Wednesday, 14 January 2015

India Water Week 2015

This week (13 – 17 January 2015) celebrates India Water Week—a time to reflect on the conservation and utilisation of water resources in a resource-constrained world. Australia is proud to be a partner country in this important campaign in raising awareness and sharing knowledge of Earth’s precious resource. Australian representatives are co-chairing and speaking at various events throughout the week. Australia has a strong track record of water research and management, allowing us the opportunity to share our findings to benefit those around the world. One example is Australia’s expertise in river basin management and development of the SOURCE model (created by e-water) to simulate all aspects of water resource systems to support integrated planning, operations and governance from urban, catchment and river basin scales including human ecological influences.

Source: India Water Week website

Some stark figures highlighted by the Government of India show:
  • Over 1.5 billion people do not have access to clean, safe water.
  • About 82 million hectares of agricultural area is devoid of irrigation support.
  • In India alone, water borne diseases cost the economy 73 million working days per year.*

The Government of India is engaging stakeholders from across the globe including researchers, decision-makers, politicians and entrepreneurs to tackle local, regional, national and global issues for mutual benefit and goodwill.

The theme for the event, water management for sustainable development, has been decided in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 2015 which are being finalised by the UN after broad stakeholder consultation.
The sub-themes for this year’s event focus on:
  • Water for sustaining life
  • Sustainable drinking water supply
  • Water for sustainable energy development
  • Sustainable industrial development and water
  • Water management for sustainable agriculture
  • Stakeholder cooperation for water sustainability
  • Sustainable urbanisation and water-related issues
  • Multi-sectoral and cross-cutting issues in water resources management

Source: Sharda University

These topics are being covered through a series of seminars, panel discussions, brain-storming sessions, case studies and a plenary session in New Delhi. There is also an exhibition running parallel to the main conference based on the same theme of water management for sustainable development. The exhibition is showcasing the technologies, latest developments and solutions for sustainable development in agriculture and irrigation, drinking water supplies in rural and urban areas, and for industrial water use.

ACIAR has a strong interest in land and water resources; current projects include ‘Improved village scale groundwater recharge and management for agriculture and livelihood development in India’, ‘Improved irrigation water management to increase rice productivity in Cambodia’ and ‘Optimising canal and groundwater management to assist water user associations in maximising crop production and managing salinisation’. For further information on ACIAR’s land and water resources programs, please contact Dr Evan Christen or visit ACIAR’s LWR website for a full listing.

By Elise Crabb, External Engagement and Media Presence Officer, ACIAR

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Launching of the Maria Family Books by Foreign Minister Hon. Julie Bishop in Goroka 18 December 2014

Minister Bishop at BbP library about to read 'Maria's family goes to market'. Photo Eva Kuson/DFAT
It was a blissfully cool and clear day as the sun came out from behind the clouds amidst the pine tree tops. Dr Lalen Simeon and I were delighted to be part of the team that travelled up to Goroka to meet the Foreign Affairs Minister; Hon. Julie Bishop, for the launching of the “Maria’s Family” books at Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) Library, at the University of Goroka campus.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Is short-rotation plantation forestry in Asia sustainable?

Sustainable management of agricultural and forestry systems is one of the most important challenges facing people all over the world. As we strive to feed, house and provide for a rapidly growing and increasingly affluent global population, we need to produce more. At the same time we need to make sure that the production systems we use don’t diminish our ability to produce in the future.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Tiny wasps to safeguard forest plantations in the Mekong region

Tiny wasps were the subject of the first meeting for partners in the ACIAR project ‘Biological control of galling insect pests of eucalypts’ held in Vientiane, Lao PDR in July 2014. Delegates from Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR outlined the eucalypt pest situation in the Mekong region, where large-scale reforestation projects are in train.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Rice futures in the Mekong region

Farmers in the Mekong region could remain poor if they grow rice alone. This is one of the messages that have come out of a recent meeting of policymakers and agricultural researchers in Cambodia.

Ideas on policy measures for improving rice-based farming systems in the Mekong region are outlined in a conference proceedings just released by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). 

Cambodian smallholder farmers in rice fields. Photo: ACIAR.
The report, A policy dialogue on rice futures: rice-based farming systems research in the Mekong region, marks the conclusion of a AU$14.8 million ACIAR program on farm productivity and policy-focused research in the region. 

The meeting brought together 60 senior policymakers and agricultural researchers, primarily from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. The resulting report comprises 25 edited papers, including five synopses of panel and audience deliberations. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

ACIAR celebrates World Soil Day - 5 December 2014

Did you know that 95% of our food comes from soil? And that there are more organisms in one tablespoon of healthy soil than there are people on Earth?

Despite soil being all around us, we often fail to realise how much we need it for food, water and most importantly, life! Today marks World Soil Day, a day for celebration and recognition of the importance of soil as a critical component of natural systems and a vital contributor to human wellbeing. The day is celebrated by the global community of 60,000 soil scientists charged with responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Teak fever in Solomon Islands

Me go long Solomon Islands lookem wat now one fella projek long ACIAR doem. In other words, in October 2014, I travelled to Solomon Islands to participate in an end-of-project review of an ACIAR forestry project on teak production. While I may not have picked up the local lingo in 5 days, I certainly learnt a lot about forestry in the Pacific.