Organised for the first time in the history of UN Climate Change Conferences (Conference of the Parties, or “COPs”), the Action Day for Water at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22) created through the Global Climate Action Agenda calls for more attention to water as a way of providing solutions to help implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Countries have identified water as a key to adaptation in 93% of their national climate action plans (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or “INDCs”). Water is fundamental for food security, human health, energy production, industrial productivity, biodiversity, in addition to basic human needs and its availability, says the Global Climate Action, adding that ensuring water security means ensuring security in all these domains.
The body adds that water is critical for successful climate change mitigation, as many efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions depend on reliable access to water resources. It notes that systematically addressing these challenges is, therefore, key to adapting to climate change and reducing the negative impacts of water-related disasters.
On this occasion, the “Blue Book on Water and Climate” will be launched by the Moroccan Government and its partners as a concrete outcome of its interim International Conference on Water and Climate, hosted in Rabat in July 2016, in cooperation with the Government of France and the World Water Council.
The publication collects the orientations and recommendations brought forth by the international water community to support the implementation of climate commitments and propose a variety of concrete and applicable solutions related to adaptation and resilience through water management.
“This aligns perfectly with COP22, which is striving to be a COP of action!” said Mrs. Charafat Afailal, Minister Delegate in charge of Water of Morocco. “Now, we need to realise what is at stake, since water insecurity leads to increased conflicts, tension between populations, and also provokes migration that threatens overall stability.”
Climate justice is also a priority of the Water Action Day, as evidenced by the launching of the “Water for Africa” initiative, established by the Kingdom of Morocco and supported by the African Development Bank. This initiative aims to render justice to Africa through the adoption of a specific action plan that will mobilise different international political, financial and institutional partners to improve water and sanitation services and management in Africa, for those most affected by climate change.
“While humanity experiences increasing demographic and socioeconomic stresses, recent episodes of extreme climate around the world bring additional complexities in finding solutions to reduce these stresses. Water is one of the most impacted resources, but water also provides solutions to these challenges,” said Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council.
In addition, the three alliances for basins, megacities and businesses, created at COP21 in Paris and strongly engaged in water and climate action, which today represent more than 450 organisations worldwide, signed a common commitment to mobilise jointly their partners, identify and disseminate good practices and support the development of new projects by actors on the ground engaged in adaptation and resilience of the water sector.
These three Alliances reported, in particular, during the hater showcase event on the positive progress made with the Flagship Projects on water adaptation launched at COP21, such as the hydrological information system of the transboundary Congo River, the integrated management of the Hai River in China, the strengthening of the new Mexico Metropolitan Organisation for Urban flooding drainage or the “Eco-cuencas” Climate adapt cooperation project between European and Andean countries and on new adaptation projects announced at COP22 Water day, for example, the Sebou River management in Morocco, the creation of the Water Adapt Training Centre in Brasilia or the future use of the SWOT satellite for Hydrological observations, inter alia”.
“Adaptation of water resources to climate change must be organised at the natural level of national or transboundary basin of Rivers, lakes and aquifers, where water is flowing from up-stream to down-stream, and mobilise all actors in the field, including local authorities, economic sectors and civil society to achieve, in concertation and in due time, a common vision to face the climate change challenges,” said Roberto Ramirez de la Parra, the President of the International Network of Basin Organisations.
France and Morocco’s global climate champions have set out their detailed agenda to boost cooperative action between governments, cities, business, investors and citizens to cut emissions rapidly and help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build their own clean energy, sustainable futures.
Climate champions, Hakima El Haité and Laurence Tubiana, said: “A year after COP 21, the great dynamic of climate action is now growing strong. As we all gather to Marrakech time has come to start to take stock of what has been achieved during the last year.
To be consistent with the long-term goals, all actors will have to work together, not only to achieve the national targets of the national climate action plans (Nationally Determined Contributions), but also to go further and bridge the gap of emissions. This sense of urgency should guide us all in accelerating immediate efforts and delivering ambitious action. We must identify what concrete policy options and what tools we will have to mobilise in the short term.
“The science is clear: the path towards achieving the long-term goals should bring us to peaking greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This is a challenge, and we are not there yet. On the current trends, we will be in 2030 between 11 to 14 GT above Paris-compatible pathways. The purpose of these events is to strengthen all efforts and take them to the next level to stay on track for the objectives: stay well below 2°C and if possible 1,5°C, increase adaptation and resilience capacities and reorient financial flows. It is our responsibility, as champions, to make the link between the real world and the COP process. Political leaders from all around the world should hear and be inspired by the solutions at our reach.”