The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Call for expressions of interest in UNFCCC Regional Climate Weeks

The Regional Climate Weeks are organized by the UNFCCC secretariat with the Nairobi Framework Partnership partner agencies and hosted by different Governments in three regions throughout the year. They are so far organized in Africa, the Asia Pacific and in Latin America and the Caribbean. The goal of Regional Climate Weeks is to support Parties in the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals by mobilizing stakeholders across the region.
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The business benefits of engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals

This article originally appeared on the Aquacross website.
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The EU integrated the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, including three SDGs that are particularly relevant for the management of aquatic ecosystems as they cover Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Life below water (SDG 14) and Life on Land (SDG 15). The AQUACROSS project aims to support the achievement of these SDGs by providing knowledge and tools regarding the management of aquatic ecosystems.

In this attempt to reach out to the business community, this brief developed by IUCN discusses how businesses working directly and indirectly with marine and freshwater environments can profit from engaging with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Arguably, supporting the achievement of SDGs will reduce specific threats to aquatic ecosystems and ensure the sustenance of services that these provide. This will in turn benefit economic activities that rely on these ecosystem service provisions.

The brief highlights the important role that business plays in the implementation of the SDGs, by providing crucial financing, in addition to contributing to innovation and technical capabilities. In addition, businesses can benefit from engaging with the SDGs, as the engagement will allow the identification of new markets and opportunities for investments and partnerships. Furthermore, by supporting the achievement of SDGs, the environmental performance of businesses can be improved, whereas risks related to biodiversity loss and water scarcity can be reduced. Also, by engaging with SDGs, businesses can improve their communication with consumers and stakeholders, as well as decision makers, to ensure their visibility and the continued access to resources. Read More...
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AGWA’s Policy Team: The Year Ahead

The AGWA policy agenda for 2018 is quickly filling up. Based on the successes of the previous few years in global policy, we are making some significant but subtle shifts in our work for this year.

Especially for the UNFCCC, we have done a lot of awareness raising — seeking water partners willing to stand with us to tell stories of the linkages between water and climate change, as well as partnerships within the UNFCCC and national signatories. This work has been critical as well as dramatically successful. We clearly need to keep pursuing this path, but by itself awareness raising is no longer sufficient.

Beginning in late 2017, we began pivoting to describe more specific recommendations for how the UNFCCC can receive “plumbing”: which institutions, issues, and processes within the UNFCCC need resilient water knowledge, and how do we move towards building support and then implementing these recommendations? In many ways, this also means that we need to move outside of the comfort zone of other water-centered organizations.

For instance, urban resilience, disaster risk reduction (DRR), forestry and agriculture, energy and nature-based solutions are all growing areas of emphasis in global policy. How do we ensure that water knowledge is effectively represented in these areas? We must continue to cultivate a greater network of partners outside the traditional water community and we are pursuing ways to work more strategically, whether by participating in more major non-water meetings, such as the upcoming Adaptation Futures conference in Cape Town, or by partnering with organizations like the Red Cross or a broad set of the finance community to scale-up the impact of our work. 

This expanded focus also means that we need the full network to be involved to represent AGWA and to jointly articulate these issues and forge the necessary partnerships. Please volunteer and collaborate!
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Getting to Know the UNESCO Ecohydrology Networking Platform

This guest blog was written by Giuseppe Arduino, Chief Ecohydrology, Water Quality, & Water Education Section at UNESCO-IHP.
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The UNESCO Ecohydrology networking platform (web platform; http://ecohydrology-ihp.org) aims to provide access to the information exchange network and the procedure of data sharing and make data on demonstration sites available to all. It is also being designed to be a portal to inform on general ecohydrological events, conferences and seminars, funding opportunities for project proposals and to host the criteria and guidelines and online application to become a UNESCO Ecohydrology programme demonstration site.

The web platform contains a “Demosite Card” for each site, a harmonized/normalised and simplified visualisation of the main characteristics, achievements and results obtained by each demo sites and represented in a one-page format. The results obtained by the demonstration sites are seen as key milestones for the monitoring of indicators to comply with the 2030 Agenda, with reference to SDG 6 on water.
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Understanding the Role of Water in the SDGs: New Material from French Water Partnership

In 2015 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations, setting 17 goals for each country to reach by 2030. For the first time, a water goal was set which is ambitious and complete. Water is also essential to the other 16 goals. French Water Partnership (FWP) has created new material to help everyone understand the SDGs and the important role of water within each of the 17 goals. Read below to access the PDF "SDGs User Guide" as well as an infographic poster and video.
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NWP Video on SDG 13: Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) has produced a video series on SDG 13, including an installment featuring AGWA member Karin Lexén of SIWI. The Sustainable Development Goal 13, “Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, is vital for the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals. Sven Harmeling (CARE International), Karin Lexén (SIWI) and Colin McQuistan (Practical Action) discuss why action on climate change is urgently needed, introduce their organizations’ engagement in taking stronger climate action and highlight priority areas of intervention.

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Free Online Course | Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America

The Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research is offering a unique free online course on the Impacts of Climate Change and its Impacts in Latin America taught by 21 Latin American scientists to empower resource managers, decision makers, stakeholders, scientists to cope with climate and global changes. The course aims to provide users with a good understanding of current climate change science as well as analytical abilities in the following areas: impact of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services, impact of environmental global changes, international mechanisms to cope with impacts on biodiversity and the economics of climate change

The course will be launched at COP-22. The course promotes Sustainable Development Goals #4, #13 and #17. Read More...
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Online Courses in Integrated Management of Water, Soil and Waste Resources

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be implemented taking into account their interconnected nature. In order to do so, a Nexus Approach to the integrated management of environmental resources offers tools and methods to highlight synergies and minimise trade-offs. For these tools and methods to be applied, Nexus capacity needs to be developed. In this regard, we would like to call your attention to the following capacity building opportunities for decision makers, practitioners and others interested in the sustainable and integrated management of environmental resources.

The United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resource (UNU-FLORES) is currently accepting applications for a number of online courses, including Rethinking Infrastructure Design for Multi-Use Water Services. 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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High Level Event on Water: The bridge between SDGs and climate implementation

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“This is our moment for ground-breaking transformational change on water, climate change and sustainability. Let us not fail to deliver," UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at a recent event at UN Headquarters this week.

The event was held on the eve of the UNGA High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs and signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in New York, and aimed to bring attention to the importance of water as a connector between these global agendas. It was hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the Permanent Mission of Sweden, in partnership with the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), WaterAid and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The event, Building a Resilient Future through Water – Connecting the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, sought to highlight possible strategies for delivering on the 2030 Agenda and strengthening climate resilience through wise water management, and ways the implementation of the 2030 and climate agendas can be better integrated – with water as a useful connector. It featured a keynote address by the UN Deputy Secretary-General as well as a high-level panel including the Delegate Minister in Charge of Environment in Morocco (COP22 President), the Minister of the Environment in Jordan, the Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the UN, and the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN and event partners, WaterAid and The Rockefeller Foundation.

You can find the full article highlighting the entire event on SIWI's website at http://www.siwi.org/news/water-the-bridge-between-sdgs-and-climate-implementation/. Read More...
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#ClimateIsWater - Climate Change Impacting Impoverished and Vulnerable Communities



In the thirteenth episode of the #ClimateIsWater series is José Gesti, Water and Sanitation Specialist for UNICEF. Mr. Gesti talks about the effects of climate change on some of the most impoverished and vulnerable communities around the globe. Climate change can harm food security through floods or droughts, increase the spread of diseases, and decrease the amount of fresh water available for drinking. Mr. Gesti outlines some of the actions that UNICEF is taking around the globe as examples supporting the implementation of climate resilient Water Safety Plans. He also discusses how the new Sustainable Development Goals are a way for the global community to address Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) issues head on.

This video is the latest in the #ClimateIsWater Initiative. Make sure to check out this episode and keep checking climateiswater.org for future installments and news from the campaign. Read More...
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Guest Blog | Wetlands: The Hidden Resource for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation



Wetlands: The Hidden Resource for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
by Chris Perceval (left), Head of Strategy and Partnerships at the Ramsar Convention, and Rob Cadmus (right), Manager, Investing in Natural Infrastructure at the Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention and its Contracting Parties commit to work towards the wise use of all the wetlands and water resources in their territory, through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education. In this article the authors discuss the importance and hidden value of wetlands as a resource in both climate mitigation and adaptation.

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Wetlands – areas of land that meet water – are among the most productive and valuable ecosystems. They are fundamentally important for supporting sustainable development and combatting climate change. Between now and the end of the year, the world’s governments will meet to discuss the global agendas for both sustainable development and climate change. They would do well to remember the contribution that these critical ecosystems can make. Read More...
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