Watering the Paris Agreement at COP24

On the doorstep of finalizing the roadmap to implementing the
Paris Agreement, the water community is coming together to leverage
opportunities and awareness about water’s role in tackling
climate change.

By Maggie White
STOCKHOLM, Dec 5 2018 (IPS)

Most people will experience climate change in the form of water
– higher frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, an
increase in waterborne diseases, and overloaded sewage systems that
are unable to cope with new demands.

At the same time, water offers some of the best solutions for
reducing our climate impact and tackling effects of climate change.
Yet, the role of water is poorly understood and often forgotten in
the international climate debate.

Maggie White

The Conference of the Parties (COP) 24 is taking place in Katowice
in Poland 2-14 December and there is a lot at stake. The UNFCCC’s
2015 Paris Agreement set goals for reducing carbon emissions and
assisting countries in adapting to the adverse effects of global
climate change.

At the meeting in Poland, the parties need to agree on the
“rulebook” for the agreement, i.e. how it should be
implemented. But water is largely absent from the agreement.
However, many of the parties who ratified the Paris Agreement made
water a central component of their Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDCs).

At the doorstep of finalizing the road map for implementing the
Paris Agreement, the water community fears a missed opportunity to
leverage water’s full potential to mitigate the negative impacts
of climate change. With recent estimates saying that emissions must
come down dramatically in the next few years, this is a risk the
world cannot afford.

Similarly, the most powerful manifestations of climate change
are water-related and if that is not acknowledged, it will be
difficult for countries to respond adequately. Climate change will
also exacerbate water quality and variability, through changed
precipitation patterns and changes to evapotranspiration and
ultimately the water balance.

Trees, landscapes and agriculture are, for example, key for
reducing emissions and mitigating climate change. Forests and
wetlands act as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and play a
central role in the hydrologic cycle, filtering, storing and
regulating surface and groundwater flows.

Forest and wetlands can also act as buffers and provide
nature-based solutions to many infrastructure problems that
increasingly need to be addressed by decision-makers, not least to
make human settlements more resilient to floods and droughts.

To ensure sustainable development, food security and economic
stability in face of climate change, it is essential that water is
acknowledged and integrated into efforts to mitigate climate change
and adapt to its adverse effects.

To take action is also a question of climate justice; the people
most affected by effects of climate change are seldom themselves
causing major emissions. Yet, at the same time they can be strong
agents of change. Inclusion of marginalized groups and stakeholders
is consequently key in resilient decision and policy making.

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and AGWA, a
network hosted and co-chaired by SIWI, are honoured to be official
co-coordinators of the MPGCA (Marrakech Partnership for Global
Climate Agenda) at COP24.

Along with other partners, we have organised several climate
resilient water related events. See our activities on our SIWI at
COP webpage, and
follow our activities on social media using #SIWIatCOP.

Learn more about AGWA

View the
UNFCCC’s MPGCA webpage

Visit the COP24 event

The post Watering
the Paris Agreement at COP24
appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Maggie White is Senior Manager – International.
Policies, Swedish Water House

The post Watering
the Paris Agreement at COP24
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Watering the Paris Agreement at COP24