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Water's Role In Coordination And Coherence Of Climate Action

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

A new background paper produced for the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) describes “climate-resilient water management " as "the common ground and a unifying agenda for water and climate change adaptation”.

Water experts from international institutions, academia, and NGOs produced Adaptation’s Thirst: Accelerating The Convergence Of Water And Climate Action which offers guidance to answer the question: what can the water community do to help advance targets for climate change adaptation, and what can the climate community do to help advance targets for water resilience?

The authors, led by the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), maintain that “adaptation to climate change is not a quest for a single fix for a static problem; adaptation is putting in place levers and tools for adapting a complex system to a dynamically changing future.” The goal is to achieve an integrated system that will “equip people and societies with the means to make the adjustments across systems, sectors, and scales that are needed to withstand, recover from, and anticipate the impacts of climate change".

From this hypothesis, the group posits that good water management would provide appropriate levers and tools for resilience.

The background paper enumerates observed changes in the water cycle and the physical and economic impacts these changes have already had as well as what is anticipated by 2050, given well-recognised estimates of population growth and changes in temperature.

The group defines four “domains” that need to be coordinated with one another. The Action Framework for Climate-Resilient Water provides such a guide and emphasizes that “policies, strategies, plans, investments, and project interventions should address or be coordinated with action in all four action domains.” In this way the “building blocks for resilience” will be better aligned.

The domains are: governance and institutions, information and learning, system diversity and connectivity, optimization of choices about infrastructure and technologies and their management and operation.

The Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in The Hague October 2018 by 8th UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The Commission launched with the mandate to encourage the development of measures to manage the effects of climate change through technology, planning and investment. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon leads the group with co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgieva.