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Pacific
Institute Online Update for January 2004


In
This Issue

Rewind
2003: Progress Lays Path for Sustainable Future

Institute Expands Reach of Global Standards Initiative

Science Mag Publishes New Article on Water Efficiency


Headlines

Rewind
2003: Progress Lays the Path for Sustainable Future

2003
was a challenging year for those of us working
on environmental issues, but a rewarding year
for the Pacific Institute. Highlights would have
to start with the MacArthur
Fellowship
awarded to Peter Gleick for his,
and the Institute’s, work on water issues. More
concretely, our work in California has led the
state to finally acknowledge the risks of climate
change, and to include the first realistic
assessment
of water conservation potential
in planning efforts. The Pacific Institute is
also trying to ensure a sustainable future for
U.S. water resources by advocating for a new National
Water Commission for the United States
.

After
years of negotiations, pioneering work by Senior
Associate Michael Cohen has helped ensure that
the Southern California water agreement, and related
state legislation, will provide $300 million toward
the rehabilitation of the Salton
Sea
, a critical step toward protecting this
valuable habitat.

The
Pacific Institute has also stayed active on water
privatization. Dr. Gary Wolff, the Pacific Institute’s
Principal Economist and Engineer, authored an independent
review
of Stockton, California’s proposed water
privatization and we presented new research to the
Third World Water Forum on privatization. Despite
a weak Ministerial Statement, our work on water
as a human right
and water
and climate change
also found a receptive audience
at the Forum.

We
are also very proud of our work in West Oakland,
led by Program Director Meena Palaniappan, which
has helped reduce
toxic air pollution
and empower local residents.
And this work is helping other communities: We
are now working in Richmond, California to
protect open space
and reduce air pollution
from refineries using the same tools we have developed
in West Oakland.

Program
Director Jason Morrison won
an award
for his work with Andrea Sumits on
sustainability
in New Zealand
and how this can help California
and the U.S. And we continue to be one of the
only nongovernmental organizations directly involved
with the creation of international environmental
standards. The growing influence of these standards
has led us to create an International
NGO Network on ISO
to ensure that environmentalists,
labor organizers, and others concerned about global
trade understand their implications (more on this
project below).

Building
on our successes, we are planning to continue
to push governments to address unmet basic human
needs for water, and to support principles and
standards to protect the public interest in efforts
to privatize water. By this summer we will publish
the fourth volume of our acclaimed series, “The
World’s Water.” In addition, we are expanding
our work with vulnerable communities to ensure
that everyone has access to clean air and a healthy
environment, and we are beginning a major, new,
cross-program initiative to craft a truly sustainable
approach to water management.


Institute Expands Initiative to Educate on Global
Standards

Like
the World Trade Organization, the rules established
by the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO) will directly affect environmental issues
and issues of social justice and economic sustainability
for years to come. In 2002, with support from
the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Pacific Institute
created the International NGO Network on ISO (INNI)
that is now tracking, and working to influence,
the activities of ISO. The goal of INNI is to
ensure that any ISO-created environmental and
social standards serve the public interest and
protect our environment. We do this by providing
timely information on the activities of ISO to
network organizations so that they can activate
their constituents, provide guidance to decision-makers,
and shape public opinion.

INNI
consists of roughly 220 public interest organizations
in 40 countries. Given the growing interest in
international standards by a range of stakeholders,
we are now inviting others to participate. Membership
in INNI is free and without obligation. To join
and receive the quarterly email bulletin, send
an email with your name, title, and organization
name to inni @ pacinst.org. The current issue
of the INNI bulletin, along with past issues and
supporting material, is available online.

Science
Mag Publishes New Gleick Article on Water Efficiency

Twentieth-century
water policies relied on the construction of massive
infrastructure to meet human demands. These facilities
brought tremendous benefits to billions of people,
but they also had serious and often unanticipated
social, economical, and ecological costs. A transition
is under way to a “soft path” that complements
centralized infrastructure with community-scale
systems, decentralized and open decision-making,
water markets and equitable pricing, application
of efficient technology, and environmental protection.
A new article, “Global Freshwater Resources:
Soft-Path Solutions for the 21st Century”
by the Pacific Institute’s President, Dr. Peter
H. Gleick, makes the case for soft path solutions.

The
article, published in the December issue of Science
Magazine is accessible via our website.



Staff Updates

12/20/03,
International Standards
Jason Morrison chaired
the first meeting of a joint group of NGOs and
representatives of the ISO Technical Committee
207 that is working to improve the effectiveness
of NGO participation in ISO 14000 standards development.
The day prior Morrison attended the ISO/TC 207
Chairman’s Advisory Group’s midyear meeting, which
was also held at the world headquarters of Alcan
Inc., in Montreal, Canada.

12/12/03,
Water and Sustainability
Peter Gleick gave
the luncheon keynote at the meeting of the US
Business Council for Sustainable Development,
addressing the question of water-related risks
for businesses and corporations, and new sustainable
approaches for managing those risks.

12/10/03, Corporate Environmental Transparency
Jason Morrison participated in a focus group
discussion of the Global Environmental Management
Initiative (GEMI) Transparency Working Group,
held in Atlanta, which is in the process of developing
a primer on corporate environmental transparency.
Having helped organize and participate in numerous
previous GEMI-NGO dialogues on the subject, Morrison
was invited to offer an NGO perspective on a draft
of the guidance.

12/9/03, Environmental Management Systems
Jason Morrison attended a multi-stakeholder facilitated
dialogue in Chicago, on a guidance document being
developed by the MSWG on “external value”
Environmental Management Systems (EMS). The purpose
of the event was to garner feedback of the draft
guidance before final publication in mid 2004.

12/4/03-12/04/03, Water and Sustainability
Peter Gleick gave briefings on global and
regional water issues for the Acumen Fund and
the Joyce Foundation. Acumen raises money to support
water development projects in developing countries
by encouraging the production of innovative and
marketable products. The Joyce Foundation is expanding
its efforts to protect and sustainably manage
the water resources of the Great Lakes region.

Upcoming

1/20/04,
Salton Sea
[Sacramento, CA], Michael Cohen
will participate as an NGO member at the first
California State Salton Sea Advisory Committee
meeting.

1/21/04,
Salton Sea
[Sacramento, CA], Michael Cohen
will participate in a panel discussion on the
restoration of the Salton Sea at the Department
of Water Resources Salton Sea Symposium.

1/29/04-1/31/04,
Water and Sustainability
[Washington, DC],
Peter H. Gleick will give talks on water efficiency
and the “soft path” at the upcoming
National Conference on Science, Policy, and the
Environment.



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Copyright
2004 Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment, and Security

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