Key messages from Water, Climate and Development Day PDF Print E-mail

On Saturday December 3, the Water and Climate Coalition together with collaborative partners hosted the Water, Climate and Development Day at COP17 in Durban. The day highlighted water’s relationship to economic development and a diverse range of issues and mechanisms under the UNFCCC – including adaptation; mitigation; Finance; renewable energy; Technology, REDD; Land-Use; Land-Use Change; and Forestry and also served to facilitate discussion by international experts and senior policy makers on practical solutions to place water at the centre of development and the UNFCCC negotiations. For a summary of the day, plus related articles, please see the blog.

Key findings from the day were presented to ministers and dignitaries at a high level panel session on 6 December.

Key messages from the event (as presented by Mr. Anders Berntell, Executive Director, SIWI) are:

  • The water issue has to be sufficiently addressed on the UNFCCC agenda since it is part of Article 4e of the Climate Change Convention. Climate change is to a large extent water change and the water community is already dealing with the challenges. The existing experience and knowledge needs to be shared. In partnership – Africa, developing countries and development partners need to work strategically to ensure water resources as a thematic focus in the UNFCCC.
  • Water is not a sector, it is a resource. Climate change is making water resources management more complex due to the uncertainty and unpredictability in weather patterns. The complexity and cross-cutting nature of water must be fully acknowledged. Addressing water is not about bringing in sectorial interests, but a way of systematically addressing complexities that currently are addressed under headings such as hazards, floods, droughts and famine.
  • Water is about both adaptation and mitigation. It needs to be distinctly pointed out that the success of most mitigation interventions, as determined by the UNFCCC, rest upon the availability and sustainability of water resources.
  • Water knowledge expertise needs to inform the adaptation committee to ensure linkages between NWP and the Cancun Agreement, emphasising importance of water as a key medium for adaptation. Qualified water resource management knowledge should be represented amongst the members of the Adaptation Committee. In addition links should be established between the Adaptation Committee and water institutions and organisation.
  • We welcome the SBSTA draft decision to organise a technical workshop on water. This can be further strengthened by establishing a thematic focus under the Nairobi Work Programme, ensuring that climate interventions involving water resources are properly addressed.
  • Establish water as a priority under the Green Climate Fund with a sub thematic funding window for water resources management.
  • The Africa Green fund should include a dedicated thematic funding window for water resources and to be utilised for projects related to water management and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The summary of the key messages for Water, Climate and Development Day appeared in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder magazine on environment and sustainable development published at COP17. View it here.