Water-basis of life

Recognizing that climate change is to a great extend water change, a new alliance has been formed on June 2nd at a side event at the climate talks in Bonn.  Water is the primary medium through which the negative impacts of climate change will be felt.  Many organizations such as the WWF and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) have joined forces to highlight the crucial role that water plays in the global climate system.small_water.gif

June 2nd was declared “Water Day” by the Water and Climate Coalition, with several events and speeches throughout the day. Issues discussed were

  • The Water Management Perspective

How can water resource management best comply with national climate change adaptation strategies-especially regarding flood and drought management? It was further argued how the UNFCCC can support such steps.

  • The Water Supply and Sanitation Perspective

A major impact of climate change is how it will affect water supply and sanitation systems globally and particularly in developing countries.

  • Financing – Mobilizing Finance for Adaptation in the Water Sector

This session addressed the need for additional funding, as current funding available is only a fraction of what’s needed to adapt water management in poor, vulnerable countries. Another point was the fact that funding and investment needs to speed up.

  • Mitigation – Water and Energy interlinkages in the context of Climate Change

The development of renewable energy sources such as hydropower and bioenergy has direct implications for water resource use and management.  The IPCC states that the relationship between climate change mitigation measures and water is a reciprocal one. How can water security and energy security be achieved simultaneously?

The Water and Climate Coalition, addressing the UNFCCC, stated several points and recommended strategies.

  • Building resilience through Integrated Water Resources Managementwater.gif Effective water allocation systems supported by participatory water governance and fair water rights help enable flexible responses to risks and uncertainty caused by climate change.
  • Integrating NAPAs and Integrated Water Resources Management National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and any other country adaptation strategies must be developed in consultation with water resources managers and build on existing solutions available from Integrated Water Resources Management processes and plans.
  • Enhancing Regional and Transboundary Adaptation Climate change impacts do not respect national borders. Strategies need to be developed to cope with the additional strains that changes in water availability will put on relations between states.
  • Promoting Ecosystem-based Adaptation Protecting, preserving and conserving ecosystems is critical to building resilience to climate change impacts on water resources.Especially women and girls are affected by increased stress on water resources and spend more time collecting water than on their education
  • Building Resilience of Water Supply and Sanitation
  • Recognising the role of adaptive water management for livelihoods Poverty is very often linked to water stress. Small scale farmers feed one third of the world’s population and heavily rely on rain and small scale irrigation.
  • Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Resources Management
  • Recognising the reciprocal relationship between climate change mitigation and water
  • Addressing the carbon footprint of the water sectorwaterdrop.gif Water services contribute about 4 % of the global GHG emissions, a strong declaration will help utilities to strengthen their energy and GHG emission reduction objectives.
  • Integrating climate change mitigation with integrated water resources management In regard to the further development of hydropower and biofuels, the aim must be to avoid ‘maladaptation’ that reduces climate resilience, such as inducing future shortages of water for essential needs
  • Avoiding assumptions about future water availability
  • Enhancing energy efficiency in the water sector
  • Recognising the mitigation impacts of adaptation actions in the water sector
  • Generating new and additional finance for adaptation to climate change impacts on water Existing studies on the additional costs of adaptation in the water sector estimate the costs as up to $20 billion/year in developing countries, and this represents the third most costly sector for adapting to climate change.

I hope the Coalition will be successful in promoting their sensible strategies and goals and help us adapting to climate change and keeping in mind that water is the basis of all life.

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