World Water Council President Benedito Braga believes that water and adaptation challenges will continue to grow in significance at global climate talks.
Speaking to OOSKAnews Publisher David Duncan in a video podcast interview this week, Braga expressed optimism that the 2017 UN Climate Conference will give increasing priority to adaptation to climate change, particularly adaptation to climate-related water challenges.
Conventions of Parties (COPs) are convened annually under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP21 was hosted in France in 2015, and saw the signing of the much heralded “Paris Agreement” on climate change.
The World Water Council is a co-founder of the Climate is Water alliance which was established in 2015. This international initiative is an effort to elevate the visibility of water within the UNFCCC climate change discussions “by reaching out to the climate community at every level for better consideration of water issues”.
Braga was impressed by efforts to elevate this visibility in the lead-up and during 2016’s COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco:
“We, together with the French Government and the Moroccan Government, organized a mid-term meeting…and discussed how the Moroccan Government could bring the subject of water (to discussions about agriculture, energy, health and education. Particuarly relating to adaptation)”.
“Since the beginning of negotiations around climate, the COPS, the emphasis has been around energy and mitigation measures. We say that water is central to adaptation…let us see how the governments are going to bring more to the discussions about adaptation. My feeling is that water has come to stay in these discussions”.
Braga believes that the “water momentum” can be maintained at COP23, which will be hosted in Bonn Germany this year, under the national presidency of Fiji.
“Island nations are very fragile and vulnerable to…severe weather…monsoons, typhoons, hurricanes in terms of excess water…but also climate change, changing rainfall patterns can bring severe drought and (problems particular to) small states”.
“I think Fiji understands the importance of adaptation, the importance of bringing policy around resilience to severe droughts and floods. My perception is that Fiji will very much like to continue this trend on water and adaptation playing a (greater) role in the next COP”.
President Braga also reflected on the World Water Council’s own process of triennial World Water Forums since this program commenced in 1997, and looked forward to 2018’s 8th World Water Forum which will be held in Brasilia, Brazil.
World Water Council President Braga’s interview can be viewed here.