The Daily Star: Bangladesh firm to ensure RMG compliance

NEWS SOURCE: The Daily Star

BSS, Davos, Switzerland.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government was highly committed to ensuring compliance with regard to the readymade garment (RMG) industry.

“The contribution of the apparel and textile industry to our economy is immense. We are highly committed to ensure compliance with regard to labour rights, workplace safety and environmental standard in the industry,” she said.

The PM was replying to questions at a workshop titled “Shaping a New Water Economy” at the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum at Congress Centre here.

Hasina said Bangladesh’s RMG industry achieved higher compliance standards in terms of wages, workplace safety, norms, practices and harmonious industrial relations.

“There has been a 77 percent increase in basic wage.

Assessment of all the 3,780 factories as recommended by global brands and retailers has been completed,” she added.

Andrew Steer, president and CEO of World Research Institute, moderated the workshop attended by heads of state and government of different countries.

The PM said Bangladesh is the second largest apparel and textile exporting country in the world. The sector employs 4.5 million workers, of which 80 percent are women. The industry accounts for 83 percent of the country’s total exports.

“We are supporting the industry to ‘go green’. Today, Bangladesh has 38 LEED certified factories. Out of the world’s top 10 green factories, seven are in Bangladesh,” she pointed out.

The premier said since 2015, the Bangladesh government has been working with 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) to achieve 100 percent wastewater treatment and increase water use efficiency as per international benchmarks in the country’s apparel sector.

PM JOINS WEF MEETING

World leaders, including Sheikh Hasina, gathered in Davos as the 47th Annual Meeting of the WEF kicked off yesterday.

The four-day meeting began at Congress Centre in Davos under the theme “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.

President Xi Jinping of China opened the proceedings of the meeting. Hasina along with other heads of government and state joined the opening plenary and other events of the meeting.

Heads of state and government of 45 countries joined the meeting which began with a welcome address by WEF founder Klaus Schwab and felicitation of celebrity singer Shakira, among others, for her work towards promoting education.

On the sidelines of the forum, Hasina had informal interaction with the Chinese and Swiss presidents yesterday.

The WEF is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologne, Geneva. Its mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas”.

The Financial Express: ‘Govt firm on RMG sector compliance’

News Source: The Financial Express

HONORABLE PRIME MINISTER SHEIKH HASINA AFFIRMS HER COMMITMENT TO 2030 WRG’S BANGLADESH PROGRAM AT THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 2017 IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND

Anders Berntell, Executive Director, 2030 Water Resources Group; Sheik Hasina, Prime Minister, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh; Fernando Zavala, Prime Minister, Peru & Nomvula Mokonyane Water and Sanitation Minister

 

DAVOS (Switzerland), Jan 17 (BSS): Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Tuesday her government was highly committed to ensuring compliance in the readymade garment (RMG) sector, reports BSS.

“The contribution of apparel and textile industry to our economy is immense. We are highly committed to ensure compliance with regard to labour rights, workplace safety and environmental standard in the industry,” she said. The premier also said Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector achieved higher compliance standards in terms of wages, workplace safety, norms, practices and harmonious industrial relations. “There has been a 77% increase in basic wage. Assessment of all the 3780 factories as recommended by global brands and retailers has been completed,” she said.

The Prime Minister was replying to questions at the workshop on “Shaping a New Water Economy” in the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum at Congress Centre here. President and CEO of World Research Institute Andrew Steer moderated the workshop attended by heads of state and government of different countries participating in the WEF. Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is the second largest apparel and textile exporting country in the world. “The sector employs 4.5 million workers, of which 80 per cent are women. The industry accounts for 83% of our total exports,” she said. The premier said the factories were now working hand-in-hand with global brands and retailers to ensure international standards. Every factory had an Occupational Safety Committee where employers and workers were working together, she said.

“We are supporting the industry to ‘go green’. Today, Bangladesh has LEED certified 38 factories. Out of the world’s top 10 ranked green factories, 7 are in Bangladesh.” The Prime Minister said since 2015, Bangladesh Government had been working with 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG), more specifically, to achieve 100% wastewater treatment and increase water use efficiency as per international benchmarks in the apparel sector. She said, “Our work with 2030 WRG” is focusing on the following areas:

  • Mobilising and facilitating large-scale finance for wastewater treatment infrastructure;
  • Enhancing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for wastewater treatment, recycling and efficient use;
  • Establishing a valuation methodology for water use across Bangladesh;
  • Improving institutional setup for water resources management,
  • Increasing private sector and civil society participation in water governance.

As a member of the High-Level Panel on Water, she said, she was committed to innovating frameworks like 2030 WRG.

UNB adds, earlier the Prime Minister along with other global leaders gathered here on Tuesday as the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) began.

The four-day meeting began at Congress Centre in Davos, a mountain resort at Graubünden in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland, under the theme ‘Responsive and Responsible Leadership’. On the sidelines of the forum, Sheikh Hasina had also informal interaction with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Swiss President Doris Leuthard. The Chinese President, who was accompanied by the largest delegation of his country since its first participation in an annual meeting in 1979, opened the meeting proceedings. In his speech, the Chinese President said economic globalisation powered worldwide growth and it should not be blamed for the world’s problems. In an attack on the anti-globalisation rhetoric that has led to the election of Donald Trump as the US President and the Brexit vote in the UK, he told a packed audience: “It’s true that economic globalisation created new problems but there’s no justification to write off economic globalisation altogether. Rather we should adapt to and guide economic globalisation, cushion its negative impacts and deliver its benefits for all countries.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the opening plenary and other events of the meeting along with other heads of government and state. Before the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum, WEF Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwann called on Sheikh Hasina.

 

WEF: To achieve the SDGs, the world must work together

News Source: WEF
By: PAUL BULCKE, Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman-designate, Nestlé
Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In contrast to the UN Millennium Development Goals agreed in 2000, the private sector was given the opportunity to provide input and help elaborate the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly. It is only natural that the private sector must, in turn, assume a shared responsibility, in partnership with all other actors in society, to achieve these goals. We have expertise, knowledge and capacity at all levels to contribute to their achievement, especially at the country and community levels.

Moreover, a business can only be successful over time and create value for its shareholders if it also creates value for society as well. At Nestlé, we call this Creating Shared Value. From my perspective, a Creating Shared Value lens can help mobilize companies to identify and focus specific business efforts in support of the SDGs.

Let me go into a bit more detail on what this means for us. First, I would argue that each company must identify those areas where they can have the most impact. For us, driven by our company purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future, our positive impact on society focuses on enabling healthier and happier lives for individuals and families, on helping the development of thriving and resilient communities and finally, on stewarding the planet’s natural resources for future generations.

Second, I would argue that each one of us should leverage their specific comparative advantage to deliver impact. The private sector can bring global scope and scale, implementation capacity, innovation and research capabilities, and efficiency in execution. It is up to each partner to identify how best they can contribute.

But third, and very importantly, we each have to think beyond our own direct operations and fields of activity. We live in an interconnected world and our futures are inextricably linked. For us, it is only through cross-sector, cross-industry and cross-society partnerships that we can scale the societal commitments to which we hold ourselves accountable. So we need to explore and establish dynamic partnerships that explicitly expand our boundaries, particularly at the national and local levels where the necessary flexibility allows us to address locally relevant issues.

The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) and the New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) are two examples of action-oriented multistakeholder partnerships with which we have been involved since their beginnings in the late 2000s. What they both provide is a neutral convening platform where country-level public, private and civil society stakeholders can come together for open discussion, the identification of sustainable solutions and ultimately, transformative change. They are an essential breeding ground for trust, which surely must be the first ingredient for any successful attempt to bring about sustained transformation.

Six years after the 2030 WRG was first incubated at the World Economic Forum to close the gap between water demand and supply by 2030, this public-private partnership is working in 11 countries or states, with 44 proposals for programmes and policies to be implemented – of which 14 are already under implementation – engaging over 500 country partners.

The NVA has engaged over 600 organizations across all stakeholders to simultaneously deliver food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. It has catalysed multi-stakeholder platforms in 21 countries across Africa, Asia and now Latin America and has, to date, reached over 10.5 million smallholder farmers.

We have learned many things from our experiences with these partnerships. First, it has become even clearer that we cannot achieve system-wide change alone. Actually, no one can do it alone. What we are able to do as a partnership builds on and strengthens what we can do by ourselves. Second, government commitment at all levels is an absolute prerequisite if there is to be real and sustainable impact on the ground. Third, trust is often enhanced through collaborative action at the national or local level where the locally relevant ambition or vision can be defined and a strong sense of pragmatism leveraged. The framework for country-led action developed by the NVA provides useful guidance on this approach.

There are a couple of key prerequisites too, notably having the right “values” frame and the right time frame. The latter – more specifically, a long-term framing – cannot be overemphasized. Transformative change takes time and a long-term framing induces the right values and approach across all stakeholders, often bringing them together. Looking forward, I am optimistic and excited. Since the two partnerships that I have outlined were born, we have come a long way. I look forward to continuing the journey we have started and delivering what we helped elaborate in 2030.

The 2030 Water Resources Group is a platform where public, private, multilateral, and nongovernmental-organization actors collaborate and work toward identifying solutions that increase water sustainability and efficiency. The secretariat of the 2030 Water Resources Group is currently being hosted by the IFC at its Headquarters in Washington D.C.

A participatory Hindon River Council was conceived in Meerut

hindon-vision-to-action-taking-it-forward_20th-oct_meeurt-meeti-004On October 20, 2016, about 25 representatives from local NGOs, private sector and academia came together in Meerut to discuss how to step up efforts to revive the Hindon River Basin. People traveled from the entire river basin area, ranging from Saharanpur to Ghaziabad. They decided to form a so-called Hindon River Council to strengthen collaboration across different stakeholder groups and administrative borders.

 The need was felt to capitalize on a basin-wide information sharing and knowledge exchange process initiated by the 2030 Water Resources Group and its partners in June 2016. Through the co-called Hindon Yatra Exhibition & Symposium series, a momentum has been generated to replicate and scale up actions which were already happening on the ground. As a result of the Hindon Yatra events about 15 tangible project proposals have been developed for a basin-wide “Vision to Action” Plan. The plan includes committed initiatives from community, industry, research and local administration to rejuvenate the Hindon river basin.

 The River Council will continue to build a pipeline of projects and ensure implementation on the ground in the next years. Cleaning up the entire basin will take at least until 2030 – if sufficient funds can be allocated and assuming that government, stakeholders and citizens would join forces. Another task of the Council will be to provide a feedback loop into the formal government process which is anchored in the Hindon Committee, chaired by Divisional Commissioners of Meerut and Saharanpur.

“India Water Partnership has agreed to function as Secretariat of the Hindon River Council. We will be happy to strengthen project implementation and would gladly continue to support the Council’s members with our knowledge and expertise“, said Dr. Veena Khanduri, Executive Secretary to India Water Partnership. The first constitutive River Basin Council meeting will be hosted in Ghaziabad on Saturday 10th of December 2016.

EPW: From Policy to Practice – Principles of Water Governance

Source: Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
By ROCHI KHEMKA (rkhemka@ifc.org), Regional Coordinator for Asia at the 2030 Water Resources Group
Posted: December 24, 2016


From Policy to Practice

Principles of Water Governance

The Mihir Shah Committee report lays a solid foundation for restructuring water governance in India. Yet, a few supplementary provisions could reinforce the report’s recommendations, nudging the effort towards improved water resources management.

Water in India is governed as a public good, with evolving yet disjointed awareness of its environmental, social and economic underpinnings. However, effective management of this limited resource requires a nexus approach to governance, which integrates the cause and effect of water on the environment, society and the economy. This necessitates a shift towards hydrological systems thinking and multi-stakeholder approaches. Furthermore, such approaches should be premised on data, knowledge, and information systems, which prioritize economic decision-making, currently missing in the water governance architecture of the country.

The recently submitted report of the Committee on Restructuring the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) proposes many critical reforms to water governance, particularly on the environmental and social axes of the trinity approach. When coupled with economic prioritization to focus on interventions with the highest benefit-to-cost ratio, particularly in view of fiscal constraints, the newly proposed National Water Commission (NWC) could well deliver on the “paradigm shift” articulated in the Twelfth Five Year Plan (Planning Commission 2012).

Logic of Hydro-logical Thinking

The first step to reform is understanding the challenge, in this case, the hydrological context. The 2030 Water Resources Group (2009) projects a 50% gap between water demand and water supply in India by 2030, amounting to over 755 billion cubic meters (Water Resources Group 2009). With constraints to further supply-side augmentation because of over-abstraction and overuse of water in multiple geographies, demand-side management plays a crucial role in closing this gap.

While accounting for the realities of political and administrative boundaries, there is a need for a greater focus on hydrological and agro-ecological scales to prioritize demand-side management, covering the continuum from sub-watersheds to river basins. The interconnectedness of surface and groundwater systems, on account of the hydrologic cycle, suggests developing integrated, as opposed to fragmented, surface and groundwater emphases. With detailed hydrological mapping, sufficient granularity may be established to cover the aggregation and disaggregation of scales from village-level micro-watersheds to multistate river basins. In other words, the starting point of water governance is a better understanding of water itself.

From Awareness to Strategy Formulation

The hydrological lens of water governance can develop into an operational system when supplemented with the tools of scientific data and analysis. Equipped with these systems, relevant stakeholders can undertake actions needed to counter water scarcity and pollution.

Nonetheless, data availability in India is currently fragmented, scattered across multiple agencies, and inadequate for sound decision-making. Moreover, data gaps exist, in particular, on the interconnectivity of rainwater, surface water, and groundwater, land use, environmental flows, ecosystems, socio-economic parameters, and demographics at the watershed level. Where available, the data is often not accessible.

To foster coordinated action for better demand-side management, ease of data access by all stakeholders is vital, covering real-time data sets, remote sensing technologies, and geographic information systems (GIS), in addition to historical data and projections on water availability and quality. Over and above raw data availability, data points require analysis to feed into information systems, which in turn foster knowledge systems for action at scale. The linkages between data, information, and knowledge systems, encapsulated in user-friendly interfaces, can form the basis for the development of response strategies.

Transparency of Water Flows: Multi-stakeholder Approaches

Data transparency lends itself to collaborative approaches, as also good governance. Governance structures uphold not only transparent mechanisms, but also inclusiveness, equity and accountability.

In view of multiple stakeholders influencing and affected by water flows, spanning farmers, urban communities, industry and government, any governance framework ought to supplement government structures with inclusive and transparent stakeholder processes for joint decision-making to achieve intended objectives. Thus, hydrological mapping and data sharing should be complemented with the establishment of stakeholder councils, and with balanced participation across stakeholder groups. Such councils offer a mechanism for protection of water resources by resolving conflicts between stakeholder groups, and developing a shared vision for the use of water resources to support economic growth, social development and environmental protection. Participatory approaches may be initiated for each river basin at a minimum, ideally with higher coverage for bigger river basins along key tributaries.

Proposed Restructuring

The Committee on Restructuring CWC and CGWB’s report suggests some essential reforms in the water governance framework of the country. Calling for participatory water governance, including aquifer-based approaches, the report rightly centers the restructuring on hydrological lines, proposing that the twin entities be transformed into a new NWC, covering both groundwater and surface water issues.

The NWC’s suggested multidisciplinary approach provides much-needed focus on water challenges outside those currently analyzed by the CWC and CGWB, but which have important implications for water sustainability, such as water quality, urban and industrial water management, and river basin management, among others. It is only through a unified, cross-sectoral approach that aquifer-based governance can offer successful mechanisms for countering groundwater depletion, and for maintaining surface water flows, and water quality. The proposal to establish a knowledge network to guide the NWC’s activities says the necessary apparatus must bring in thought leaders from relevant global and national organizations. This, combined with an ongoing capacity building initiative, promises to mainstream innovation in the DNA of the NWC.

Additionally, the recommendation for data-driven approaches lies at the core of participatory governance, whereby stakeholders are provided the scientific ammunition to assess local water issues for informed decision-making.

While the report lays a solid foundation for restructuring water governance in India, which merit inclusion by the government, a few supplementary pillars can reinforce the recommendations to shift the proverbial needle towards improved water resources management, as outlined below.

Watershed Vision and Planning

A primary step in this direction is the development of watershed vision documents, which highlight key goals for each watershed, prioritizing socio-economic development alongside ecological protection, which is often overlooked in water resources planning. For meaningful transformation, watersheds could be defined at the tributary scale for large river basins, such as the Ramganga and Hindon, or at a minimum of 1,00,000 hectares to promote strategic solutions thinking.

In addition to inputs from the NWC, the development of such watershed visions could crowdsource information from stakeholder councils or platforms, supported by NwC. Stakeholder involvement from the start simplifies the alignment of interests and initiation of actions.

Economic and Integrated Decision-making

Another important pillar of water governance relates to ensuring economically sound and cost-effective solutions. Hydro-economic analysis integrates the costs, benefits, and risks of various solutions, aimed at enhancing the economic productivity of water. Such analyses provide a common language for decision-makers to choose between policy choices and competing investments. For example, 80% of the projected water gap in 2030 can be closed by low-cost agricultural measures, including no-till farming, crop protection technologies, and reducing over-irrigation, among others. These measures obviate the need for expensive, supply-side interventions, such as the construction of dams, interlinking of rivers, and lift irrigation schemes, providing a net surplus both hydrologically and fiscally.

Hydro-economics is most effective in the analysis of opportunity costs. Circular economy solutions, such as recycling and reuse of water, emerge as favored solutions over freshwater abstraction, when economic feasibility is incorporated into hydrological assessments. In particular, integrated decision-making allows for an analysis of synergies and trade-offs between water, agriculture, energy, environment and livelihoods. Accounting for this nexus ensures the economy adopts a sustainable development pathway—socially, economically, and environmentally.

Technological improvements for water use efficiency and waste water management may serve as vehicles to accelerate economically effective transformation.

Governance reform needs to keep pace with technological advancements in agricultural, urban, and industrial water management. The NWC should institute an research and development (R&D) wing, which promotes technology acceleration across sectors in partnership with universities and research organizations. This wing could also work towards necessary financing solutions to promote technology use, mobilizing financial markets funds to supplement government subsidies where a business case for such funding exists. This would be particularly relevant in agriculture, where technology use leads to higher incomes through productivity increase, driving economic growth with water efficiency.

A related aspect links to agricultural market linkages, whereby partnerships with agribusiness companies are established to mitigate growing supply chain risks and reduce the indirect water footprint of agribusiness companies. Public-private-community partnerships are the cornerstone of programs such as Public Private Partnerships for Integrated Agricultural/Horticultural Development (PPP-IAD/PPP-IHD), promoted by the governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, among others. Such partnership models provide economic benefits to farmers and supply chain actors, and ensure sustainability of interventions, including effective utilization of the irrigation infrastructure created.

In addition to collaboration across communities and agribusiness companies, partnerships such as these demand cross-departmental government coordination, with the involvement of entities to do with water resources, agriculture, horticulture, rural development, and finance, among others. Early alignment with other departments will integrate the water dimension within agricultural demand-side management, with better upstream linkages to irrigation infrastructure and downstream linkages to markets, providing income enhancement opportunities for farmers. Considering 80% of freshwater is used for agricultural purposes in India, there is a need for systems thinking in the sector for water-efficient growth.

Urban and Industrial Water Business Models

Urban water management suffers from inadequate infrastructure. A staggering 78% of waste water is estimated to be untreated nationally (Center for Science and Environment 2016). Where such infrastructure exists, there is poor operations and maintenance, negating the effect of millions of rupees spent on infrastructure creation.

The proposed NWC Urban and Industrial Water Division could serve as an incubation cell for business models and revenue-generating opportunities, particularly for waste water treatment and reuse, evaluating the financial viability of reuse, proximity of reuse from the point of treatment, as also closed loop models, thereby promoting energy efficiency and nutrient recovery.

With the articulation of policy reform and institutional mechanisms, the crucial next step is supporting the implementation of solutions at scale. Effective implementation requires a combination of, first, behavior change by millions of individual households and farmers, as also industrial players, through decentralized solutions, and second, catalysts to enable such change.

The differentiating factor of catalysts is their transformative agenda, vision, and neutrality. Such development partners are a category distinct from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and often support partnerships across multiple community organizations to implement solutions. The NWC’s partnerships framework would benefit from including international and national catalysts to facilitate scalable solutions.

Effective implementation equally warrants a dedicated financial institution to support large-scale demand-side management and innovative financing—a “National Bank for Water Management,” a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-equivalent entity, exclusively mandated to support solutions for water sector transformation. The NWC proposal could brainstorm the creation of such an institution to prioritize water sector financing.

Adapting to (Climate) Change

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report (2016) lists failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation as the most significant risk by impact. The effects of climate change are increasingly recognized through its associated risks of financial, material, and ecological losses. A seminal World Bank report highlights the centrality of water to climate challenge, arguing that, “Achieving nearly every one of the SDGs [sustainable development goals] is dependent on solving the water problem” (World Bank 2016).

Ignoring climate challenge can undermine water sector investments and existing capacities. Addressing the challenge, on the other hand, requires a multi-pronged approach, which goes beyond forecasting climate change events to preparing the agrarian, urban, and industrial economies, as well as ecological functions, to respond to such events. It is estimated that 65% of projected climate change losses may be averted through cost-effective adaptation investments (ECA 2009).

In light of these issues, the NWC’s proposed Water Security Division would benefit from an expansion in role to cover Climate Adaptation. Commencing with vulnerability assessments and scenario modelling, the division’s responsibilities require surpassing such initial analyses to cover the design of effective policies and incentives for long-term climate change-oriented actions, channelization of capital flows to climate-resilient infrastructure, and formulation of appropriate responses to climate events. Although response strategies usually lean towards built or grey infrastructure, there is a growing body of work that highlights the benefits of nature-based solutions, providing ecosystem services along with safeguarding environmental systems.

Impact-based Monitoring

The above arsenal of information and knowledge systems, including climate adaptation tools, together with effective communications instruments, offer the dual advantage of prioritizing action, while providing a framework for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) through standardized metrics. Water governance, thus warrants ongoing M&E for assessing the success of interventions and undertaking corrective measures in case of shortfalls. A gradual move from outputs or rupee-based monitoring towards cubic meters- and impacts-based monitoring is indispensable for the effective design of solutions.

The alignment of science, stakeholders, and economics for governing a country’s water resources is a continuous process. A successful governance blueprint is one that provides the right foundation, along with the flexibility to adapt to changing priorities. This requires a delicate balance of combining top-down policy with bottom-up practice, institutional structures with stakeholder processes, and robust planning with course correction.

Navigating the arc from vision to action starts with recognizing the need for change. And this is where the proposed restructuring of water governance in India provides a welcome opening.

References

Center for Science and Environment (2016): Down to Earth.

ECA (2009): “Shaping Climate-resilient Development: A Framework for Decision-making.”

Planning Commission (2012): “Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth,” Vol 1, Twelfth Five Year Plan; http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/12thplan/welcome.html.

Water Resources Group (2009): Charting Our Water Future, 2030.

World Bank (2016): “High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy.”

– See more at: http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/52/water-governance/policy-practice.html

 

Innovative irrigation financing for smallholder farmers key to Kenya’s water-smart future

by PS Patrick Mwangi

Ministry Water and Irrigation

 

There is no disputing the importance of agriculture to Kenyan livelihoods and our economy. In 2014, Kenya imported food worth KES 114 billion. This figure is expected to increase to KES 200 billion by the end of 2016. Agriculture contributes approximately 28 percent of GDP, employs 75 percent of the national labor force and accounts for 65 percent of the country’s total exports. If we are serious about realizing our Vision 2030 goal of increasing agricultural production in the face of the country’s low water endowment, growing population and changing climate, we must focus our attention on two of the sector’s greatest contributors—water and smallholder farmers.

While we may agree upon the importance of water to our lives, we may not fully appreciate its fleeting nature if we do not manage our resources responsibly. If we maintain a business as usual approach to the way we manage our water resources, by the year 2030, Kenya will see a 30 percent gap between available water supply and demand. Expanding our agricultural production will therefore require we better manage our water resources to close this gap. Understanding how such resources are currently being used helps us decide the best way forward.

The agricultural sector is the largest user of water in Kenya. Of available water supply, about 60 percent of the country’s fresh water is used for agriculture. If we wish to expand the sector, it is imperative we work to improve agricultural water productivity by looking at water efficient technologies and practices. Given that less than 20 percent of Kenya’s arable land is suitable for rain fed agriculture, irrigation schemes, which currently cover only 2.4 percent of arable land, provide a more suitable solution.

We must therefore introduce farmers to new techniques, such as drip and sprinkler irrigation where appropriate. What many of us may not realize is that roughly 75 percent of Kenyan agricultural output is produced not by large scale agricultural companies, but by smallholder farmers. The role of these smallholders is therefore critical to attaining our goals.

While many larger companies have the resources to make their businesses more water efficient by investing in smarter irrigation systems, the majority of smallholders do not. Access to financing for the agriculture sector in Kenya, often perceived as risky, is extremely limited. A few banks and non-bank financial institutions, such as Barclays Bank, Equity Bank, Sidian Bank, formerly K-REP Bank, KCB, One Acre Fund and Umati Capital however, have taken initial steps to close the gap. These institutions are working to encourage investment in irrigation through traditional guarantees, supply chain financing, and group lending.

Compounding the lack of access to finance, is still reluctance and/or an inability on behalf of smallholder farmers to embrace more efficient irrigation technology. Further understanding of the benefits of efficient irrigation technologies and available options through capacity building is still needed to make this a reality. Successful interventions will therefore require an ecosystem approach that includes building awareness, developing financing mechanisms and connecting farmers to inputs and markets.

Invited by the government to help close the projected water gap, the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group is a public-private-civil society partnership working with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to build on these early financing initiatives. The Kenya 2030 WRG is working on developing national partnerships and structures with government, farmers, banking institutions, aggregators and equipment providers to encourage more lending to commercial smallholder farmers and prove market readiness.

Initial steps may include the use of bank guarantees, innovative blended finance mechanisms, or direct lending to non-bank financial institutions. Scaling-up investment will, however, require partnerships among stakeholders in the value chain.

Leveraged properly, innovative financing for smallholder farmers will emerge as a keystone to Kenya’s water-smart future.

Business Daily: Working towards a water-smart future for Kenya

News Source: Business Daily
By PHYLLIS WAKIAGA
Posted  Tuesday, October 4   2016
wakiaga__working_towards_a_water-smart_future_for_kenya_-_opinion_and_analysis

Continued growth and investment in our country’s largest urban centres is placing an increasing strain on water and wastewater systems.

For example, water supply in Nairobi today is estimated to be 20 percent below total demand. If current trends continue, this deficit is expected to be more than 60 percent by 2035.

This supply-demand gap is driven in large part by population growth, but also by a rapidly growing demand for water for industry, which comprises more than one-fifth national gross domestic product.

In addition, pollution, flooding and wider land use practices in the surrounding catchment further strain the availability of existing clean water supply. Water is a critical input for industry.

In the beverage sector, for every litre of soda produced 2.5 litres of water is needed.

Meanwhile, coffee production requires 200 litres per kilogram of coffee processed. As Kenya aims to develop industry further by creating a competitive manufacturing sector, clean water resources will be needed to help it flourish.

As industrial water use is expected to rise by 125 percent between 2014 and 2030 alone, a collaborative approach is imperative to finding long-term sustainable solutions.

Companies across the world are realising that incorporating sustainable solutions into their business plans is not only socially responsible, but could also have financial benefits.

By addressing environmental and social issues companies can achieve better growth and cost savings; improve their brand and reputation; strengthen stakeholder relations, and boost their bottom lines.

Motivated by the aforementioned realities, local public, private and civil society organizations are joining forces in a new partnership-the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance (KIWA).

Spearheaded by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Water Resources Management Authority, and supported jointly by the International Water Stewardship Programme and the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group, KIWA provides an action-oriented platform for stakeholders to plan, design and implement activities that will increase water security in Kenya and initially in the Nairobi sub-catchment.

Nairobi’s water management success will be largely based on preserving existing resources. Of over 3,500 “known” boreholes located in Nairobi County less than half have abstraction permits, two-thirds are unmetered, and four in five users do not pay for water. Moving forward, improved regulation and monitoring of ground water abstraction, in addition to proper management of existing data will be essential to effective and sustainable management of the city’s available water resources.

Audits, for example, have shown that Kenyan manufacturers have an opportunity to reduce water use by 20 to 30 percent on average through cost-effective interventions.

We are carrying this out at subsidized rates and we have done ten pilot audits so far in the manufacturing sector.

The writer is CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and also chair of the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance (KIWA).

BIZNEWS: Solutions For A Water-Smart Future Realized

News Source: BIZNEWS

solutions_for_a_water-smart_future_realized_by_the_new_kenya_industrial_water_alliance___biznewsBy Phyllis Wakiaga

Continued growth and investment in our country’s largest urban centers is placing an increasing strain on water and wastewater systems. For example, water supply in Nairobi today is estimated to be 20 percent below total demand. If current trends continue, this deficit is expected to be more than 60 percent by 2035. This supply-demand gap is driven in large part by population growth, but also by a rapidly growing demand for water for industry, which comprises more than one-fifth national gross domestic product. In addition, pollution, flooding and wider land use practices in the surrounding catchment further strain the availability of  existing clean water supply.

Water is a critical input for industry. In the beverage sector, for every litre of soda produced 2.5 litres of water is needed. Meanwhile, coffee production requires 200 litres per kilogram of coffee processed As Kenya aims to develop industry further by creating a competitive manufacturing sector, clean water resources will be needed to help it flourish.

As industrial water use is expected to rise by 125 percent between 2014 and 2030 alone, a collaborative approach is  imperative to finding long-term sustainable solutions.

Towards a Water-Smart Industrial Future

Companies across the world are realizing that incorporating sustainable solutions into their business plans is not only socially responsible, but could also have financial benefits. By addressing environmental and social issues companies can achieve better growth and cost savings; improve their brand and reputation; strengthen stakeholder relations, and boost their bottom lines.

Motivated by the aforementioned realities, local public, private and civil society organizations are joining forces in a new partnership—the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance, also known as KIWA.

Spearheaded by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Water Resources Management Authority, and supported jointly by the International Water Stewardship Programme and the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group, KIWA provides an action-oriented platform for stakeholders to plan, design and implement activities that will increase water security in Kenya and initially in the Nairobi sub-catchment.

Initiatives like this provide hope for urban communities who in the past have suffered due to pollution associated with industrial expansion. These grievances are felt at home and across the globe, China’s largest cities, for example, have seen increases in air pollution, contaminated drinking water, water shortages, marine pollution, and deforestation. Meanwhile, addressing supply and pollution challenges is costing the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka US $700 million per year as the country as a whole has assumed an estimated annual US $7 billion in economic losses from unimproved water and sanitation.

KIWA will help mitigate these problems, allowing government and industry to learn from both local and international best practices, while promoting a regulatory environment that encourages and incentivizes water efficiency, treatment and reuse.

Nairobi’s water management success will be largely based on preserving existing resources. Of over 3,500 “known” boreholes located in Nairobi County less than half have abstraction permits, two-thirds are unmetered, and four in five users do not pay for water. Moving forward, improved regulation and monitoring of ground water abstraction, in addition to proper management of existing data will be essential to effective and sustainable management of the city’s available water resources.

Audits, for example, have shown that Kenyan manufacturers have an opportunity to reduce water use by 20 to 30 percent on average through cost-effective interventions. KAM is already supporting the manufacturing sector to migrate into better use of water through such water and waste water resource audits. We are carrying this out at subsidized rates and we have done ten pilot audits so far in the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile, alliance members are also doing their part. Nairobi-based Textile Company, Spinners and Spinners has already invested in systems to reuse 40 percent of its wastewater, reducing the risks to their business from water shortages, ensuring the sustainability of their water resource and providing an example for others to follow.

Working together we will be able to effectively mainstream smart-water practices into our standard organizational processes because we realize that sustainable business is good business.

 The writer is the CEO of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Chair of the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance. She can be reached on ceo@kam.co.ke

Capital FM: Thirsty? So is Kenya’s growing economy

thirsty__so_is_kenya_s_growing_economy_-_capital_blogNews Source: Capital FM

 

by Phyllis Wakiaga

Continued growth and investment in our country’s largest urban centres is placing an increasing strain on water and wastewater systems.

For example, water supply in Nairobi today is estimated to be 20 percent below total demand. If current trends continue, this deficit is expected to be more than 60 percent by 2035.

This supply-demand gap is driven in large part by population growth, but also by a rapidly growing demand for water for industry, which comprises more than one-fifth national gross domestic product. In addition, pollution, flooding and wider land use practices in the surrounding catchment further strain the availability of existing clean water supply.

Water is a critical input for industry. In the beverage sector, for every litre of soda produced 2.5 litres of water is needed. Meanwhile, coffee production requires 200 litres per kilogram of coffee processed As Kenya aims to develop industry further by creating a competitive manufacturing sector, clean water resources will be needed to help it flourish.

As industrial water use is expected to rise by 125 percent between 2014 and 2030 alone, a collaborative approach is imperative to finding long-term sustainable solutions.

Towards a Water-Smart Industrial Future
Companies across the world are realising that incorporating sustainable solutions into their business plans is not only socially responsible, but could also have financial benefits. By addressing environmental and social issues companies can achieve better growth and cost savings; improve their brand and reputation; strengthen stakeholder relations, and boost their bottom lines.

Motivated by the aforementioned realities, local public, private and civil society organizations are joining forces in a new partnership-the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance, also known as KIWA.

Spearheaded by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Water Resources Management Authority, and supported jointly by the International Water Stewardship Programme and the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group, KIWA provides an action-oriented platform for stakeholders to plan, design and implement activities that will increase water security in Kenya and initially in the Nairobi sub-catchment.

Initiatives like this provide hope for urban communities who in the past have suffered due to pollution associated with industrial expansion. These grievances are felt at home and across the globe, China’s largest cities, for example, have seen increases in air pollution, contaminated drinking water, water shortages, marine pollution, and deforestation.

Meanwhile, addressing supply and pollution challenges is costing the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka US $700 million per year as the country as a whole has assumed an estimated annual US $7 billion in economic losses from unimproved water and sanitation.

KIWA will help mitigate these problems, allowing government and industry to learn from both local and international best practices, while promoting a regulatory environment that encourages and incentivizes water efficiency, treatment and reuse.

Nairobi’s water management success will be largely based on preserving existing resources. Of over 3,500 “known” boreholes located in Nairobi County less than half have abstraction permits, two-thirds are unmetered, and four in five users do not pay for water. Moving forward, improved regulation and monitoring of ground water abstraction, in addition to proper management of existing data will be essential to effective and sustainable management of the city’s available water resources.

Audits, for example, have shown that Kenyan manufacturers have an opportunity to reduce water use by 20 to 30 percent on average through cost-effective interventions. KAM is already supporting the manufacturing sector to migrate into better use of water through such water and waste water resource audits. We are carrying this out at subsidized rates and we have done ten pilot audits so far in the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile, alliance members are also doing their part. Nairobi-based Textile Company, Spinners and Spinners has already invested in systems to reuse 40 percent of its wastewater, reducing the risks to their business from water shortages, ensuring the sustainability of their water resource and providing an example for others to follow.

Working together we will be able to effectively mainstream smart-water practices into our standard organizational processes because we realize that sustainable business is good business.

(The writer is the CEO of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Chair of the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance. She can be reached on ceo@kam.co.ke)