The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Conservation Finance Takes Off as the Netherlands Issues One of the Largest Green Bonds Ever

Conservation Finance Takes Off as the Netherlands Issues One of the Largest Green Bonds Ever
by James Anderson 1, Todd Gartner 1, Alex Mauroner 2, and John Matthews 2
1 World Resources Institute (WRI)
2 Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)
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The conservation finance market hit a new high-water mark in recent weeks as the Dutch government issued one of the largest green bonds ever: 5.98 billion euros (roughly $6.8 billion). This bond for low-carbon development and sustainable water management will finance, among other things, natural infrastructure solutions in the Netherlands that are crucial for protecting one of the world's lowest-lying countries from floods and sea-level rise.

The enthusiasm for the bond also signals a bigger trend: the shift in conservation finance from a niche market to a mainstream, large-scale investment strategy.
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Open Letter in “Science” Calls for Better Integrating Freshwater Conservation into Policy Objectives

A letter in Science, published today and co-authored by our own Ingrid Timboe, highlights an alarming statistic from the most recent Freshwater Living Planet Index (FLPI), published in the 2018 Living Planet Report (LPR) showing an 83% decline in monitored freshwater species. Most significantly, the rate of decline of freshwater species has risen with each report. Despite warnings from over a decade ago that the protection of freshwater biodiversity is “the ultimate conservation challenge” and “immediate action is needed,” conservation is evidently failing freshwater biodiversity and solutions must be found.

Additional research to form a better understanding of the species present in our freshwater ecosystems, and the ecological functions of these ecosystems is important. However, equally important as the need to do better science to fill the data gap is the need to do a better job at translating this science and data so that others can use them. It is essential that we engage policy makers and water managers at the local level in our research in order to better understand and represent the diverse needs of the communities living with freshwater biodiversity loss.
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OOSKAnews COP24 Coverage | Climate and Water at COP24: Will We Catch the Current or Be Trapped in the Eddies?

In this article for OOSKAnews, AGWA's coordinator reflects on this month's 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the evolving recognition and presence of "water" as a voice in the UNFCCC. Though water is becoming more prevalent in climate discussions, there are still mounting challenges to address. Adaptation finance and a number of underlying risks in investment frameworks need additional consideration if the goals of the Paris Agreement are to effectively transition into action.

Read the full article at https://www.ooskanews.com/story/2018/12/climate-and-water-cop24-will-we-catch-current-or-be-trapped-eddies_177435
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Global Water Forum Article on DRR, Climate Change, and Water

A group of AGWA members has written an article published by Global Water Forum entitled "Mastering disaster in a changing climate: Reducing disaster risk through resilient water management." This article was written to help facilitate constructive dialogue at COP24 around the importance of water in disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies and actions. They argue that resilient water resources management serves as the connector between the climate change and DRR communities. The article supports an update of policy, practice, and financing norms in order to better address and adapt to risks facing communities and ecosystems.

Read the full article at http://www.globalwaterforum.org/2018/12/02/mastering-disaster-in-a-changing-climate-reducing-disaster-risk-through-resilient-water-management/. Read More...
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OOSKAnews Voices | The Long View On Long-Term Climate Impacts: Building Cathedrals Of Resilience

The columns in OOSKAnews Voices provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. This article from AGWA's Coordinator proposes that cities are the landscape where most climate adaptation occurs, and that water is at the heart of these plans of action. Dr. Matthews takes the long view on resilience, comparing the lengthy but necessary courses of actions taken by cities to improve resilience to the historic processes of cathedral building. Both are "messy affairs, achieving perfection and persistence through adaptive management, patience, and clear vision." Specific attention is given to two parallel initiatives taking place in and around Mexico City to increase resilience.

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"Listening to speakers, I wondered if CDMX is effectively building a new cathedral — this one to water and climate change..."
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OOSKAnews Voices | An Accidental Survey: The State of Climate Adaptation Today

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece, AGWA's Coordinator John H. Matthews focuses on the politics of adaptation decisions as well as the regional nature of climate adaptation policy and practice. It draws upon Dr. Matthews' recent experience leading a series of regional UFCCC adaptation workshops for national focal points.

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"Despite the youth of adaptation as a practice and a relatively narrow window for the launch of national adaptation programs, much differentiation had probably emerged. The CGE was providing me with an excellent opportunity to test my hypothesis — to see a natural experiment in variations in policy and practice."
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OOSKAnews Voices: "Too Much, Too Quickly": UNFCCC COP23 and the Sharpening Mind

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece, AGWA's Coordinator John H. Matthews focuses on the time-sensitive need to scale up adaptation efforts globally. Dr. Matthews provides reflections on COP23, highlighting its flaws and merits while outlining the urgent need for both practical and policy advancements.

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"I have attended five COPs since 2009. Frankly, most of the COPs are frustrating to attend. But COP23 is the first UNFCCC meeting where fear was palpable in the presentations I saw and in the people I met. Climate impacts were here, they were serious, and many impacts were actually frightening. In the words of one participant with a large government’s aid agency: 'Climate change is coming too fast and too hard. We’re not changing fast enough. And we need help.' I sensed that many individuals and institutions felt as if their options were narrowing. Adaptation used to be about projects or money and budgets. Now adaptation is a systemic need, an institutional threat..."
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OOSKAnews Voices | Watering Down the Paris Agreement: Global Climate Policy and Revenge of the Cities

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece John H. Matthews, co-founder and Coordinator for AGWA, describes the implications of the United States' decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The article focuses on the decision's effects on UNFCCC processes and the potential role of this withdrawal as a rallying cry for cities and other nations.

"The real question, however, is if US actions are the start of an erosion of support for the Paris Accord or, alternatively, the community of nations rallies round and doubles down.

...within the US’s hierarchies of governance, states and cities play a more important role around energy management. Especially for cities, there is a more widespread consensus of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the rate of climate change. These decision makers are close to the impacts. As a result, the US may continue to make substantial progress against national climate goals."
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OOSKAnews Voices | We'll Always Have Paris (and Marrakech): Implementing a Water and Climate Action Agenda

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece John H. Matthews, co-founder and Coordinator for AGWA, describes the importance of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The article focuses on the role of NDCs and the vital role of Morocco's COP22 in bringing water into the UNFCCC mechanisms.

"In the 1942 film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart looked deeply into the eyes of Ingrid Bergman before she boarded a plane in World War II Morocco, telling her, 'We’ll always have Paris.'

Bogart and Bergman were not at the Marrakesh UNFCCC CoP22 last November, nor was Humphrey referring to the 2015 Paris Agreement. But since the Moroccan COP, I keep thinking that, for better or worse, the water community will always have Paris..."
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OOSKAnews Voice | Rain in the Desert - Merging Climate and Water Policies at Morocco’s COP22

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for AGWA, describes the importance of next month's COP22 conference to water.

"The Paris Agreement — the most significant climate framework since the founding of the UNFCCC — does not mention water at all, but the Paris Agreement may also be the most significant water agreement in human history. How does a policy framework that lacks any mention of water affect water management? The answer shows the gap between the climate policy world and the water world..." 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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After Paris, A More Fluid Approach To Climate Change?

On April 22nd leaders from over 175 nations joined together in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change. AGWA's Secretariat Coordinator John Matthews joined with Regina Buono of the Baker Institute for Public Policy to write a piece for Forbe's on this historic occasion and what it means going forward.

"The agreement signaled a broad commitment to slow the rate of climate change and to provide support to many of the poor countries facing big climate impacts to their most vulnerable citizens. But what the Paris agreement really indicated is a shift in perspective: from a planet thinking about reducing the rate of climate change (and the regulatory and other risks inherent in managing businesses and economies with the primary objective of halting or slowing carbon emissions) to one looking at adapting to climate change by addressing the risks inherent in climate impacts. And the most important element in this shift—the medium through which change and adaptation can be seen most clearly and quickly—is water."

The full article is available here. Read More...
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High Level Event on Water: The bridge between SDGs and climate implementation

SIWI_UN_SDGs
“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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OOSKAnews Voices | The Lost Climate Generation and the Adaptation Skeptics

OOSKAnews Voices is a new series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for AGWA, takes a look at the philosophical gap between an older generation of professionals skeptical of new approaches related to climate adaptation and a younger generation unsure of how to address what they consider to be one of the most pressing issues of their time.

"The adaptation skeptics may in fact be crippling the lost generation, creating bigger hurdles for those of interested in sustaining water resources over many decades and centuries..." Read More...
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OOSKAnews Voices | Feeling the Power of Climate Change: What Is Green Hydropower in a Shifting Climate?

OOSKAnews Voices is a new series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for AGWA, takes a look at the controversy over how "green" hydrolectric power really is.

"Perhaps more than any other water-related topic, hydropower represents some of the most extreme risks and opportunities associated with climate change policy and practice..." Read More...
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OOSKAnews Voices: Fighting the Language of Resilience: Godzilla vs The Blob

OOSKAnews Voices is a new series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages. In this piece John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for AGWA, discusses the challenges in clearly defining "resilience" as it relates to climate change.

Much of the work of addressing climate impacts from water threats is difficult to communicate. It is no easy feat to come up with a clear and consistent definition for "resilience," even though it is one of the more often-used terms in the field. In this article resilience takes on some interesting forms - Godzilla vs The Blob. Read More...
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OOSKAnews Voices: Warming Climate, Rising Waters at the Paris COP: Green Bonds, #ClimateIsWater, and Marrakesh

OOSKAnews Voices is a new series of guest “opinion columns” on water, written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. The columns provide a global platform for organizations and individuals to promulgate their views and messages.

In this piece, John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) reflects on his experiences at the recently concluded COP21 talks in Paris. Read More...
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