GWP calls for water adaptation programme under UNFCCC

At a GWP press briefing on 8 June 2010 at the UNFCCC climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, GWP Executive Secretary Dr. Ania Grobicki called for water, climate and development to be integrated into the UNFCCC's work on adaptation.

As the world becomes warmer, evaporation rates rise with the temperature, and the water cycle speeds up.  Seasonal rains become more unpredictable, threatening harvests.  Floods, droughts and extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, affecting the livelihoods and the shelter of many more people.  Water is the medium that links together many different challenges in the areas of poverty, health, food security, vulnerability to disasters and human security, all of which will be exacerbated by climate change.

GWP is committed to supporting the implementation of integrated water resources development and management (IWRM), which was recognized as the right approach to managing this vital resource at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) in Rio in 1992.

“This decision was reiterated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, in 2002.  However, there is no single UN organization devoted to water, and water is marginalized in the vital negotiations of the UNFCCC. We are calling for a programme on water, climate and development to be established under the UNFCCC´s work on adaptation,” said Dr Ania Grobicki, the Executive Secretary of GWP.

IWRM is an adaptive process that recognizes the interconnectedness of development issues in order to identify coherent set of insights that can provide a basis for concrete action.  It promotes the wise and sustainable use of water, the equitable sharing of the benefits of its use, and builds resilience to water-related disasters including floods and drought. Investments in water resource management strengthen the ability of countries to adapt to new demands and external pressures.

However, in many cases, rivers cross national boundaries. The Global Water Partnership believes that water and its management can offer a unifying focus for global, regional as well as national co-operation on adaptation to climate change.  Investments in integrated water resources development and management are investments in adaptation.  GWP is committed to the implementation of IWRM as part of national and regional adaptation strategies and development processes, and we have actively pledged the work of our organization in support of the UNFCCC´s Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.

A webcast from the press briefing is available here.