UNDP Launches Interactive Website on the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Development Programme launched an interactive website on stories behind the Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for building sustainable communities. Sustainable Development Goal 6 is “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”  Stories included on the new website explain what it was like for people to have access to nearby potable water for the first time.

The full set of 17 goals is a blueprint to transform our world within a single generation. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from ending poverty to protecting human rights, the website asks visitors to join the journey to 2030.

Developing Local Capacity in Armenia to Make Better Decisions with Data

Making better decisions using geographic information systems and contextual tools for mapping was the topic of a five-day training starting Jan. 15, 2018, under the USAID-funded ASPIRED Project under the WADI IDIQ.

The training on Stratigraphic and Groundwater Modeling with Arc Hydro Groundwater (AHGW), Groundwater Modeling System (GMS), and MODFLOW software applications was delivered by U.S.-based AQUAVEO, which provides GIS-based software solutions for hydraulic, hydrologic and groundwater modeling. AQUAVEO is responsible for the development, distribution, training, and technical support for the AHGW and GIS data model and tools.

Course participants are specialists from the ASPIRED Project, Water Resources Management Agency and Environmental Monitoring and Information Center of the Armenian Ministry of Nature Protection (MNP). Various academic institutions including the American University of Armenia, Yerevan State University, Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia International Agribusiness Teaching Center/National Agrarian University also participated. The current course builds on the GIS training for beginners conducted by an ASPIRED GIS specialist for the MNP staff in December 2017. More advanced GIS specialists will be coached to serve as trainers in the future.

ME&A implements the Advanced Science and Partnerships for Integrated Resource Development (ASPIRED) Project for the USAID Mission in Armenia. Begun in September 2015, ASPIRED is designed to support sustainable water resource management and sustainable practices of water users at the core of the water-energy nexus through the use of science, technology, innovation and partnerships approaches. The goal is to reduce the rate of groundwater extraction in Armenia’s Ararat Valley to sustainable levels.

World Oceans Day Focuses on Mobilizing the World to End Plastic Pollution

World Oceans Day 2018 is being celebrated around the world with the theme: “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean” on Friday, June 8, 2018.

The purpose of the Day, observed by all United Nations member countries, is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

“Everyone needs to play a part. You can make a difference today—and every day—by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Plastic pollution was chosen as the theme for 2018 because of the tremendous harm it is causing to the world’s marine resources:

  • 80% of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic per year ends up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism.
    Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year.
  • Fish eat plastic, and we eat the fish.
  • Plastic causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.

Visit the World Oceans Day website for more information on the annual celebration.


United Nations World Water Day Is March 22: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

World Water Day 2018 will be celebrated on March 22. This year’s theme, Nature for Water, explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st Century. Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises we see around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.

When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water—the United Nation’s inter-agency collaboration mechanism for all freshwater related issues—in collaboration with governments and partners. Here are some critical facts about the world’s water provided by the UN:

  • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. (Sato et al, 2013)
  • 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. (WHO/UNICEF 2014/WHO 2014)
  • The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

ararat-valleyThe USAID Mission in Armenia awarded ME&A the Advanced Science & Partnerships for Integrated Resource Development (ASPIRED) Project in September 2015. This four-year program supports sustainable water resource management and sustainable practices of water users at the core of the water-energy nexus through the use of science, technology, innovation and partnerships approaches in Armenia. The goal is to reduce the rate of groundwater extraction in Armenia’s Ararat Valley to sustainable levels.

Under ASPIRED, ME&A also collaborates with the USAID/Global Development LAB/Center for Data, Analysis and Research (DAR), the US Geological Survey and other relevant institutions to pilot innovative technologies for water conservation and fish farms; establish transformational partnerships; and promote evidence- and science-based water resource monitoring, planning and management. ME&A also collaborates with the private sector, academia and other donors to leverage their resources and expertise in Armenian water and energy sector.

The ASPIRED project builds on the success of the Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP), which ME&A implemented for USAID/Armenia from the fall of 2011 to its completion in September 2015.

USAID/Armenia awarded ASPIRED to ME&A under the Water and Development IDIQ (WADI) to provide USAID’s E3 Bureau with services and technical support to assist USAID’s Missions, Bureaus and Offices worldwide in the implementation of the Agency’s Water and Development Strategy.

World Water Day 2015

“A day to celebrate, a day to change, a day to prepare.”

WWD_en copieHappy World Water Day! The theme of World Water Day this year is “Water and Sustainable Development”, ME&A, through its projects – the Water Sector Communication and Knowledge Management (WS/CKM) project, and the Clean Energy and Water Program in Armenia– is pleased to support USAID and its Water Office on this special occasion.

The WSCKM program has been providing support to showcase USAID’s water efforts around the world. ME&A researched, wrote, and designed the recent issue of Global Waters magazine on the Water Strategy topics of WASH-Nutrition, water quality, sustainability of WASH services, sanitation, and agricultural water management. ME&A provided logistical and content support for a new USAID video of American Olympic Gold Medal swimmers Missy Franklin and Nathan Adrian bringing to light the issues of women and water across the globe.

ME&A also supported USAID’s efforts to publish a new World Water Day page on USAID’s website to provide information about the Global Water Coordinator’s World Water Day blog, the new video, social media, and a new case example about urban sanitation in Kenya.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 as the first World Water Day. Twenty-two years later, World Water Day is celebrated around the world. This year’s theme is all about how water links to all areas of development to create a sustainable future. For more information on World Water Day go to www.unwater.org 

Since 2005, ME&A has been providing innovative solutions to integrated Water and Natural Resources Management incorporating the latest technologies including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and computer modeling to help its clients improve water resources, address climate change, develop clean energy and help communities to achieve food security and better hygiene standards.

For more information on ME&A as well as our Water and Natural Resources Management platform please click here!

Tajikistan Safe Drinking Water Project

Funded by USAID, the Tajikistan Safe Drinking Water Project (TSDWP) provided water infrastructure, related  health education, and training and development of new POU strategies for safe drinking water in rural communities in Tajikistan. The goals of the project were to:

  1. Increase access to a sustainable, safe drinking water supply in rural Tajikistan through support for improvements in supply infrastructure, enhanced local government capacity, and community involvement in the operation and management of this infrastructure
  2. Build capacity among local health officials, community leaders, and the private sector to promote key improved hygiene behaviors and associated products

By continuing to provide a high level of expertise, ME&A has worked to improve the long-term technical and financial sustainability of potable water supply, making the Tajikistan Safe Drinking Water Project one of the many development projects supported in Tajikistan by USAID.

Armenia Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP)

ME&A carried out the Armenia Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP) for USAID in Armenia from 2011 through to 2015. The program was designed to support the country’s  water and energy  security and improve climate resilience by providing technical assistance to support activities on integrated energy and water planning. It also worked at the community-level to improve energy and water management practices through capacity building and the implementation of small-scale pilot projects.

This program, which began in the fall of 2011, introduced an integrated approach to sustainable energy and water management. It helped local communities and enterprises in selected water basins improve the accessibility, reliability, quality, efficiency, and affordability of energy and water services. In addition, it worked to improve and strengthen the application of hydropower and water regulations throughout Armenia.

The CEWP project was funded through USAID’s Water II IQC. To get more information visit www.cew.am and follow the project on facebook.

Evaluation of USAID’s SUWASA Project

img_3508 800x600In October 2013, ME&A completed the mid-term evaluation of USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) Project performed in eight sub-Saharan countries.

During 10 days in August 2013, the ME&A evaluation team traveled to Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan to conduct fieldwork, meet with stakeholders and visit project sites. They also conducted a desk review and additional research to evaluate the project’s performance in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.

For the SUWASA review, ME&A assembled a team of four international water experts to evaluate the project’s performance so far, and to assess its ability to integrate other complementary development activities as wells as its effectiveness at improving sector performance.

Began in September 2009, this four-year project was designed to support these eight African nations in developing sufficient regulatory and corporate governance structure for local utilities that will be technically and financially capable of providing quality water and sanitation services to their citizens.

Since 2010, ME&A has conducted more than 45 evaluations for USAID and the U.S. Department of State in over 25 countries worldwide.