP / Archives - RODGER BOSCH)

In St. James, 25 km from downtown Cape Town, residents get fresh water on January 19, 2018 (AFP / Archives – RODGER BOSCH)

Another sector affected, that of public works. Some shipyards could only be completed through distant water deliveries. The others were purely and simply suspended.

The Rabie group now uses wastewater to manufacture its cement on the Cape shipyards, at the cost of a logistical extra cost. "It increases the price of construction," sums up his boss Miguel Rodrigues.

In 2016 already, 94% of local businesses had listed lack of water as a risk for their activities.

Unlike individuals, However, as far as possible, professionals have been spared the daily consumption limits strongly suggested by the authorities.

– Strategies –

"The point is to avoid creating another crisis in the crisis", pleads the elected official in charge of security at the municipality, JP Smith, "the public works sector is already very fragile, if you cut off the water you are clearly endangering employment."

To convince consumers To reduce their use of water, the municipality even used university experts in behavioral sciences to develop the best strategy of persuasion or encouragement.

With success, apparently, since she ap to reduce personal consumption by 60% in three years

The industrialists themselves have developed alternative strategies to save water.

Engineer at the Koeberg nuclear power plant, 30 km north of Cape Town, Christopher Smith says he has developed a seawater desalination plant for use in reactor cooling systems.

"We had no choice, we had to take the bull by the horns, "he says.

AB InBev's local beer plant executive declined to comment on the drought's impact on its operations, but other players in the sector have all confided that a "Day zero" would be catastrophic.

"If there is no more water, the entire catering industry will die", summarizes without frills Raphael Clistini, a South African 28 years old who opens bars all over the world

In his new bar Cape docks, it serves a gin produced in a distillery in the city that may soon be forced to bring its water from Johannesburg, 1400 km away.

"It will still drive up prices," sighs he already.

Rohingya Crisis, Myanmar Military Commander Receives Thailand Award

 The Myanmar Military Commander, Min Aung Hlaing, received an honorary award from Thailand amid the Rohingya crisis that blanketed his country. Military forces Min Aung Hlaing has also been accused by the UN for ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine.

Global criticism rains on Myanmar since a military operation was held in Rakhine on 25 August 2017. The military operation was reportedly violent and triggered an exodus of 700,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi bore criticism, criticism and global outrage. Even the various awards and honors Suu Kyi received as a political prisoner, were revoked because of the Rohingya crisis.

However, as reported by AFP Friday (16/2/2018), Myanmar Military Commander, General Senior Min Aung Hlaing, who controls the military and oversees the 'cleaning operation' at Rakhine, receives an award from the Kingdom of Thailand.

Royal Gazette newspaper reported that Min Aung Hlaing was nominated for a royal award by Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn on 21 August 2017, just days before a military operation was held in Rakhine, Myanmar.

"For support and services for the Thai military," the Royal Gazette said in its report, referring to the reason for awarding Min Aung Hlaing.

Min Aung Hlaing attach a photo on his official Facebook account, which shows himself smiling after receiving an award from the Royal Thai in Bangkok. The award he received was named 'Knight Grand Cross First Class of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant'.

He also took pictures with the Royal Thai Armed Forces Commander, General Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan. The Royal Thai Armed Forces in a statement said the award was given to 'show close and long-standing relations' between the two countries.

But Fortify Rights human rights activity Matt Smith called Thailand should support calls for justice to be upheld in Myanmar rather than rewarding his top military officer.

"This is the man responsible for the military atrocities committed by the military with full impunity," Smith said. He referred to various violent practices, such as murder and rape, by the Myanmar military against Rohingya as reported by the United Nations.

Thailand defends its decision to reward Min Aung Hlaing. "This is a tradition of giving royal honors to the supreme commander of foreign countries," said a spokesman for the Thai Defense Ministry, Lieutenant General Kongcheep Tantravanich.

(nvc / imk)

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The Maldivian Political Crisis Can Get Bader

UN Assistant Secretary General Miroslav Jenca told the UN Security Council hearing Thursday that the situation in the Maldives Republic could worsen following President Abdulla Yameen's decision to impose a state of emergency, AFP reported Friday (9/2) .

The UN Security Council held a closed-door session discussing a crisis triggered by President Yameen's actions arresting several judges ordering the release of presidential political enemies. This is the first time the UN Security Council has discussed the crisis since it broke out on February 1. But the UN Security Council did not issue a statement after the meeting.

The crisis began when the Supreme Court freed former president and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, along with eight other political prisoners, from prison. Nasheed then exiled himself abroad.

Four days after the Supreme Court's order Yameen imposed a state of emergency and ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The United Nations Secretary General urged Yameen to lift the emergency while the head of the UN Human Rights Council Zeid Ra ' ad Al Hussein described Yameen's actions as "a full-fledged attack on democracy."

The United Nations says it is willing to help overcome the crisis.

Yameen refused to meet with EU, German and British diplomats on Thursday. [al/as]

Eight Countries Urge UN to Discuss Rohingyas Crisis

Britain, France, America along with five other countries on Wednesday (7/2), called on the UN Security Council to discuss the fate of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees expelled from Myanmar, [AFP]

The Security Council will convene Tuesday (13/2) ) to hear the report of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi about the crisis caused by the military crackdown in Rakhine, Myanmar in August last year.

The other five countries are Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Equatorial Guinea .

The hearing was held nearly three months after the Security Council issued a statement requesting Myanmar to control its security forces and allow refugees to return to their hometowns. More than 750,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar whose Buddhist majority is predominant. Refugees accuse the army of killing, raping and burning their villages.

Last month Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to repatriate Rohingya refugees within two years. But the United Nations expressed concern that UNHCR was not involved in the deal.

Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said the Myanmar government refused the arrival of Security Council envoys to Rakhine on the grounds that 'the timing was not right'. [as/al]