Bonn 15 June 2011, UNFCCC negotiations
GWP is at the climate change talks in Bonn to advocate for the pivotal role of water resources management in mitigating, and adapting to, climate change. It’s obvious to water people why water management should be on top of the climate change agenda: we believe everything is linked to water. Why? Because the effects of climate change will be felt through the water cycle such as floods, droughts, and sea level rise which will turn fresh water into salt water.
Can it be that the central role of water is the disadvantage of water? Water relates to everything that the negotiations are about and is at the core of everything that is listed as problematic: food security, disasters, global warming. Someone said that water is like finance, it cuts across all sectors. We agree. Maybe that’s why water falls between the cracks, because people assume it’s obvious and will be addressed. The problem is that it’s not obvious (because we take it for granted) and therefore it’s ignored. Water is often treated as a never-ending resource that can be used and abused. Water is not a sector that can be adapted; it is at the centre of adaptation activity, just as financing is needed for all activities.
We’re the first to admit that things can get pretty complex when dealing with a natural resource such as water that affects, or is affected by, every human endeavor. But we have the knowledge and the technology to manage it better; we just seem to lack the political will, at least at the climate talks.
One of our colleagues reported on the huge amount of time—hours and sometimes days on end—that delegates spend discussing the agenda. If only that time was spent discussing water!