The 6th United Nation Sustainable Development Goal is about providing clean and safe access to the most precious liquid on earth for all.

Water and Sanitation for all. Photo: UNDP Philippines

Two years ago, a major environmental disaster struck Brazil – the liquid waste reservoir of the mining company Samarco burst, wiping out a village, killing 11 people and poisoning the waters of the Rio Doce, a water source that supplies two Brazilian states. The riverside population and fishermen have been facing difficult times since. The water is still unsafe to drink, and the iron contamination has exterminated the local fauna. Scientists predict it would take 100 years for the river to fully recover from the catastrophe. And what of the fundamental right to a safe source of water? The question remains unanswered and it’s an everyday struggle for all communities to exercise their right to satisfy this basic need.

The 6th UN Sustainable Development Goal aims to provide access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems for all by 2030. Both are essential to human health, as well as to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

The UNDP reports that over 90 per cent of the world’s population uses improved drinking water sources and over two-thirds use improved sanitation facilities. Yet, most rural areas in underdeveloped countries have to cope with the lack of both, and the resulting bad health consequences. «Achieving universal access to basic sanitation and ending the unsafe practice of open defecation will require substantial acceleration of progress», says the report published in 2017.

A fourth of global population lives in countries with water stress, meaning they are vulnerable to future water scarcity by not having enough renewable sources. Countries in Northern Africa and Western Asia already face severe water stress. This is a matter of public policy; however, the participation of other actors, including organizations and local communities, is key to effective water and sanitation management.

WESDE trains health agents to act within communities

Within our Horyou community, the organization WESDE – Water, Energy and Sanitation for Development is very active in providing integrated water resources management, sanitation and health education in Cameroon. WESDE acts in both rural and urban areas, supporting the most vulnerable populations with information and resources for development.

Another member of the Horyou platform, EAA Burundi, created in 1988, is active in more than 35 African countries, as well as in Israel. It helps supply drinking water, using innovative solutions like dry latrines and simplified sewer networks, while supporting the communities through agricultural, financial and development projects.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote water and sanitation in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

From June 30 to July 2, European Youth Awards invite creative minds to join a game marathon at the Technical University of Graz, in Austria.

EYA Game Jam
EYA Game Jam

Why not use technology to discuss social and environmental changes? That’s the challenge presented by the European Youth Awards to the young, creative minds that will be part of EYA Game Jam. The programming competition takes place at the Technical University of Graz, in Austria, and will use tools like virtual reality and 360° to discuss topics like water and family.

The goal is to create game prototypes to address both topics, that are intrinsically connected to the Sustainable Development Goals. Says Kathrin Quatember, EYA spokesperson: “Two of the UN SDGs focus on the topic of water; Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation and Goal 14 – Life below the sea. By establishing a special category, EYA wants to contribute to the international awareness of treating the “source of life“. Secondly, we try to motivate young innovators and entrepreneurs to develop smart solutions for water related problems and apply for European Youth Awards 2017”. Water should also be the topics of the EYA 2017, she added.

The idea of using virtual reality and tech gadgets in the event stems from the fact that EYA wanted to bring digital technologies to the center of social innovation discussions within the EYA community. “The combination of the Game Jam topics ‘water’ and ‘family’ with VR and 360° technology is thrilling. It enriches the possibilities for the Game Jammers to reach the peak of creativity and opens new possibilities to approach the topics”, said Kathrin.

The competition is open to everyone interested in game and development. EYA partnered with VRCORE, the organizer of the “Global VR Hackathon“ – a worldwide event with regional competitions and a Championship Final in Shanghai at the end of August. Three Winners of the Jam will be invited to the Championship Final – a unique opportunity for the participants to expand their network and learn!

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Engagée sur les thèmes de la préservation des forets et de l’accès à l’eau potable aux populations des pays africains, la ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l’Environnement de la République du Congo, Rosalie Matondo, était une invitée très spéciale du SIGEF à Marrakesh, lors de la COP22. Paneliste au premier jour du Forum, elle nous a parlé sur les projets du gouvernement congolais pour l’environnement et sur l’importance de la COP22 pour mettre les accords sur le changement climatique en action.

La ministre Rosalie Matondo a parlé au publique du SIGEF
La ministre Rosalie Matondo a parlé au publique du SIGEF

Pouvez-vous nous expliquer sur vos projets de préservation des forêts au Congo et son impact social?

Les forêts, comme nous le savons, régulent les équilibres climatiques mondiaux. Étant conscients de cela, nous avons lancé un grand programme national de reforestation et de reboisement d’un million de plantations. Nous avons une grande superficie de forêts naturelles au Congo et nous sommes conscients que nous devons les préserver. D’un autre coté, le bois est encore utilisé comme source d’énergie extraite des forêts naturelles dans beaucoup de nos pays. C’est pourquoi le gouvernement de la République du Congo a lancé ce programme de reforestation et reboisement, afin que les populations non seulement continuent à utiliser le bois comme source d’énergie, le bois issu des plantations, mais également à pouvoir faire un grand projet de séquestration du carbone.

Le deuxième projet c’est “L’eau pour tous”. Le gouvernement congolais a lancé un programme d’installation de 4 mille forages dans les villages où l’eau de source pose encore un problème. Cela permet l’approvisionnement de l’eau potable mais également d’alléger la pénibilité des femmes qui dans les villages sont obligées de faire des kilomètres pour aller puiser le l’eau.

Durant la COP22, le gouvernement Congolais a lancé un fond de préservation des forêts. De quoi s’agit-il?

C’est le fond bleu pour le Bassin du Congo, toujours pour cet accès à l’eau mais également pour les systèmes de production modernes de l’agriculture, donc des systèmes d’irrigation. La COP22 pour nous c’est une opportunité de financement et de transfert de technologie. Nous savons que les gouvernements peuvent participer au financement de nos projets. Notre attente ici c’est que, déjà, tous ensemble, nous travaillions sur le transfert de technologies et tous ensemble, nous réfléchissions sur la mobilisation et le financement.

La ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l'Environnement de la République du Congo
La ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l’Environnement de la République du Congo

Quelles sont les axes de développement de la République du Congo pour la COP22?

Nous avons les acquis de la COP de Paris, parce que nous partons de là. Dans la COP de Paris, les pays du Bassin du Congo avaient donné leur position, et nous, la République du Congo, avons appuyé cette position des pays d’Afrique, des pays du Bassin du Congo et également des 77 pays plus la Chine. Pour nous, toutes les décisions prise lors de la COP21 de Paris sont incontestables, maintenant nous devons aller vers l’opérationnalisation ; c’est pourquoi je remercie son altesse royale qui a mis l’accent sur l’action ici sur la COP22. Nous devons aller vers l’action. Je crois que toutes nos populations sont fatiguées des promesses qui n’apportent pas de solutions. La COP21 à Paris a démontré que nous avons tous pris conscience de la gravité de la situation et même les pays qui n’ont pas signé le Protocol de Kyoto ont signé l’Accord de Paris. Nous avons vu avec quelle rapidité l’Accord est entré en vigueur et c’est un espoir pour la planète toute entière. Nous voulons nous accrocher à cette espoir et trouver des solutions et mettre en action.

De quelle manière le changement climatique a affecté le Bassin du Congo et quelles sont les mesures pour réduire cet impact?

Le Bassin du Congo est la zone où la déforestation est la moins importante. Nous n’avons que 0,05% de déforestation. Mais nous n’en sommes pas contents. Nous savons que ce poumon là, comme le poumon de l’Amazonie, peut aider la planète. C’est pourquoi la République du Congo, après les années 2000, a opté dans sa législation pour une gestion durable des forêts, avec un aménagement forestier, avec la certification forestière, avec le programme national de reforestation et reboisement ; au total, 13% de son territoire est ainsi protégé. Tous ces efforts convergent vers la contribution à la préservation de cet écosystème. Et nous allons vers un fond bleu pour le bassin du Congo qui va aider à la gestion des plans d’eau mais aussi à l’approvisionnement des populations.

Écrit par Vivian Soares

Em pronunciamento na COP 22, em Marrakesh, Ministro do Meio Ambiente Sarney Filho anuncia que o País sediará o Fórum Mundial da Água em 2018

Ministro do Meio Ambiente, Sarney Filho, durante as negociações da COP22
Ministro do Meio Ambiente, Sarney Filho, durante as negociações da COP22

Brasília será a sede do Fórum Mundial da Água em 2018. Com o tema “Compartilhando Água”, o evento discutirá a relações entre crises hídricas e mudanças climáticas, conforme anunciou o ministro Sarney Filho durante a COP22 em Marrakesh. Com uma série de crises hídricas recentes em seu histórico, o país tem uma posição-chave na conservação dos mananciais, tanto por sua importância geográfica quanto por seu papel de líder regional.

“Nossos cursos d’água e rios estão altamente comprometidos, não só na região Nordeste, mas no Sudeste também”, alertou o ministro. Apesar de as crises estarem evidentemente relacionadas às mudanças climáticas, ele ressaltou que as bacias menos protegidas de vegetação foram mais afetadas. O desmatamento de matas ciliares em bacias como a do Rio São Francisco, por exemplo, é um exemplo da necessidade de agir com rapidez – hoje, 10km de água salgada estão entrando pelo leito do rio em sua foz e há apenas 2% de reservas.

O Fórum Mundial da Água, segundo Sarney Filho, será uma oportunidade de discutir temas como integração de recursos hídricos à gestão pública, participação das comunidades locais e políticas de disponibilidade de água. “Precisamos priorizar iniciativas sustentáveis e resilientes em projetos de infraestrutura. A água engloba, direta ou indiretamente, todos os objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável”, afirmou.

O diretor presidente da Agência Nacional de Águas (ANA), Vicente Abreu, afirma que o processo de escassez hídrica de diversas regiões do país trouxe grandes aprendizados. “Muita coisa evoluiu nos últimos 20 anos em gestão de recursos hídricos. Mas há uma grande fragilidade do Brasil diante de eventos externos, tanto em águas superficiais quando nos aquíferos”, alerta. A crise hídrica, segundo ele, é uma ameaça constante, mesmo em um país em que se convencionou dizer ter uma grande disponibilidade do recurso.

“Em 2014, o Sistema Cantareira, em São Paulo, chegou a inacreditáveis 25% negativos”, relembra. O curioso neste caso, diz Abreu, é que muitos interpretaram o evento como uma seca isolada. Outro exemplo mais recente é o da cidade de Rio Branco, no Acre, que enfrentou em 2016 a maior cheia e a maior seca dos últimos 30 anos. “Precisamos preparar um modelo de gestão, construir reservatórios e mudar os padrões de consumo”, diz.

Estiagens vêm afetando diversas bacias brasileiras
Estiagens vêm afetando diversas bacias brasileiras

Alguns setores, como o de agricultura, já estão se adaptando às novas demandas, reduzindo o uso de água e trabalhando com mais eficiência. É nas cidades, porém, onde se encontram os desafios mais preocupantes – as perdas ultrapassam os 50% e o consumo é elevado, chegando a 320 litros por habitante por dia. O número considerado adequado é de 80 a 120 litros. “Precisamos repensar o consumo e considerar alternativas que foram rejeitadas no passado como redução de perdas, reuso urbano de água e dessalinização”, afirma.

A boa notícia é que o quadro pode ser revertido com políticas públicas e mudanças culturais, que já estão em curso. “Crimes ambientais como o de Mariana trouxe a atenção para a bacia do Rio Doce. A qualidade da água tornou-se uma das preocupações principais das pessoas”. A expectativa é que o Fórum Mundial da Água se torne uma das conferências mais importantes, em que os temas da água e das mudanças climáticas sejam definitivamente conectados. “A água deve fazer parte de nossa agenda política relevante para garantirmos segurança hídrica sustentável para todos os usos no nosso País”, disse o diretor presidente da ANA.

Escrito por Vívian Soares

Cannes Film Festival is a unique event in many respects as indeed it is a place where movie-making royalty gather to showcase and celebrate cinema, while the powerful meet to illuminate and make a call to action on the very real life issues and stories that are changing our world. This year, I was delighted to meet Helga Piaget, former wife of Yves Piaget, CEO and President of luxury Swiss jewellery and watch company Piaget. Helga is a remarkable woman of integrity, using her voice for positive social impact. She is passionate about Ocean conservation and education of the next generation and I was delighted she took the time out to speak with me about her Passion Sea organization .

Helga Piaget
Helga Piaget

1. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Passion Sea, how did it all begin? 

Living on the coast of the Mediterranean makes you be connected with the element of water on a daily basis; you can’t help but notice how alarming the pollution of the waters has become. It made me react in founding Passion Sea, an environmental, educational and artistic project. Water is not only what we need, it’s what we are. The cycle of life, of our body is the same as the water cycle on our planet. We need clean water to survive! It is evident that we need to react!

2. Many companies are reforming their business models to reflect changing consumer patterns of demand and values. The millennial generation are more environmentally aware and proactive than the previous ones. Is this why Passion Sea focuses on educating the next generation? Do you believe that a culture change towards more sustainable behavior has to begin in the classroom?

The young generation is in charge of the world of tomorrow and will help shape its future. For this reason, Passion Sea focuses on young people through art contests, books, films, music and sports, so they become aware in their formative years, of the importance of protecting the seas, the waters into the future. Giving the children this ecological education is the only way to change behaviors on our planet and to have a chance to survive! Rivers, lakes, seas and oceans don’t need us; we need them and have to start respecting them again, like our ancestors did when they honored the waters with gods for their  purity! The population on our planet is growing and the amount of clean water is regressing! The plastic pollution of the last 50 years is slowly but surely killing the waters, and the living marine species! Without education, we will have more plastic in the oceans and in 20 years, all fishes will die!

Youth education project from Passion Sea
Youth education project from Passion Sea

3. Tell us about some of the work Passion Sea has been involved with so far? You will have an event at Toronto Film Festival?

Since 2 years Passion Sea has been spreading awareness around the Globe through it’s art contest, workshops, gala dinners, golf tournaments, books, films and a fantastic music to come! We are using all social media to bring the awareness to the maximum audience possible! Schools in many countries follow our artistic and educational program in the classrooms. By motivating the children through their own creations of a marine environment on paper, they will remember these lessons for a long time! Palm Beach, Monaco, Venice, Milan, St Moritz, Cape Town and many more locations already have a Passion Sea event ! Now we are preparing some amazing days in Toronto, Canada, on September 9/10, starting with a kid’s day, followed by a VIP Golf tournament and an evening in the beautiful Ripley’s aquarium. This event will take place during the Toronto film festival. It will be a meeting with international VIP’s from Film, TV, Sport, Business and Politics who will be listening to important speeches from Marine biologists, researchers, nutritionists and water experts in a lounge style evening around the entire aquarium, and it will be broadcast around the Planet! We are looking forward to a great party, supported by the mayor of Toronto and a number of major local and international companies!

4. One of Horyou’s key values is solidarity. Do you believe in the power of collective action to make progress? Has Passion Sea partnered with any person or organization so far? 

We very much believe in collaboration! We are linked with numerous associations allover the world, in respect with pollution, over-fishing, climate change etc. Scientists and researchers, alongside the foundation of HSH Prince Albert II are supporting our project! Together we can change behaviors! Let’s join forces and unite like drops of water to become a powerful, passion filled sea of change. Passion Sea.

5. Horyou supports people acting on their dreams. What is the ultimate goal of Helga Piaget with Passion Sea? 

Our mission with Passion Sea is to instill awareness and change habits of the global population, to restore, respect and protect the waters of our life! Every school should teach the importance of water! Let’s change the world and make it a better and more respectful place! Our own lives will depend on these changes. It is true that our own lives will depend on these changes. I think the world has woken up to the fact that conservation of our natural world is not something that should be treated with a long term view. Our people and planet are being impacted now and so the time to act is now. People like Helga and platforms like Horyou can help mobilize and raise awareness, but it is within every single persons remit to make an individual effort to be the change you want to see in the world.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin


Mehdi Hadj-Abed will introduce the EaumOb at SIGEF 2014 and will participate to the “Call for Projects.” Hadj-Abed is a Horyou Personality. He tells us here* about his commitment to equal and universal access to drinking water.

Interview conducted by Sarah Lemaire and translated by Lola Gazounaud for Horyou’s blog

Hi Mehdi. Could you give us a few words to introduce yourself?

I am the manager and founder of EauNergie company, whose aim is to help populations that have trouble accessing a water supply. In order to do that, I develop innovative solutions to bring water to them without polluting the environment, using green energy as much as possible and equipment that is more versatile.

What innovative solutions have you worked on so far?

I have worked on the desalination of seawater using solar energy. This way, the equipment is much more mobile. I have also developed solutions for the desalination of remote places or places along the coast that could become eco-touristic. There will be as many solutions as there are kinds of water. I can treat seawater and polluted river water, as well as bring a solution to water discharge. That means once we use that water and pollute it, we can treat it and use it again for irrigation, farming or something else. In terms of innovation, we created the SeamOb, which is mobile water desalination equipment using sustainable energy, and the EaumOb for river water treatment, which I am very proud of.

And for those who don’t know anything about desalination, how is this innovative? Didn’t these solutions already exist?

These solutions do already exist, but what makes it innovative is that we integrate all these technologies together into one solution. It takes dirty water, treats it and distributes it without the need of having an external supply of energy, because it is provided by sustainable energy only. This makes it completely automatic. And we are getting closer to what I wanted: a water supply producer. We integrate all the existing technologies to help these populations in an ethical and, above all, ecological way – like if we have created a new water spring. And the EaumOb can be built anywhere on the planet.

What other projects you would like to tell us about?

I worked in Mauritania for a dispensary that we fully equiped. It was located in a small fisherman village on the Banc d’Arquin where there was only access to seawater. We built a desalination unit that was powered by photovoltaic solar panels. It brings enough energy to provide the population with a fridge to store vaccines and lighting for them to have a comfortable place to live in. Can you imagine having to deliver a baby at the light of candles or waiting for the police station to have access to vaccines? Because that was the only place where there was a fridge, as they used to do. So it makes life simpler for populations. We recycle toilet water as well. As the dispensary’s toilets were located close to the school, we engaged with young people from these villages, developing awareness toward ecology and water recycling. Another example: In Morocco, we set up a solar pumping solution. We provided 25,000 liters of water per hour. The pump works as soon as the sun illuminates the solar station. This equipment was funded by the International Cooperation of Monaco and given to a small charity located in the deep South of Morocco, toward Tata. Before this, they used to run a Renault 21 car engine with gas. It used to cost 12,000 per year including maintenance. This is what you need to run an engine from the ’80s. For the installation of the solar pumping system, we needed around 40,000 euros, the equivalent of four years of water production, paying for gas and maintenance. But our system does not pollute and it will work for the next 20 years and let’s hope forever. They do not need any energy to make the pump work. We set up the equipment in a way that they can easily take the pump out for maintenance and put it back into water. It is a perennial system.

On your Horyou profile, you shared an article about the situation of a village in South Africa. What did you feel when you read this article? What did you decide to do?

I was angry and frustrated because I have a EaumOb at the studio that was created to avoid these kinds of disasters. And I decided to do all I could to send one there.

What can we do if we want to help the realization of this project?

I need help in funding and logistics to be able to send this machine successfully. The estimated cost is 10,000 euros. In the long term, I want to create a local assembly studio.

It appears you have a special link with water. What does water represent for you?

As a kid, I grew up in a fisherman village. My house was located between the orchards and the sea, and we had a lot of drinking water supplies. Nevertheless, there was a difference between the water we used for drinking and the water we used for cleaning, irrigation, etc. I have always known that drinking water was much more valuable than domestic water. Water is life! Even when we send a sensor into space, the first think we look for is water. Without water, there is no life. I quickly understood that our ways of living are very far from the true value of water.

You give a lot to people through your commitment to bring them water. What do you receive in return?

When your project is over and you see people using water, you feel good. For example, we rented a machine to Monaco Sailing School. The children’s parents told me that kids were fighting against water waste at home. No more bath, no more playing with taps! I remember well kids lecturing their parents about baths. What I am most proud of is to know that some newborn child have been given my name, Mehdi, after I set up the water equipment in the dispensary in Mauritania. So you are so proud, so happy. Even if the worst scenario happens and you have to shut down your company, well, you’ve done your job! And you know that these women will be able to deliver their babies in better conditions. When I’ll go back I might meet those kids.

Would you like to say a last word to our readers?

Water is as vital as air, it is more than food. The volume of water has not decreased or increased since the creation of the Earth. But we have. There are people that are dying of thirst while we clean our streets with drinking water. What do you do to make things change?

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