In the press
and Poverty Reduction
Olcay Ünver, Rajiv K. Gupta and Aysegül Kibarogammalu (Eds),
Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, 320 pp.
summary on the back cover states the purpose of the book:
recent improvements in water management, approximately 1.4
billion people lack adequate water and about 3 billion
people lack adequate sanitation services. It is commonly
acknowledged that these and other water problems affect the
poor adversely in terms of their livelihoods, their health,
and their vulnerability to water- related natural
authors of the different chapters are 21 experts in
water-management projects in integrated social-economic
programmes aimed directly at poverty reduction in different regions of the
developing world. The book’s four parts offer an
interdisciplinary approach to many issues that (may)
contribute to the relationship between water and poverty.
(The word “may” is added by the reviewer, for reasons
four parts deal with the issues as follows:
• Part I includes articles on the conceptual and
methodological issues concerning poverty reduction through
water-resources development. It also offers an analysis of
quantitative measurements of poverty reduction, including
some approaches for creating a Water Poverty Index.
II considers institutional frameworks for the management of
water and poverty reduction. Topics range from
community-based decision-making to international leadership.
• Part III encompasses discussions on participatory
irrigation management and privatization of urban water
supplies and sewerage and the link to poverty.
• Part IV includes case-studies from India, Jordan and
book contains an introduction by the three editors who also
added a conclusion.
introduction gives a summary of the 14 chapters and comments
on each of them. It defines first the term “poverty” in
general, according to the UNDP, which defines the Human
Poverty Index as “the percentage of population lacking
access to safe water”. The basic problem is the
inefficient management of drinking-water supply, sanitation
and irrigation infrastructure, politicization and power
rivalry in water allocation, all of which further exacerbate
the conditions of the poor. It stresses the issue of privatization and commercialization in
urban water and sewage services, which leads to water
shortage for the poor, who face constantly increasing water
bills. In general there are, at different national levels,
different strategies of water management to reduce the
incidence of poverty, which range from interbasin transfer
by impounding water in large projects, integration of
water-based development with sustainable human development,
to community-based small-scale water projects and
intersectoral water allocation and water pricing, which
could lead towards poverty reduction. These are the main
questions of the different chapters treated by the authors
who are from both industrial and developing countries.
the answers to these questions depend on the experience of
the authors, on the results they aim to achieve and, in many
cases, on the interests they represent.
book of 320 pages could not cover both problems: the
existence of water sources for human needs and their
management in all different circumstances of nature and
conditions of life and the origins of poverty of communities
at all levels—local, national, regional and continental.
It appears that the authors cover only situations in which
water conditions influence directly the origin and
development of poverty in those parts of the world in which
the authors may have experience. This means that the
conclusions can cover only the parts— water-management
systems or conditions of life of the civil society—which
the authors know.
when reading the conclusions, the reviewer had the
impression that the editors consider their application to be
largely universal. Nevertheless, it should be noted, that
several of the chapters, in particular Chapter 9, are quite
critical about existing or newly installed
water-distribution systems, whether for irrigation or urban
water and sewerage. The commercialization and privatization
of such systems are given special attention, which in
sustainable development is very important. As noted in other publications concerning similar
sector participation”, one of the commonly proposed
economic measures, has been taken by many environmentalists
and antiglobalization activists as being a euphemism for
privatization. Valuation of water and its perceived
consequences have accordingly proved to be extremely
can be noticed in connection with the many large
multinational events observed lately, such as the three
triennial World Water Forums in 1997, 2000 and 2003, of
which the latter two were each attended by more than 5,000
participants. Equally numerous in the 10 ten years were
global water initiatives such as the Global Water
Partnership, the World Water Council, the World Water
Assessment Programme and many others. The purposes of many,
if not all, of the above events and initiatives are to some
extent also incorporated in this book. Unfortunately, it is
sometimes difficult to identify the ultimate goal of the
a last small but important footnote for the authors, editors
and publisher of the book is the lack of explanations of
sometimes complicated and uncommon abbreviations and
Meteorologia. Climatologia. Cambiamenti di Clima. Storia
della Meteorologia nel sec. XX in tre saggi. (Meteorology. Climatology. Climate changes. The story of Meteorology in
the 20th century in three parts).Istituto Nazionale di
Geofisica e Vulcanologia (I-00143 Rome, Via di Vigna Murata
605) (in Italian). 72 pages.
work makes up for the dearth of publications summarizing
studies made after 1955.
body of the work is preceded by a historical overview of
meteorology, a descriptive bibliography and a presentation
of some topics of study which may be of interest to science
first chapter keeps to essentials, omitting any mention of
research areas of recognized importance such as
teleconnections but, nevertheless provides, little known and
highly illuminating information on the political use of
chapter on climatology is apparently the first attempt to
put this discipline into a historical perspective. Although of undeniable interest, it may seem overly
influenced by the author's opinion that there should be a
detailed meteorological description of the area that is
understandable to the layman. Thus, there are places where the mean and minimum
winter temperatures are higher than those observed on the
Riviera but which are rather frequently exposed to strong,
relatively cold winds. But this should be expressed in words—only a
specialist can interpret meteorological statistics in order
to deduce this kind of information.
history of the study of climate changes is, however,
partial, since the author writes at length about initiatives
which have now been almost forgotten, such as the efforts
made in the past to collect information on climate
fluctuations, the reprinting by G. Hellmann (1854-1939) of
the most relevant writings and the first instrumental data,
the surveys led by WMO and the classification of various
forms of climate change covered in the publication Climate
Change (WMO-No. 195, TN No. 79; 1966 (out of print)).
the author makes a rather artificial attempt at defining
national schools to give some order to disparate
information, the choice does seem quite reasonable and
interesting to the reader.
comparison shows that the bibliography is almost
complementary to that given in the work by J.R. Fleming, the
current president of the International Commission on History
of Meteorology of the International Union of the History and
Philosophy of Science, entitled Historical Perspectives on
Climate Change (Oxford University Press, 1998).
pages covering research after 1975 suffer a little from the
author's conviction that most of the ideas to be taken into
account are described in The physical basis of climate and
climate modelling (GARP Publ. Series, No. 16, 1975, Appendix
2.1) and that the results of analyses of ice cores taken
from Greenland after 1997 are their experimental
author also highlights WMO’s programmes and scientific
publications which seem to him to be insufficiently known
and cited. Moreover,
on the basis of rather questionable indications, he implies
that WMO may have entrusted the IPCC with studies closely
linked to social and political considerations in order to be
able to devote itself to research that is free of such
sections on Italy are more detailed, occupying almost a
quarter of the book.
passages give the impression that the author has not gone
much beyond rudimentary studies of mathematics and physics.
serious omission is that of an index of names.
books received for review in the WMO Bulletin
Atmospheric Turbulence and Mesoscale Meteorology
E. Fedorovich, R.
Rotunno and B. Stevens (Eds.). Cambridge University Press
(2004). x + 280 pages; numerous equations and figures. ISBN
0-521-83588-7 (h/b), Price: £70/US$ 120.
The Interaction of Ocean Waves and Wind
By P. Jansen.
Cambridge University Press (2004). viii + 300 pages;
numerous equations and figures. ISBN 0-521-46540-0 (h/b).
Price: £70/US$ 120.
Hydrogeology of the Oceanic Lithosphere
E. Davis and H.
Elderfield (Eds.). Cambridge University Press (2004). xx +
706 pages; numerous figures + CD-ROM. ISBN 0-521-81929-6
(h/b). Price: £95/US$ 170.
Earth System Analysis for Sustainability
P.J. Crutzen, W.C. Clark, M. Claussen and H. Held. The MIT
Press, London (2004). xiv + 454 pages. ISBN 0-262-19513-5.
Particulate Matter Science for Policy Makers—A NARSTO Assessment
Shepherd and J. Vickery (Eds.). Cambridge University Press
(2004). xxxi + 510 pages. ISBN 0-521-84287-5 (h/b). Price:
Impacts of a Warming Arctic—Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
University Press (2004). 140 pages; numerous illustrations.
ISBN 0-521-61778-2 (p/b). Price: £19.99/US$ 29.99.