The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

AGWA at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia
The 8th World Water Forum (WWF8) will take place 18-23 March in Brasilia, Brazil. WWF8 is the world’s biggest water-related event and is organized by the World Water Council (WWC). The 8th edition of the World Water Forum will hold more than 200 sessions and debates about themes related to water. The World Water Council organizes the Forum every three years together with the respective host country and city. It will be the first time the event is held in the Southern Hemisphere.

AGWA will take part in a number of events during WWF8. We will be officially coordinating one session on behalf of UNESCO, co-convening a high-level panel, and participating in others. You can find out more about our involvement below. This page will be updated periodically as more details and events are finalized. Make sure to check back often in the lead up to 18 March.

More details about WWF8 can be found on the event website -
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Highlighted Events
Below is a list of the official WWF8 events and sessions related to AGWA, SIWI, and the #ClimateIsWater Initiative. In each of these AGWA serves a role as an organizer, co-organizer, or presenter. The main venue is the Ulysses Guimarães Convention Center -- the venue for the thematic, regional, and political discussions. The Citizens’ Forum, the Exposition, and the Fair will be held at the Mané Garrincha National Stadium, just 300 meters away from the Convention Center. Maps of the Convention Center are available here (1st Floor | Ground Floor).

The full program for WWF8 can be found at All times listed are Brasília Time (BRT; UTC -3).

Bridging Water and Climate

As shown by the preliminary NDC submissions, over 90% of countries with adaptation sections acknowledge water in their commitments, which shows the significance of water and the demand for it to be addressed systematically and strategically. Countries recognize the need for water to be addressed both as a potential risk and as a vector for solutions as they implement at the national, local and project scale level. The water community possesses vast experience, knowledge and skills in the management of natural resources, which can help Parties fulfill their commitments through integrated and resilient water resources management. However, formal acknowledgement within global frameworks such as the SDGs and UNFCCC of water’s crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation remains missing. In addition, traditional water concepts are not always tailored to the specific needs and specifications which are increasingly required by specific donor and climate funds.

This High Level Panel will bring together government representatives and the water and climate communities to work towards an integrated platform for addressing climate and water challenges at global, national and project scales.

When: Monday, 19 March; 14:30-16:00
Venue: Room 22
Co-organizers: World Water Council, AGWA, SIWI
Category: High Level Panel

Source-to-Sea Management: Towards joint action by the freshwater and ocean communities

For the first time at World Water Forum, the S2S Platform will host a High-level panel on source-to-sea management, with ministers of environment as well as water and sanitation, discussing together with top management representatives from private sector, financing institutions and inter-governmental bodies This is a unique opportunity to solidify the connections between decision-makers who focus on marine and freshwater issues, and to heighten knowledge about and commitment to, the linkages between SDGs 6 and 14.

Panelists will discuss commitments for upstream action to help reduce the impacts on deltas, coasts and oceans, as well as opportunities and actions to strengthen source-to-sea approaches.

When: Tuesday, 20 March; 14:30-16:00
Venue: Room 36
Organizer: Action Platform on Source-to-Sea Management (S2S)
Category: High Level Panel

Science and policy together on climate change?

The SDGs provide a new framework for setting national development strategies, but that framework provides little guidance about how to also meet NDC goals as well as how to ensure coherence between national development goals and implementation at project scales. These issues are especially important for water-intensive projects. The social and natural sciences are fundamental for ensuring that decision making and policy formation are climate informed and that resilience is a consistent outcome. This session will define recommendations for fostering a dialogue about best practices between science and policy development and implementation. Together, we will explore how integrated governance can enable science-based decision making for water-intensive projects and policies across sectors, scales, and institutions. Examples of national and sub-national SDG implementation will be presented to demonstrate how science interacts with policy frameworks. A discussion will explore mechanisms to ground governance structures climate-relevant natural and social science.

When: Wednesday, 21 March; 14:30-16:00
Venue: Room 30
Co-organizers: AGWA, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute of Water (Argentina), UNESCO-IHP
Category: Thematic Process

Addressing Water Security and Climate Change Impacts in Vulnerable Regions

The session will focus on the challenges of water resources management under climate change in drylands and mountainous regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. It will consist of an interactive panel discussion on the outcomes of the UNESCO-IHP projects in the region. Several publications and policy briefs will be launched during the event, focusing on climate change impacts in the Andes and the Latin American Drought Atlas.

When: Thursday, 22 March; 15:00-17:00
Venue: Room 41
Co-organizers: UNESCO-IHP, Wildlife Conservation Society (Brazil)
Category: Side Event

Uncertainty, Vulnerabilities, and Resilience

Vulnerability is a function of the interaction between exposure of a system to hazards, sensitivity of the exposed parts of the system, and the adaptive capacity that offsets the level of vulnerability. Investments in water security help safeguard socio-economic growth in the face of increasing vulnerabilities to water-related risks. The session will focus on approaches that reduce vulnerabilities, increase resilience and deliberately deal with uncertainty. Integrated planning and policies that combine and sequence investments in information, institutions and infrastructure will be discussed. The session connects to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for DRR and the Paris Agreement, in which floods and droughts top the list of climatic hazards identified in Governments’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Examples of how drought and flood management are being addressed in these international frameworks and at the country level will be highlighted with a view to inspire progress in the SDGs.

When: Monday, 19 March; 16:30-18:00
Venue: Room 30
Co-organizers: Global Water Partnership (GWP), National Center for Natural Disaster Monitoring and Alert (CEMADEN), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), University of Minho - Centre of Studies on Geography and Spatial Planning
Category: Thematic Process

Strengthening citizens' participation in basin management

Everyone agrees today that active participation of all the public and private, collective or individual partners involved, at the side of Administrations and Government Agencies, is a condition for effective water resources management in the basins and sub­basins of coastal, national or transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers. Due to the many pressures on water resources and ecosystems and in order to adapt to the effects of climate change, it is now a strategic necessity to optimally organize this participation by drawing lessons from all ongoing or planned experiments.

This Special Session will be an opportunity to present successful experiences in participation carried out on all continents and to start a dynamic and cross­ sectoral dialogue with all participants in order to propose the best ways to progress.

When: Wednesday, 21 March; 09:00-12:30
Venue: Rooms 2 and 3
Co-organizers: International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the Latin-­American (LANBO) and Brazilian (REBOB) Networks of Basin Organizations, the Global Alliances for Water and Climate, and “Aqua Madre”
Category: Citizens Forum

The Forest-Water Nexus: redefining the narrative to build a sustainable future

We live on a blue and green planet. To achieve a resilient future, natural solutions such as managing forests for water supply, will be required. This event will highlight the prevailing forest-water narratives, promote consensus on how to address integrating forests in water management and water in forest management and will provide an occasion to announce next steps and opportunities for engagement.

When: Wednesday, 21 March; 15:30-18:00
Venue: Room 41
Co-organizers: FAO, IUCN, SIWI Swedish Water House
Category: Side Event

Emerging Policy Solutions to Manage Water Quality from Ridge to Reef

Managing water quality is a complex task for policy makers. It is a challenge to know which policy tools would be most effective to meet water quality standards in different situations, locations or scales. Examples of innovative policy instruments are emerging, but have limitations. How to conceptualize and implement suitable governance arrangements to find the right incentives, funding sources, technologies and capacity to improve water quality is specific to each location, and must adjust to constant demographic and climatic changes. This session will examine examples and frameworks of how to replicate and scale up or scale down innovative policy solutions.

When: Thursday, 22 March; 09:00-10:30
Venue: Room 29
Co-organizers: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, S2S Platform
Category: Thematic Process