COP23 Underway, Syria Signs Up, Fiji Presidency, Water Action Day, Calls for Investment in Climate Adaptation, COPS and Robbers, More…

BONN, Germany
  • COP23 Underway, Syria Says "We're in!", US Isolated
  • Action Day for Water
  • World Water Council Calls for Financing for New Water Infrastructure and Maintenance
  • Oil Majors Named and Shamed for Water Abuse Again

Syria's "In"

Syria has announced 7 November that it will sign the Paris climate accord. The move, which comes on the heels of Nicaragua signing the accord last month, leaves the United States of America as the only country that has rejected the global pact (more to follow from OOSKAnews).

A Syrian delegate announced at a United Nations climate conference plenary session today that the country was poised to send its ratification of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations.With 197 Parties, UNFCCC has near universal international membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

COP23 Convenes

The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) convened ealrier this week (5 November) in Bonn, Germany under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the aim of launching nations towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.

Fiji Presidency, Poland Next

The current Bonn-hosted conference is presided over by Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji, the first small island developing state to hold the presidential role at a COP. “The human suffering caused by intensifying hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods and threats to food security caused by climate change means there is no time to waste,” said Bainimarama, who assumed Presidency of the COP23 conference from Morocco during Monday’s opening.

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said “COP23 in Bonn will show to the world the two faces of climate change—firstly positive, resolute, inspiring momentum by so many governments and a growing array of cities and states to business, civil society leaders and UN agencies aligning to the Paris Agreement’s aims and goals”.

“Secondly, the reality check. The thermometer of risk is rising; the pulse of the planet is racing; people are hurting; the window of opportunity is closing and we must go further and faster together to lift ambition and action to the next defining level, “she said.

COP24 will be hosted in Poland in 2018.

A Day for Water

Friday 10 November has been designated a Water Action Day at the climate conference, which recognizes water challenges as a core thematic area along with Energy, Agriculture, Oceans & Coastal Zones, Human Settlements, Transport, Industry and Forests.

Following an inaugural Water Action Day at COP22 in Marrakesh Morocco, this year’s Water Day events “are designed to build on our achievements in mainstreaming water into the global climate action agenda, enabling climate and water actors and their allies to learn from one another and engage as full partners in achieving a sustainable and resilient climate future for all people…” (Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, AGWA) “…water (is) an essential connector between sectors, (and) this year’s program has been developed with our allies in other focal areas including Agriculture, Energy, Cities, Industry, Oceans, Biodiversity and Gender, and is focused on exploring the critical linkages between water and the global climate adaptation, mitigation and finance agendas”.

AGWA is acting as point group for water and climate actions at the conference, bringing together national governments including Germany, the Netherlands, and Morocco, along with AGWA itself, the Stockholm International Water Institute, and members of the #ClimateIsWater Initiative under the banner of #BlueLineBonn.

The AGWA alliance has produced a guide to water-related events at this year’s Bonn conference which can be found here.

World Water Council Calls for Financing for New Water Infrastructure and Maintenance

As the Bonn talks commence, the World Water Council (WWC) has called on governments and investors to prioritize finance for new water infrastructure as well as operating and maintenance coverage.

“We seek to encourage continued dialogue between the water and climate communities as well as state and non-state actors for better water management and infrastructure financing within the uncertainty posed by climate change,” WWC’s vice president Dogan Altinbilek told edie.net.

Speaking to OOSKAnews in a video podcast interview earlier this year, WWC President Benedito 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.

Braga believes that the “water momentum” can be maintained at COP23 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 (COP23)”.

Water risks fueled by climate change cost the private sector $14 billion USD in 2015, yet many companies are still failing to understand the nexus between water, energy and climate change.

According to the WWC, $115 billion USD will be needed annually to create adequate new water infrastructure, while a further $179 billion USD will be required to improve current equipment so that systems can adapt to changing climates and mitigate the threats of global warming.

Globally, it is estimated that the cost of water insecurity has reached $500 billion USD annually, and despite most nations increasing budgets for water management the WWC claims that many will fail to comply with goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Recommendations and the “Blue Book”

At COP22 in Marrackesh the findings of the Water Action Day were presented to the event’s closing plenary, with three specific recommendations:

  • Harmonizing water and climate policies, launching a Water Action Plan for Climate Resilience and implementing the five fingers alliance concept, an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses collaborative solutions in the domains of water, food, energy, health and education
  • Extending water access and sanitation services in Africa
  • Reinforcing resilient water governance and promoting participatory, inclusive, integrated, and ecological water resources management

An update on the Blue Book on Water and Climate, which was produced by the Moroccan Government as an outcome to a Water and Climate conference held in July 2016 before COP22 in Marrakesh, is expected to be released during proceedings in Bonn.

Oil Majors Named and Shamed for Water Abuse

Also this week Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil have both again been named as among the worst offenders for “persistently” failing to reveal water data to their investors by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in a report written on behalf of 639 investors representing $69 trillion USD in assets.

CDP’s third annual report tracking corporate action on water security relates that only 37 of 138 energy companies agreed to disclose their investments in water projects, despite growing interest in water scarcity in the boardrooms of other industries.

The CDP report “sets out what a water-secure world looks like, the private sector actions that will contribute to its achievement, and how companies are overcoming the barriers to water security – most importantly, the failure to properly value our fresh water resources in today’s economy”.

“Measurement, transparency and accountability are vital tools for change. With more companies than ever disclosing water data via CDP, we are at a tipping point that will mainstream action on water security across the world”, say the authors whose study tracks progress to water sustainability through the metrics of transparency, risk assessment, measuring and monitoring, governance, targets and goals, and supply chain engagement.

The report has seen a record year for water disclosure, but still over half of companies do not respond to the requests for water-related information.

CDP gave an "A" rating to more than 70 firms this year, including Diageo, Colgate Palmolive, Nestle, Ford, GM, Sony, Toyota, Danone, Unilever, Kellogg, Bayer, Anheuser Busch/Inbev and Acciona.

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