Water, Climate and Development Day at COP17

On Saturday, December 3rd, 2011, the African Ministers Council on Water in conjunction with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Department of Water Affairs South Africa, the Global Water Partnership and Water and Climate Coalition arranged an all-day event on Water, Climate and Development in the River Room at the African Pavilion.

Report by Alex Simalabwi, Senior Network Officer, GWP. Kirsty Schneeberger, Senior Policy Officer, Stakeholder Forum. Oseluka Zikora, Communications Officer, AMCOW

On Saturday December 3rd, the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) South Africa, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and Water and the Climate Coalition (WCC) arranged an all-day event on Water, Climate and Development. The day was filled with interesting and thought provoking presentations, followed by rich and dynamic discussions on how best to integrate water into the negotiations at COP, as well as address the nexus between water, climate and development.

Opening by AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture

The AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Her Excellency Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, delivered the Welcome Statement at the Opening Session chaired by the AMCOW Executive Secretary, Mr. Bai Mass Taal. Others who addressed the opening were Dr. Ania Grobicki, GWP Executive Secretary, and Mr. Anders Berntell, the Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The sessions covered a diverse range of subject matter and included presentations on:

  • Global Policy Solutions for Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Infrastructure, Technical and Ecosystem Solutions
  • Climate Change Information for Water Resources
  • Financial and Institutional Solutions
  • High Level Panel: Reflections and Perspectives for Integrating Water into the Climate Regime

Without exception, panelists were adamant that water must be integrated as a cross-cutting issue into these negotiations, as well as other multi-lateral fora.

Key Points Presented

On Tuesday 6 December, the key points from the Water, Climate and Development Day were presented to the High Level Ministerial Panel. The Panel, comprised of Ministers from Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, the Gambia, Sweden, Switzerland; as well as high level dignitaries, and the discussions about the practicalities of prioritising water in decision-making as well as investing in water management to build climate resilience in Africa enriched the overall debate.

The key messages from the Water and Climate Day, to be taken into the high level segment of COP, emphasise the importance of water in all of these discussions (see page 10). African Union Commissioner, H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace eloquently stated in her closing remarks:
“In Africa, water is life. This is an absolute matter of fact. Climate change in Africa means longer and more droughts; sharper floods; and less food. In Africa, every single country shares water with its neighbor. Climate change is about managing the water cycle… but limited adaptative capacity keeps us vulnerable in Africa.

Call to Action

"We present a call to action [to the high level segment of the COP]. We agree that water is not a sector, it is a resource as has been highlighted. We welcome the SBSTA draft decision to organise a technical workshop on water, and the Africa Union supports this recommendation. We have worked very closely with others to ensure that Africans can showcase their adaptive initiatives here at the COP. If you walk around you see how much has been done.”

Full report from the event (pdf).

(Photo: Dr Ania Grobicki, H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Mr Anders Berntell and Mr Carlos Rodriguez)

Posted: 2011-12-05


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