GWP Urges Prioritizing IWRM in Adaptation to Climate Change
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The report titled, ‘Preparing to Adapt: The Untold Story of Water in Climate Change Adaptation Processes,’ finds that while most countries have prioritized some form of water management and institution building, just over one-third actually refer to IWRM in their NDCs.

The authors note that, while water-related actions are undertaken as part of adaptation to climate change, such actions also have co-benefits for mitigation.

11 December 2018: The Global Water Partnership (GWP) has launched a report at the Katowice Climate Change Conference, analyzing water-related actions that countries have included in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The report gives a summary of findings from the NDCs, and highlights opportunities for action with regard to SDG target 6.5 on implementing integrated water resource management (IWRM) at all levels by 2030. GWP’s analysis of NDCs shows that more than 80% of water-stressed countries do not prioritize IWRM.

The report titled, ‘Preparing to Adapt: The Untold Story of Water in Climate Change Adaptation Processes,’ finds that while most countries have prioritized some form of water management and institution building, just over one-third actually refer to IWRM in their NDCs. Many countries – around 60-70% – prioritize infrastructure and institutional measures such as water pricing, while fewer than 20% mention groundwater, and urban and wastewater management.

Forging ahead with large infrastructure projects could be counterproductive if countries have inadequate or ineffective management approaches.

The authors note that, while water-related actions are undertaken as part of adaptation to climate change, such actions also have co-benefits for mitigation. For example, wetland restoration can improve water quality, thereby reducing the need for energy that would otherwise be used in water treatment. They highlight opportunities that NDCs present to engage with financing partners and raise funds for projects, and suggest the interface between action on climate change and water-related actions be “managed more purposefully” by countries and development partners.

Specific suggestions for action include: updating hydrological models and projections in view of current climate change scenarios; putting in place effective water allocation and sharing systems; renewing cooperation among riparian states, including updating hydrological data and instituting data sharing; and placing disaster risk reduction (DRR) at the heart of adaptation action. The authors call for governments and their development partners to strengthen the institutions of water governance while investing in the necessary infrastructure.

A press conference and panel discussion on this topic took place on 11 December, one day after the release of the report. Speakers included the regional chairs of GWP and representatives of the World Resources Institute (WRI), the NDC Partnership and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). Monika Weber-Fahr, Executive Secretary of GWP, reminded participants that forging ahead with large infrastructure projects could be counterproductive if countries have inadequate or ineffective management approaches.

The Katowice Climate Change Conference met in Poland from 2-14 December. [Publication: Preparing to Adapt: The Untold Story of Water in Climate Change Adaptation Processes] [Report Web Page] [GWP Media Advisory]


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