NEW PUBLICATION: National Adaptation Planning and Water - glass half full or half empty?

On Monday 8 April 2019, at Korea Global Adaptation Week, GWP launched the publication "Addressing Water in National Adaptation Plans – Water Supplement to the UNFCCC NAP Technical Guidelines". The launch event was co-hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and GWP.

Water is the most-cited pathway through which countries experience climate impacts, and also the most-often prioritised sector through which countries seek to build resilience in their economies, their populations’ livelihoods, and their natural ecosystems, as indicated in a 2016 UNFCCC study of 162 Nationally Determined Contributions.

Acknowledging that well-planned climate-responsive water management strategies and actions provide significant opportunity to build resilience, this NAP Water Supplement offers guidance for integrating water perspectives in countries’ NAP processes.

As the urgency to adapt is paramount, the NAP Water Supplement provides countries, water managers, and development practitioners with additional guidance to raise the profile of water in adaptation and implement integrated water management measures to enhance resilience to climate change risks. With countries preparing to initiate the second generation of their Nationally Determined Contributions, the Water Supplement also provides a reference point for countries to take stock and reflect on the water-related adaptation challenges that need increased ambition in planning beyond 2020. The NAP Water Supplement accompanies UNFCCC NAP Technical Guidelines prepared by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group of the UNFCCC.

“In writing this NAP Water Supplement, we see one important limitation – that only you, the readers and users, can address: National Adaptation Planning is ‘national’ only. Water, on the other hand, transcends boundaries. Effective management of water resources will – in practically all cases – involve collaboration across national boundaries. The water community has developed mechanisms and institutional solutions – and the invitation is for the climate community to use them!”, says GWP Executive Secretary Monika Weber-Fahr in the foreword.

Urgent transformational change is required to avoid global catastrophe and limit the damage from water related climate risks. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the window of opportunity to make changes is closing fast. If current emissions trajectories continue, global temperature rise compared to preindustrial levels could surpass 1.5°C in as little as 12 years, beyond which significantly worse climate risks threaten to perpetuate massive poverty for hundreds of millions of people, as well as generate irreversible changes in vital ecosystems. Most at risk are the world’s poorest, living in countries with weak water governance systems, weak institutions, inadequate regulatory regimes, and poor water infrastructure.