One Year Later, another COP (16)

It was a year ago that I blogged from COP 15. Has anything changed?

Except for the fact that I am not in Cancun, not much. And I feel a little cheated. Copenhagen was freezing and Cancun is a tropical paradise. Oh well.

Today is the end of the first week and by all accounts the climate change negotiations are not a centimeter more advanced than they were when people flew out of Copenhagen a year ago (I took the train).

But GWP has done a lot of work since then, continuing its efforts to move water resources management higher up the climate agenda. After all, as I wrote last year, nearly every single example of climate change disaster scenarios involves water or the lack of it. But is there any reference to the urgency of financing water resources management in order to build resilence against these threats? Hardly a mention. Investing in water today contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable development now and is a long-term investment that will strengthen communities against future threats.

GWP has a delegation in Cancun headed by our Chair, Dr. Letitia A. Obeng. Our messages are clear: Climate change adaptation is mainly about water. Water should not be treated as a sector. It is cross-sectoral (no sector can exist without water) and therefore water management deserves a special place when it comes to adapating to climate change. Good water management is inherently adaptive. The integration of activities across sectors that use water is smart policy, ensuring that activities in one sector do not undermine those in another, and that overall water use does not compromise the sustainability of the resource itself.

One of our delegates, GWP Senior Network Officer and Climate Change Focal Point Alex Simalabwi, is keen to remind policy makers that climate change and water cannot be separated. “Building synergies between National Adaptation Programmes of Action with Integrated Water Resources Management Plans is essential for National Development Plans,” said Mr. Simalabwi. I admit I get confused about all those plans but one thing is clear: put water at the center and you can hardly go wrong.

By the way, The Economist asserted in a cover story coinciding with Cancun that even if the international community does little about mitigation, that is no excuse for ignoring adaptation. Most of their examples… you guessed it… were about water. (Even if they missed the point that, therefore, water resources management should be placed at the top of the adaptation agenda.) As GWP has been saying for some time now: there are many aspects to adaptation, but better water resources management is a good – maybe even the best – place to start.

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About globalwaterpartnership

The Global Water Partnership's vision is for a water secure world. Our mission is to advance governance and management of water resources for sustainable and equitable development.
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