Foreningen for Internasjonale Vannstudier (Association for International Water Studies) - FIVAS
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Foreningen for Internasjonale Vannstudier (Association for International Water Studies) - FIVAS
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Infrastructure (2 hits),

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FIVAS - The Association for International Water studies

Contribution for the Rio+20 Compilation Document

Food and water Security

There are today 2.6 billion people lacking access to improved sanitation, out of these are 1 billion slum dwellers without access to toilet facilities. 1 in 7 lack access to clean drinking water. The MDG on safe drinking water and sanitation is among those furthest away from fulfilment. Water is a global common good, shared by current and coming generations. Protection of source water and the integrity of hydrological cycles are key to a sustainable water usage. We strongly support the call of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation in stressing the value of applying a human rights framework. Access to improved sanitation and safe drinking water are key to health and to economic development. Good management of water and sanitation underpins sustainable developments social, economic and environmental pillars.

Agriculture is responsible for 70 % of all freshwater withdrawals. More food must be made with less water. Agriculture must therefore be the focus for means of water conservation in all areas facing or approaching water scarcity. It is imperative that water systems for farming, both in irrigation and livestock care become more efficient.

Water based sanitation is costly to install and dependent on scarce water resources. Development of Productive Sanitation could hugely improve the process of providing improved sanitation by bypassing or alleviating the problems of high investment cost and water intensity associated with traditional sewage-based systems. CLTS - community led total sanitation is a tried and effective bottom up approach to productive sanitation which includes a focus on changing habits and a culture of good sanitation which is a prerequisite to health effects of sanitation projects.

Ensuring universal access to sanitation and safe drinking water through the adoption of plans for accelerated implementation of all dimensions of the human right to water and sanitation are therefore necessary.


- Low-impact solutions such as mechanic treadle pumps, drip irrigation, decentralized rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharging should be made priority of international organizations and national governments redirecting resources from high impact large scale projects.

- Strengthening water, energy and food security for the poorest population groups requires a shift of financial resources, research and institutional support from large, centralized projects to decentralized, small-scale projects that can be managed at the local level.

- Innovative mechanisms, including smart subsidies, should be implemented to ensure sanitation provision for the very poor.

- Supporting government policies for sustainable financing of water Infrastructure, such as tax financing and cross-subsidies, are important in transnational and national processes.

Energy Security Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Hydropower will make up a considerable proportion of renewable energy. It is vital for environmental sustainability that an investment in renewable energy is paralleled by an investment in energy efficiency. Large hydropower construction is costly and has adverse consequences for subsistence, bio diversity and commercial fisheries. Large Dams are also empirically known to under deliver on goals of energy generation. Dams are also found to cause emission of greenhouses gasses several decades after their construction, in tropical areas potentially at dual the rate of coal plants on a kWh basis.

Building large dams and other centralised water and energy projects may still be appropriate under certain conditions. Mandatory guidelines on environmental and social aspects are a prerequisite, the guidelines recommended by the World Commission on Dams are the most appropriate framework for decision making on water and energy projects. Future development strategies need to include this framework.

Wind, small hydro, solar and geothermal technologies represent good alternatives for small scale bottom up energy projects. These projects empower poor people and promote climate resilience. There needs to be a recognising that small scale energy projects are not intended to meet the same generating capacity as large scale projects, but are an alternative approach based on the principles of sustainability and empowerment.


- Before energy programs are initiated national governments and international organizations should carry out participatory assessments of all needs and options including the including the principles of Free and Prior Informed Consent. These assessments should integrate social, environmental and economic aspects with equal weight.

- Low impact solutions, such as small scale projects and energy efficiency, should be made priority of international organizations and national governments redirecting resources from high impact large scale projects.

- Intergovernmental organizations and national governments should ensure the use of mandatory social and environmental standards for project selection and implementation.

- Intergovernmental organizations, national governments and parliaments should explicitly acknowledge and guarantee the customary and formal rights of local communities to their land, water, forests and other resources in their Infrastructure strategies. This includes the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior informed consent (FPIC) regarding projects on their lands.
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