Water and Climate Connection, interview with GWP Chair at COP 16

Posted: 2010-12-09

Dr Letitia A ObengComments from GWP Chair, and our allies, in a Circle of Blue Circle story from Cancun, COP16.

As the 16th meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change enters its second week in Cancun, Mexico, some advocates feel that water is getting more attention–though perhaps not yet from negotiators–than it did last year.

When, in 2009, all references to water were removed from the negotiating text in meetings that led up to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, water advocates were dismayed.

They argued, in what has now become an organizing mantra, that the effects of global warming on human life and the environment will be felt through changes in the hydrological cycle. Decreasing snowpack and melting glaciers will wreak havoc on local water supplies; more intense periods of rainfall and drought will bring floods and scorched earth.

Any treaty not mentioning water, especially in the key area of adaptation, would be deficient.

But, this year, national delegations have issued statements on the importance of water in the negotiating texts. The ball began rolling on the eve of the negotiations when the foreign ministers of the Green Group of six countries issued a statement, highlighting the water-climate link and identifying water as “a crucial element of any climate change action.”

The group–including Cape Verde, Costa Rice, Iceland, Singapore, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates–encouraged greater emphasis on water management in climate adaptation.

“This kind of focus on water was not in Copenhagen,” said Letitia Obeng, chair of the Global Water Partnership, in an interview with Circle of Blue.

Read full interview in Circle of Blue.

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