The United Nations will be discussing recommendations from a new report about climate change-related loss and damage, including a case study of how the San Joaquin Valley is coping with drought, during the second UN Environment Assembly (UNEA2), May 23 to 27 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The policy recommendations developed by Dr. Gil Harootunian, Fresno State director of University initiatives, focus on how the Valley can best cope with drought. They are featured in “Preventing the Avoidable, Dealing with the Unavoidable,” published May 19 during the Science-Policy Forum at the UNEA2. The San Joaquin Valley is the only U.S. case study in the report.

“This is a step forward in Fresno State realizing its goal to become the ’Water University,’ not only at the national level but even at the international level,” said Fresno State Provost Lynnette Zelezny.

“Preventing the Avoidable, Dealing with the Unavoidable” analyzes five case studies around the world: extreme floods in India and Pakistan, the Drylands of East and West Africa, typhoons in the Philippines, a severe heat wave in France, and the four-year drought in the San Joaquin Valley.

“Telling the story of the San Joaquin Valley in its own right makes clear the need for deliberate democratic management of water resources,” said Harootunian. She is one of the lead authors of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report.

The UNEP report indicates that climate change has influenced broad climatic patterns. “Very wise adaptations will be critical to have a thriving future for the San Joaquin Valley,” Harootunian said. “With education and commitment, the bounty of farming and the spectacular environment can remain the renewable gold of California.”

Harootunian also co-authored “Timeline: California Water Rights History: From the Feudal Age to 21st Century California” with Kees van der Geest, a colleague from the United Nations University, a global think tank dedicated to collaborative research and education to resolve the global problems of human survival, development and welfare. This report was developed to deepen understanding and awareness of water issues in the San Joaquin Valley.

For more information, contact Harootunian at 559.278.4850 or

Related links:

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader