The Stream, June 19: Africa Leaders Urge Action On Desertification To Prevent Migration, Radicalization

The Global Rundown

Leaders in Africa say more must be done to fight desertification, improve agricultural opportunities, and create green jobs to prevent the continent’s youth from migrating or becoming radicalized. Flint, Michigan must approve a new long-term contract for its drinking water supply by the end of the month or face legal action, according to state officials. The United Kingdom’s Environment Agency announced a record fine against the Tesco supermarket company for a water pollution incident. Community members and media students in Mumbai, India have created a series of short films to bring attention to the city’s water problems. A new initiative in drought-hit Cape Town, South Africa aims to reduce the city’s reliance on surface water. Expanding suburbs and the proliferation of impervious surfaces are making Houston, Texas more vulnerable to devastating floods, researchers warn.

“We hope that the films help people understand our plight. We have been living for ten years or so without regular water supply. Nobody has done anything. Maybe now, somebody will take notice.” –Fatima Bi Sheikh, a resident of Maharashtra Nagar in Mumbai, India, commenting on a series of short films about the city’s water problems. Created by community members, media students, and the Pani Haq Samiti water advocacy group, the films will be available on the Pani Haq Samiti YouTube channel and Facebook page. (The Hindu)

By The Numbers

60 million people Number who could migrate from desertified regions in sub-Saharan Africa to Europe and North Africa by 2020, according to estimates by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Leaders in Africa last week pledged to do more to restore land and create green jobs so the continent’s youth are less likely to migrate or become radicalized. Reuters

$10.2 million Amount the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency will fine the Tesco supermarket company for a 2014 fuel leak that polluted a river in Lancashire. The fine is the largest the agency has levied for a single pollution incident. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers at Texas A&M University in Galveston are creating an online tool to help residents of Houston assess their flood risks. The city has been hit by a series of major floods, costing billions of dollars, and is becoming more vulnerable due to the urbanization of surrounding areas and climate change. Guardian

On The Radar

A short-term contract providing drinking water to Flint, Michigan from the Great Lakes Water Authority is set to expire at the end of the month, and the state government warned the city that it will take legal action if Flint does not approve a new contract. The state says failing to approve a new contract would violate orders to remedy the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis, but city officials argue they do not have enough information about the proposed 30-year deal. MLive

In context: In Flint water probe, five officials face involuntary manslaughter charge.

Cape Town, South Africa has created a Water Resilience Task Team to map out ways to reduce the city’s reliance on surface water and avoid water shortages in the future. The city is looking to private companies and nonprofit organizations to form “possible partnerships” to enhance its water supply. IOL