The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Join Us!
The AGWA policy team is growing rapidly but is always seeking new supporters, partners, and colleagues. The policy team is a network of AGWA members and like-minded organizations engaged in global climate-water policy work, in particular linked to the UNFCCC. Its members contribute to the AGWA mission and purpose, including to bridge local climate adaptation and water management practices to the global policy level. The policy group shares knowledge, strengthens cooperation, and is coordinated by the Stockholm International Water Institute. Please reach out to us for more information.

Video: Climate Policy is Water Policy

How should we bridge the divides between the climate change and water communities? Why should these issues be considered together, and how? Courtesy of the crack video team at Arup, AGWA has produced a video that explores the ways in which climate policy “floats” on freshwater resources and how sustainable water and climate change policies need each other in order to be successful for mitigation and adaptation.

Policy Brief | Freshwater and Oceans - Working Together to Face Climate Change

This policy brief, prepared by SIWI and AGWA, is designed to improve understanding of the linkages between freshwater and oceans when it comes to climate change. The interface between freshwater and oceans captures the vital development and environmental challenges of our time. Coastal communities and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face increasing socio-economic and environmental risks as a result of climate change. These risks significantly constrain their ability to achieve a sustainable development; and for some, threaten their territorial integrity, economic viability, and survival at large.
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Stockholm World Water Week 2017

AGWA had a very successful World Water Week in Stockholm, which included our Seventh Annual Meeting as well as numerous official events throughout the week. You can find out more on our activities there, including outcomes from each event, on our World Water Week page. You can also visit the WWW homepage or the event program to find out more.

#ClimateIsWater - An international initiative for organizations acting for water and climate

AGWA is part of an ongoing international campaign called #ClimateIsWater. Many international organizations representing thousands of stakeholders came together to generate recognition for water at the political level during COP21 and in subsequent editions by communicating with a single voice: Climate Is Water. Visit the campaign page to find out about the initiative and see how #ClimateIsWater has engaged at COP22 and beyond. You can also find AGWA's #ClimateIsWater video series here.
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Three-part series of policy articles | Water & climate change policy: A brief history for future progress

Global Water Forum published a series of three articles on water and climate change policy. These articles were written by a high level group of AGWA members in February 2017. The series examines the co-evolution of water and climate change policy over the past 20 years. Part one focuses on policy landscapes through 2010. Part two examines the development of the relationship between the water and climate change communities between 2010-2016. Part three explores the period from the most recent global climate policy conference to the present day, with speculation about where we may see water and climate policy headed into the future.
Policy Briefs
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The gender dimension of water and climate change

This policy brief from AGWA's Policy Group focuses on the importance of coherence between gender-responsive climate policies and the balanced participation of women and men in climate policy dialogue. Women are often made more vulnerable from the adverse impacts of climate change, especially in developing countries. They also play a crucial role as change agents for successful adaptation to climate change. Read the two-page document to find out more.

Water a success factor for implementing the Paris Agreement

This briefing document from AGWA's Policy Group focuses on implementing the milestone decisions that make up the Paris Agreement. One of the keys to fulfill the goals set in the Paris Agreement will be wise water management. This document covers national adaptation and mitigation plans, NDCs, climate finance, and recommendations for successful implementations of the Paris Agreement.
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Climate Finance Recommendations for UNFCCC Entities

To fulfill the ambitious objectives set out in the Paris Agreement, appropriate financial flows and wise hydro-climate responsive funding is a key cornerstone in building climate resilience. The AGWA Policy Group has come up with a set of recommendations for achieving inclusive and effective climate financing mechanisms. The recommendations are particularly relevant to COP22 discussions and UNFCCC entities. View or download the document here.

Climate Change is Water Change - Updated Policy Recommendations

SIWI, the #ClimateIsWater Initiative, and AGWA's Policy Group have come out with an updated consensus set of policy recommendations. This two-page document addresses a wide range of issues and provides recommendations on the following: UNFCCC policies and institutions, the Paris Agreement, NDCs, NAPs, disaster risk reduction (DRR), LULUCF and REDD-plus, and climate funding. View or download the document here.
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Joint Proposal on Water Resilience – adaptation and mitigation to climate change

At the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Sustainable Development Goals were signed off by 193 countries and formally adopted. This is great news for the climate adaptation community. In addition, the French, Swedish and Peruvian governments presented the countries’ joint proposal, which concerns the central nature of climate and water issues to sustainable development, at a high-level seminar in New York.

The joint proposal from Sweden, France, and Peru originated from discussions held at the 2015 World Water Week. The proposal illustrates their commitment to the importance of integrating the climate and water agenda and their receptiveness of the messages coming out of World Water Week. You can find the joint proposal document here. To read more about this from the Swedish government, visit

Targeting Climate Change

The AGWA policy team has created an document explaining how targeting climate change really means targeting water. Water is much more than a sector - it is a connector. As such, water provides a uniquely cross-cutting means of addressing climate change. Take a look at the topical paper to learn more about how wise water management helps address climate change.
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Disaster Risk Reduction Policy Brief

This policy brief outlines key elements of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies. It explains effective water hazard preparedness and management as well as ways to mitigate the negative effects of water-related disasters. AGWA’s policy team, in collaboration with SIWI, helped to develop this DRR framework. View or download the document here.

#ClimateIsWater - Position Paper with key messages for COP21

SIWI has released a new position paper outlining the messaging being brought forth to UNFCCC at COP21. They have come up with a list of recommendations for the UNFCC that take into account the importance of water and its pivotal role as a connector between climate mitigation and adaptation. View or download the document here to learn how Climate Is Water.
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From World Water Week 2016
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World Water Week 2016 - Overarching Conclusions Document

The theme for this year's World Water Week, "Water for Sustainable Growth," is echoed throughout this summary document. In these pages, SIWI shares conclusions from the Week. Three teams of rapporteurs have together attended all events during the Week, not a small feat, and you can read their key take-home messages from the environmental, economic and social perspectives. The chair of the World Water Week Scientific Programme Committee summarizes the eight seminars, which form the scientific core of the Week. The document also offers a glimpse of the Prize ceremonies, as well as a browse through the activity in social media, including the popular new app used by over a thousand participants. The document is available to view or download here.

Overview Video - Water for Sustainable Growth

The theme of this year’s World Water Week is Water for Sustainable Growth. SIWI's Executive Director, Torgny Holmgren, and World Water Week Director, Karin Lexén, discuss how this year's theme shape the events and outcomes of WWW2016. The theme for 2016 addresses sustainable growth for all by focusing on inclusiveness in terms of the societal and human dimensions in all regions of the world.
From World Water Week 2015
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WWW Side Event: Global climate policy and national water action: Towards COP21 and beyond

During World Water Week AGWA served as co-convenor for a side event entitled focusing on integrating water into ongoing and future UNFCCC processes and climate agendas. Speaking to a packed room, several governmental and policy leaders addressed the need for sustainable water resources management and adequate coverage in the upcoming UNFCCC policy discussions. The Global Water Partnership (GWP) prepared a document further summarizing the event and the topics covered. It is available to view or download here. The WWW side event was further supported by its other co-convenors, French Water Partnership, Stockholm Water Institute (SIWI), GWP, LEAD Pakistan, and France.

For further reading on the upcoming UNFCCC climate negotiations, please check out these two installments of the SIWI blog by Sofia Widforss:

World Water Week Outcomes and Closing Remarks

At the Closing Plenary During of World Water Week, Ms. Karin Lexén took time to summarize some of the key conclusions of the week's discussions and activities. The video to the left features Ms. Lexén at the Closing Plenary discussing these topics. You can find a copy of the closing remarks by clicking here to view or download a PDF. The full video for the WWW Closing Plenary is available from the SIWI Media Hub here.

Podcast from High Level Panel: Raising the Profile of Water Towards COP21

This 18-minute podcast features Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director at SIWI and Junaid Ahmad, Senior Director, Water, World Bank Group reflecting upon the necessary next steps toward COP21 and Paris in December. In the discussion they address water in the global climate discourse by more specifically discussing how to raise the agenda of adaptation and water at the upcoming COP21. You can listen to the podcast to the left or download it through the SIWI Media Hub here.

2015 World Water Week Report: New AGWA Chapter on “Integrating water in future climate policy architecture”

SIWI has launched Water for Development – Charting a Water Wise Path, prepared as input to the world’s most important annual meeting for water and development issues. For this report, SIWI invited a wide range of experts with different perspectives on water and development to share their thinking and propose new avenues for development.

Included in the report is an AGWA chapter headlined by Karin Lexén of SIWI (and AGWA Co-Chair), with contributions from several other AGWA members. In this chapter they discuss the strong need to integrate effective and sustainable water resources management throughout the numerous high-level events taking place this year, wherein water can be used as a connector in shaping a sustainable path forward in policy, economics, governance, and more. Visit the SIWI website here to read more about the full report or click here to view or download your own copy!
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From the Seventh World Water Forum

Unique Challenges and Lessons Learned from Pacific Island Nations (video)

This video highlights Dr. Christine Chan of AGWA as she speaks during panel discussion at WWF7. In her talk she addresses some of the lessons learned from her experiences in Pacific Island Nations. Dr. Chan outlines some of the challenges facing local populations as climate change affects their lands and offers her thoughts on ways to enhance resilience in these areas.

AGWA Policy Video from the Seventh World Water Forum

During the Thematic Process entitled “Mainstreaming Climate Adaptation into Water Management, Planning, and Policy” Ms. Karin Lexén of the AGWA Policy Team delivered this insightful presentation on the best approach towards the Paris COP. She focuses on SDG targets and indicators, DRR framework, Paris outcomes, and the need to focus on water in both mitigation and adaptation.
From COP20 in Lima

SIWI Side Events from COP20 in Lima, Peru

Karin Lexén (Director of World Water Week, SIWI) posted a follow-up blog after COP20 that outlines the importance of water as experienced in the SIWI side events in Lima. Her piece serves as a call to continue on the accomplishments and agreements achieved through the Lima Call for Climate Action. The full blog is available on SIWI’s website here.
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AGWA Videos from Lima COP 20

The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol took place from 1 to 14 December in Lima, Peru.

A Press Briefing entitled "WATERCOURSE LESSONS FOR MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION: TOWARDS A CLIMATE DEAL” was hosted by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD Pakistan) on Dec. 6, 2014. Videos from this event are available below.

AGWA and SIWI also participated in a UNFCCC COP Side Event entitled "Wise water management – a fundament for climate mitigation and adaptation and key for successful implementation of the new climate deal". This side event aimed to build recognition of the links between climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience, while focusing on water resource management as an essential denominator for integrated strategies. The dialogue focused on conveying local experiences to policy level and identifying how the negotiations are relevant on the ground. A short summary video is available below.

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Karin Lexén (Director, World Water Week and International Processes, SIWI) provides an introduction to the UNFCCC COP Press Briefing.
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Panelist Jean-Luc Redaud (President of the Working Group on Water and Climate Change, French Water Partnership) at the UNFCCC COP Press Briefing
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Panelist Laurence Breton-Moyet (Director of the Sustainable Development Division at the French Water Agency) at the UNFCCC COP Press Briefing
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Panelist Ali T. Sheikh (CEO, LEAD Pakistan) at the UNFCCC COP Press Briefing
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Panelist Karin Lexén (Director, World Water Week and International Processes, SIWI) provides additional comments at the UNFCCC COP Press Briefing
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Panelist John Matthews (Secretariat Coordinator, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation) at the UNFCCC COP Press Briefing
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A brief summary video of the COP20 Side Event on “Wise Water Management”