GWP Welcomes Climate Agreement

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21) adopted a new climate agreement in Paris, France, on 12 December. GWP welcomes the landmark agreement, which was signed by nearly 200 countries, and is committed to support it.

Speaking immediately after the announcement, GWP’s Water and Climate Programme Coordinator, Alex Simalabwi, said that GWP will seize the opportunities presented by the adoption of the climate deal.

“We will make sure that our climate resilience programmes – the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP), the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP), the Associated Programme for Flood Management (APFM), and the Deltas Climate Resilience Programme – remain at the forefront of the global climate agenda in tandem with the COP21 Agreement,” said Mr. Simalabwi.

GWP has been following the climate agenda closely over the years, and the GWP network was well represented during the two-week conference. Representatives took part in a number of events, conveying three key messages, calling for:

  • investments in water resources management by the Green Climate Fund
  • access to innovative finance mechanisms for climate resilience and water security
  • fulfilment of commitments to the Least Developed Countries Fund to ensure project implementation

Experts Spoke to Media

On 8 December 2015 GWP invited a panel of experts to talk to the press on the topic of “Finance for Water Security and Climate Resilient Development”. The event was moderated by GWP Executive Secretary Rudolph Cleveringa, and the expert panel consisted of AMCOW Executive Secretary Bai Mass Taal, Stockholm  World Water Week Director Karin Lexén, GWP Technical Committee Member Nicole Bernex and Heloise Chicou, Deputy Director and Climate Programme Officer of the French Water Partnership (FWP).

In her speech, Ms. Chicou mentioned that the FWP has noticed a clear rise in priority on water among developing countries, explaining that a survey showed that specific funding for water is requested by these countries. Ms. Chicou said that FWP not only promotes national funding for water, but also transboundary and basin funding, as well as local authority funding for water issues.

Following up on the transboundary comment, Bai Mass Taal said that transboundary funding is increasingly important in Africa, and in his experience this is becoming an issue of cooperation rather than conflict.

Speaking of her experience on water going back to COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, Ms. Lexén said that she has noticed “a tremendous change in attitudes. We see a lot of appreciation of the importance of integrating water in concrete actions, and today that is what matters.”

Nicole Bernex agreed that water issues these days have a stronger profile in climate change discussions. She mentioned the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation, which was adopted on 2 December at COP21 by a broad coalition of nations, river basin organisations, businesses, and civil society, including GWP.

The full press briefing, which was broadcast live on the UNFCCC website, is available here