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Pacific
Institute Online Update for December 2002


Institute
Applauds UN Call for Human Right to Water

The
Pacific Institute applauded a new effort by the
United Nations to enshrine a “human right”
to water in international law. At the end of November,
the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights adopted language that establishes
a “human right to drinking water” while
noting that, “sufficient and safe drinking
water is a precondition for the realization of all
human rights.”
2
to 5 million people — mostly children — die from
preventable, water-related diseases every year.
According to a recent report
released by the Pacific Institute, 76 million people
could perish from tainted drinking water by 2020
— even if current UN goals are attained. “The
Human Right to Water,” an influential paper
by Peter H. Gleick that makes the case for treating
water as a human right is also available online
without charge.

Pacific
Institute Hosts Multi-State Working Group Workshop

On
November 21-22 at the California Environmental Protection
Agency headquarters in Sacramento, the Pacific Institute
and Cal EPA successfully held a multi-stakeholder
roundtable workshop, “Tools to Improve Environmental
Performance: Expectations and Obstacles.” Attended
by approximately 70 representatives from government,
industry, environmental organizations, and academia,
the two-day facilitated workshop served as the foundation
for future programs of the National Policy Academy.
The National Policy Academy is being established
by the Multi-State Working Group, in conjunction
with Council of State Governments, to seek comprehensive
and systematic approaches to managing the environmental
and natural resource challenges of the next 20 years.
The proceedings document will be available in January
2003; more information about our work is available
online.

Pacific
Institute Helps Reduce Conflict in Former Soviet
Union

During
the first week of November, the Pacific Institute
and Oregon State University hosted a groundbreaking
meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia to reduce the risks
of conflicts over water in the Kura-Araks River
Basin. The Kura-Araks river is shared by Armenia,
Azerbaijan, and Georgia and is currently threatened
by overuse, contamination, and conflicts over management
and control. The meeting was a great success —
bringing the disputing parties together in a neutral
format and beginning the first real discussion of
joint basin management for the region. More information
about our work on environment and security can be
found online.


November
Staff Updates

11/19/02
Dana Haasz, Meena Palaniappan, and Peter Gleick
attended a meeting of the Environmental Justice
Water Coalition to talk about water privatization,
the risks to California communities, and how the
coalition should become involved.

11/14/02
Mike Kiparsky and Peter Gleick attended a meeting
at the Department of Water Resources on how best
to integrate climate change into the next California
Water Plan. This is the first time DWR has committed
to reviewing and — we hope — addressing, the risks
climate change poses to California’s water supply.

11/14/02
Jason Morrison attended a meeting of U.S. standards
experts working to develop national comments and
positions on the draft international standard on
environmental communications (ISO 14063). The meeting
was held in Washington, D.C.

In
mid-November Jason Morrison accepted the
invitation of the National Biosolids Partnership
to serve as a member of its EMS Initiative Appeals
Board. The nine-member Board is being established
to provide an independent appeals process that provides
EMS program participants in the wastewater sector
the formal ability to question an EMS auditor’s
verification determination.


William C.G. Burns, gave two presentations at Santa
Clara University in mid-November. One was
on the future of the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change after New Delhi; the other was
on the Impacts of Climate Change on Small Island
Nations in the Pacific.

11/13/02
Peter H. Gleick gave a presentation on the connections
between environment, development, and security to
the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Environmental Change and Security Project’s awards
dinner held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
William Draper, former director of the UN Development
Programme, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, and
former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry were among
the attendees.

Upcoming

12/11/02
Dana Haasz, Research Associate, will give a presentation
on water conservation policies and projects in California
to the WATERSAVE Network’s Fourth Meeting at Loughborough
University in Leicestershire, UK. For more information
or to RSVP contact Watersave
Network.

12/17/02,
1-5pm
The Environmental Justice Water Coalition
(EJWC) and the Pacific Institute will hold a meeting
and workshop to discuss how communities’ water-related
needs can be met by Proposition 50, which will be
introduced in the California Legislature in 2003.
The workshop will outline the process for introducing
community concerns into the bill and will discuss
how community groups can gain funding for local
projects and programs. For more information, or
to RSVP, please contact: Paola Ramos at (415) 284-7223.

1/8/03
William C.G. Burns, an Affiliate with the Pacific
Institute, will speak on the topic of “National
and Local Responses to Climate Change” at the
City of Oakland Environmental Lunchtime Lecture
Series.


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Copyright
2002 Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment, and Security