The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

May 2016

World Bank Water Partnership Program Annual Report Now Available

The World Bank's Water Partnership Program (WPP) annual report, “A Waterway to Resilience” highlights the program’s progress and results during Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15). This year’s report showcases three focus areas in water: building resilience; helping service providers become more efficient and sustainable; and using integrated approaches to confront complexity. Each WPP-funded activity makes a unique contribution to client countries’ sustainability goals. WPP supports the World Bank Water Global Practice and its approach to Water Writ Large, linking improved water management to water services in order to help client countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals in water and water-dependent sectors.

The annual report features updates from WPP initiatives, including several AGWA-related projects and activities. The full report is available to view or download here. Read More...
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Ecosystem-based Adaptation Event at UNFCCC Climate Change Conference

On May 16, Conservation International held a side-event at the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, in partnership with IUCN, UNEP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) titled “Ecosystem-based adaptation: a driving force for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement”. It sought to encourage discussion on how EbA can, and must, play an important role in achieving the Goals of these two global agreements, with presentations from all partners.

One of the key take-away messages was the sheer ubiquity of the role of ecosystems across sectors (e.g., food security, disaster risk reduction) in supporting the global goal on adaptation articulated in the Paris Agreement last December and in many of the 169 Targets comprising the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The role of nature is often unarticulated but is implicit and critical to the achievement of those Targets. Moreover, it is often through climate change-driven shifts in the availability of freshwater (too much and too little) that the role of ecosystems is manifest (e.g., in the context of "green infrastructure" and its potential to help people adapt to those changes). Hence, knowledge and innovation that helps guide public and private sector investments in water infrastructure will be key to achieving not only Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), but also in supporting Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and beyond.

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AGWA Updates: May 2016

AGWA has just released the May edition of its newsletter - available here. This issue has a great deal of the latest climate and water news as well as internal updates. You'll find sections on ecosystem and infrastructure trends, adaptive governance and policy, sustainable finance, and even a section on climate change through history. Plus, it highlights funding opportunities and the latest publications. Read More...
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1500 Organizations Around the World to Celebrate World Fish Migration Day

Event Highlights Importance of Open Rivers and Migratory Fish

World Fish Migration Day (WFMD), held on May 21, 2016, will bring together more than 1,500 organizations, featuring more than 350 events worldwide. Organized by the World Fish Migration Foundation, this one-day global initiative calls attention to the needs of migratory fish to ensure that more natural river networks remain connected, and those already fragmented can be restored.


Migratory fish such as catfish, sturgeon, eel and salmon support the diets and livelihoods of millions of people worldwide. However, these fish face a number of threats. Physical barriers—including dams, weirs and sluices—are one of the most widespread challenges for these species. In addition to blocking migratory paths, these man-made structures disrupt the natural flow of rivers, which is critical fish spawning. Migratory species depend on open rivers and natural pulses of water to reproduce, feed and complete their life cycles. The main goal of WFMD is to improve the public’s understanding of the importance of migratory fish, the need for healthy rivers, the communities that depend on both, and the options we have to minimize or avoid impacts. WFMD will be marked by events ranging from educational tours of river restoration projects to global inaugurations of “fishways” that help migratory species bypass water infrastructure. Family and educational events will also include celebrations at zoos and aquariums worldwide, drawing and coloring contests, and kayak tours.
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Guest Blog | Wetland Restoration improves livelihoods in developing cities

Wetland Restoration improves livelihoods in developing cities
by Rob Cadmus (Ramsar Convention Secretariat), Chris Percival (The South Pole Group), and Ania Grobicki (Acting Secretary General, Ramsar Convention Secretariat)

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Much of our increasingly urban world takes access to clean water for granted, viewing it as an inexhaustible resource. Yet today, hundreds of millions of people will go without clean water and one out of three people will not have access to proper sanitation (WHO & UNICEF, 2015). In 2010, more urban dwellers were without access to water services than in 2000 (De Castro Zoratto & Ivins, 2015), and it is estimated that by 2050 the global demand for water will increase by 55% (WWAP, 2015). Meeting basic water needs will continue to be a challenge.

As people have migrated from rural areas to urban centers in hope of jobs and education, cities have expanded outwards and in many cases have degraded the waterways and wetlands that surround them, resulting in polluted water with the worst conditions felt by the poor and disadvantaged. This cycle of expansion and degradation is seen throughout the world, but is particularly striking in some of the least developed countries where informal settlements and slums have sprawled faster than basic services. Nearly 900 million people will live in slums by 2020 (WHO & UN-Habitat, 2010), and in developing countries 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into water bodies (Corcoran et al., 2010). In many of these informal settlements, pollution and open sewers contaminate water, resulting in disease and deaths. The UN estimates that approximately 3.5 million people die each year as a result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (UN Water, 2013). Further, these populations are often the most vulnerable to natural disasters, food shortages, and the impacts of climate change. Read More...
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High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy


A new World Bank reports finds that water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could hinder economic growth, spur migration, and spark conflict. However, most countries can neutralize the adverse impacts of water scarcity by taking action to allocate and use water resources more efficiently.

Water and climate change are inextricably linked. In fact, water is the primary vehicle through which climate change's effects will be felt. Findings from a new World Bank report explore the possible outcomes of a business-as-usual approach to water management versus a more progressive approach to water management policy. As they say in the video above, "We can't control how much rain falls, but we can control how water gets used and move towards a world of resilience in the face of a changing climate."

Read the original article from the World Bank or download the full report by clicking here. This story is also covered by the Wilson Center's "New Security Beat" blog here. Read More...
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WWF Climate Crowd: Crowdsourcing human responses to climate change

What do climate change, wildlife, rural communities around the world, and collaborations between WWF and organizations like the Peace Corps have in common? WWF Climate Crowd!

Far removed from decision-making bodies and financial resources, rural communities are often left to their own devices to cope and adapt to changes in weather and climate. Indigenous, local and traditional knowledge systems could be a very useful tool for adapting to climate change, but these have not been used consistently in existing efforts. Additionally, most research has focused on the direct impacts of climate change on biodiversity, but largely neglected how human responses to climate change are impacting biodiversity.

WWF Climate Crowd is a new initiative to crowdsource information on how these communities are responding and how their responses impact biodiversity. We are collaborating with other organizations to collect this data, find and implement ways to better help communities adapt, and alter our conservation strategies in light of the information we gather.

To find out more on this new initiative, tune in to an upcoming webinar: Wednesday, May 11 at 10am EST
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7128597151218086916 Read More...
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How to plug the gap in water investments | AGWA in "Development Finance" Magazine

Development Finance is the first global magazine for donors, development finance institutions, development agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organizations, which highlights and analyses where capital is being mobilized most effectively for the global south, in particular in terms of financing development in the secondary cities of Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The magazine's third issue features an article discussing AGWA's recent work developing a global water climate bond standard. You can find the article "How to Plug the Gap in Water Investments" by clicking here. For the full issue visit http://www.devfinance.net/knowledge-hub/. Read More...
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