The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

The AGWA Policy Group

Bringing Water to the Frontlines of Global Climate Policy

The AGWA Policy Group is growing rapidly but is always seeking new supporters, partners, and colleagues. The Policy Group is a network of AGWA members and like-minded organizations engaged in global climate-water policy and governance work, in particular linked to the UNFCCC. 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 and join the group using the form provided.

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.

Subscribe to the Policy Group mailing list

The AGWA Policy Group welcomes new members. We send out regular newsletters on our recent and upcoming activities as well as updates on important climate-water policy news. Access the sign-up form using the button below.

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Takeaways from WWW2018: Overarching Conclusions Report from SIWI

To synthesize all of the accomplishments and lessons learned from World Water Week 2018, SIWI has compiled an "Overarching Conclusions" report — now available online. The theme for 2018 was Water, Ecosystems, and Human Development. The report is comprised of SIWI's main conclusions, reflections from the Scientific Program Committee, and analysis from the rapporteurs that covered all 265 sessions.

Important Outcomes from the World Water Forum

AGWA and Policy Group members including SIWI and World Water Council hosted a High Level Panel at this year's World Water Forum (WWF8). "Bridging Climate and Water" took place on 19 March in Brasilia. This High Level Panel brought 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. An Outcomes Document is now available based on discussion and input from the event, including Recommendations for Actions as well as Next Steps. You can read the full Outcomes Document here.
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COP23 Water Action Day Outcome Document

The Marrakech Partnership on Global Climate Action (MPGCA) has released a highly-important Outcome Document about the Water Action Day from COP23. The report was compiled by the Water Action Day Content Group to the Champions: AGWA, FWP, GAfWaC, INBO, SIWI, and WWC. The Outcome Document highlights short-term priorities for 2018 as well as mid-term priorities for 2018-2020 to ensure that the objectives of the Paris Agreement in conjunction with the 2030 Agenda are met. The proposed efforts will be part of a collaborative partnership designed to address the major economic, environmental, and human risks related to water resources while facing the challenges of climate change. Read the full report here.

#BlueLineBonn - Water as a Connecting Thread at COP23

AGWA has a full page dedicated to the recent COP23 in Bonn. The Policy Group had a strong presence at this important international event. Over the course of the negotiations, water served as a connecting thread -- the #BlueLineBonn -- bridging sectors and solutions. Check out the webpage to see a list of water-related events at COP23, including the UNFCCC Water Action Day on 10 Nov.
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#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 COP23 and beyond.
  • The #ClimateIsWater Initiative has released a new document outlining the connecting value of water as a means of supporting UNFCCC dialogue.
  • You can also find AGWA's #ClimateIsWater video series here.

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.
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Policy Briefs

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Championing the Forest-Water Nexus

This working paper summarizes the outcomes of a meeting with 12 experts from the forest and water sectors hosted parallel to World Water Week. It is co-authored by members of FAO, IUCN, SIWI, and AGWA. Except of the outcomes, this publication covers a background to the connection of forests and water, forest-water issues, and a joint statement on forest and water relationships. The Joint Statement and full Working Paper can both be downloaded separately here.

A Thirst for Food Resilience: Climate-Smart Water Knowledge Integrates UNFCCC and SDG Policies for Food and Agriculture

This background paper, prepared by AGWA and its members, is a contribution to the discussions and activities at the Conference of Parties 23 (CoP). COP23 will also focus on SDG 2 (Agriculture and Food security) and SDG 11 (Cities) in order to identify key areas of collaboration and interlinkages between the 2030 SDG Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. You can access the document by clicking here.
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Sustaining Waters, Sustainable Cities: Urban Climate Change and SDG Policy Solutions Through Water Resilience

This position paper was prepared by AGWA and members of the Policy Group in preparation for COP23. Representing experience from a broad set of institutions, regions, and approaches, the authors suggest that water can and should be the mechanism to link, coordinate, and implement the policies and processes of SDG 11 and the urban aspects of climate change. You can find the full document here.

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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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 - COP22 Policy Recommendations

SIWI, the #ClimateIsWater Initiative, and AGWA's Policy Group have released a consensus set of policy recommendations in preparation for COP22. This two-page document addresses a wide range of issues and provides recommendations on the following: UNFCCC policies and institutions, the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA), NDCs, DRR, climate funding, and the role of cities. 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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