Strengthening the resilience of countries to climate change

The role of water as an integral pathway to build climate resilience and implement the Paris Agreement can never be overemphasized, says Alex Simalabwi, Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) Executive Secretary, Head of the GWP Coordination Unit (CU) and Global Coordinator for the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP).

Speaking at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23), Germany, Mr. Simalabwi vowed GWP’s continued support in the fight against climate change.

“GWP feels privileged to be part of this year’s convention, and we are pleased to note that our programmes are aligned with this year’s COP23’s overall objective, which is to promote support for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, related to climate change adaptation through water resources management and development. I, therefore, urge all parties to step up implementation of actions that deliver the Paris Agreement”, said Mr. Simalabwi.

He highlighted that in pursuit of the goals of the Paris Agreement, GWP links its streams of work on climate resilience through various programmes. These include WACDEP, the Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP), and the GWP-UNICEF collaboration on climate resilience in WASH.

Through the global WACDEP programme, which was piloted in Africa before spreading to 4 continents, GWP works to strengthen the resilience of countries to climate change. More specifically, the programme focuses on continued support for National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) formulation and implementation, support for the adaptation components of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (I/NDCs), south-south cooperation and knowledge exchange, and coherence with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global agendas. Furthermore, the programme supports countries with capacity development for planning, implementation and monitoring of water related activities in NDCS and NAPs.

Representatives from GWP headquarters and various regions are present throughout the 2-week-long convention, partaking in the chairing, presentation and facilitation of more than 20 sessions throughout the convention as well as operating an exhibition booth from 12-17 November. 

A session titled “A Low Carbon, Low Energy Water Sector – Scaling up from Project to Programmatic Approaches” will be presented by Armand Houanye, Executive Secretary, GWP West Africa on 6 November. On 10 November, GWP Chair Oyun Sanjaasuren will chair a session on “Managing Water Scarcity for Agriculture“ and also present on the High-level Panel on Water and Climate Finance. On the same day Alex Simalabwi will be amongst the speakers for the session “Climate Action for Improved Water Resources Management”.

Other sessions where GWP will participate include: Water knowledge to respond to climate uncertainty; Water for sustainable agriculture and food security, – Good Practices from the NAP-Ag Programme, Belt and Road Green Development and Climate Governance and Water – vital for climate action: towards strengthened NDCs.

This year's edition of the annual conference intends to advance governments towards the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreements (Paris Agreement) goals and ambitions. The conference will equip countries towards the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objective and fighting several global challenges such as global warming. The convention will also provide a platform for parties represented to develop guidelines on how the provisions of the Paris Agreement will be executed across a wide array of issues, among them, transparency, adaptation, emission reductions, provision of finance, capacity-building, and technology.

The supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC the Conference of the Parties (COP), which first met in Berlin in 1995, convenes annually to review the implementation of the convention and any other legal instruments adopted by the COP as well as to deliberate on climate change. The meeting comprises of 197 states that are part of the convention, known as parties to the convention whose aim is to prevent harmful human interference with the climate system.

The conference which has an attendance of more than 25 000 people from around the world aims at increase climate action and foster sustainable development at all levels of society. Running from 6 to 17 November at the World Conference Centre , in Bonn, Germany, where the UNFCCC Secretariat is headquartered, the conference is convened under the Presidency of Fiji with the support of the government of Germany.

To find out more about how GWP is securing a more water secure and climate resilient world through the WACDEP program, watch this video.

For live streaming of the COP 23 event, please click here