I’m tired of hearing it. The water people. The energy people. The environment people. The agriculture people. The health people. Well, I guess we all work in ‘sectors’ and we all have to push our agendas.
But there are efforts to bridge the sectors so that there is a holistic approach to sustainable development.
Another attempt was made on Wednesday night here in Copenhagen with a side event appropriately called ‘Bridging the Water and Climate Agendas.’ The premise was simple: climate change impacts will be felt through water so the ‘climate people’ and the ‘water people’ need to work together.
The organisers, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the Global Public Policy Network on Water Management (GPPN)–a joint initiative of the Stakeholder Forum and the Stockholm International Water Institute–were astounded at the attendance. Someone told me there were 200 people in the room. Okay, that is only 1% of the 15,000 reported registrants but a lot of those registrants haven’t showed up yet. (Delegations are known to stuff their lists with names just to make sure they can get in if need be–shocking!)
Anyway, the GWP’s Mike Muller facilitated the event. Ainun Nishat of IUCN, a member of the Bangladesh delegation, and the vice-chair of GWP Bangladesh, spoke about the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. Hannah Stoddart of GPPN outlined the key messages on water and climate change for the consideration of negotiators. John Matthews of WWF stressed the need for integration and freshwater ecosystem preservation. Karin Lexen of the Stockholm International Water Institute noted the discussions on the human right to water. And Ania Grobicki, GWP’s executive secretary, called for concerted action on water and climate change beyond COP15.
But everyone agreed that the highlight of the evening was the 30 minutes or more of lively discussion and debate from the audience. Maybe with more side events like this, the bridge would be built more quickly.
The event was selected by the UNFCCC for webcast but don’t hold your breath. They’ve got a ton to do so I’ll have to get back to you with a link once it is up.