The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

AGWA Updates: June 2019

We have just released the latest issue of AGWA Updates, our internal e-newsletter. You can access the June issue by clicking here. You'll want to check out this issue to learn about the incredible amount of activity taking place within the AGWA network. As always it is full of the latest news on the intersection of climate and water from the fields of climate change adaptation, climate finance, policy, and much more. Stay updated! Stay informed!

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Story Map Provides Tour of Climate-Related Hydrologic Risk Assessment for the California State Water Project

This article was written by Wyatt Arnold, Engineer, Water Resources at the California Department of Water Resources Climate Change Program.
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To illuminate potential risks connected with the deeply uncertain future, planners with limited resources must often choose between two approaches. Option 1 provides a limited number of intensely bright yet narrowly focused spotlights (analogous to top-down analysis through downscaling of global climate models). Option 2 provides an unlimited number of glowing sticks, which may only softly brighten their surroundings, but cumulatively provide a more comprehensive perspective of the situation (analogous to bottom-up analysis through approaches such as
decision scaling). The second approach seems more worthwhile when tackling the wide range of climate changes projected for California within the next 30 years — from an overall increase of 1 to 4 degrees Celsius and from 20 percent less to 30 percent more overall precipitation.

In collaboration with researchers at the
Hydrosystems Research Group at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, we adopted the second approach for assessing long-term and persistent hydrologic impacts of climate change on the California State Water Project (SWP). The SWP is a water storage and delivery system that extends more than two-thirds the length of California, serves 27 million people, and irrigates more than three quarters of a million acres of farmland.

We summarize results of our bottom-up, decision scaling study
in an online story map to facilitate access to the crucial information produced and the methods and thinking that went into its production.
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Welcoming AGWA's New Program Officer

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We would like to extend a warm welcome to the newest member of AGWA's secretariat, Nureen Anisha. Nureen is an environmental researcher specializing in freshwater systems and wetlands and their overlap with climate change. An engineer by training, she has worked on several projects on climate change impact assessment and adaptation in Bangladesh where much of her work was closely associated with the human dimensions of water and climate.

She completed her undergraduate degree in Water Resources Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, where her thesis was focused on studying the relationship between climatic and surface water quality parameters in the Brahmaputra river basin in Bangladesh. Nureen received her MSc in Climate Change and Development from Independent University, Bangladesh. In her master’s research she comprehensively studied the accessibility of safe drinking water in the climate vulnerable southwest coastal region of Bangladesh.

She has previously worked at the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER) in BRAC University based at Dhaka, Bangladesh where she was involved in multiple projects related to climate finance, climate change impacts on river morphology, climate adaptation for riparian communities in the transboundary Ganges basin, the relationship between impacts of climate change and malaria resurgence in the hill tracts of Bangladesh, and more. She is currently a graduate student in Oregon State University, working towards her PhD in Environmental Science. Her PhD research is focused on conducting a holistic system analysis of vast wetlands in northeastern Bangladesh in order to understand the sustainability of the management of the wetlands. Nureen has also worked extensively as an environmental activist in Bangladesh and had her own TV show on national television. Her work and activism have been recognized through numerous awards including a REX Karmaveer Global Fellowship in 2016, The Asia Foundation Development Fellowship 2017, and an American Association of University Women International Fellowship for 2018-19.
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Invitation to submit an abstract on "Practical Challenges in the Application of DMDU Methodologies to Climate Risk Assessment and Management"

Organizers have put out a call for abstracts for the session Practical Challenges in the Application of DMDU Methodologies to Climate Risk Assessment and Management at the upcoming Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty workshop from November 5-7. The session is convened by Casey Brown (University of Massachusetts - Amherst), Patrick Ray (University of Cincinnati), Umit Taner (University of Massachusetts - Amherst), and Ad Jeuken (Deltares). This session aims to bring in the expertise from both the research and practitioners community to discuss these practical challenges of adoption of DMDU methods, such as (but not exclusively) the World Bank Decision Tree Framework, Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA), adaptation pathways, and RDM.
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Netherlands Invests €5.98 billion in Ecosystems to Cope with Climate Change Impacts

Netherlands Invests €5.98 billion in Ecosystems to Cope with Climate Change Impacts


LONDON (27 May 2019) — Global investors have enthusiastically embraced a national Netherlands 5.98 billion euro green bond designed to fund projects to cope with current and future climate change impacts and an advanced low-carbon economy. Much of the bond focuses on using coastal and river ecosystems as a safeguard for negative climate impacts such as high flood risk. Investors responded to the bond immediately, oversubscribing the issuance by more than 15.2 billion euros.

This green bond is the first globally to employ resilient nature-based solutions certified using the Water Infrastructure Criteria of the Climate Bonds Standard. A consortium of organizations led by the Climate Bonds Initiative, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), the World Resources Institute (WRI), CDP, and Ceres launched water resilience bonds criteria in May 2018 to inform investors about the climate risks and solutions embedded in the green bonds market. Globally, the green bonds market reached about 168 billion USD in 2018.

Niels Vlaanderen, Policy Advisor for International Affairs at the Department of Infrastructure and Water Management for the Netherlands, commented: “We realized that we needed new solutions — automatically building flood dykes higher was no longer a sustainable solution. We had to change a system we had worked with for centuries and broaden our goals. We must future-proof our country by incorporating cultural and ecological values into our adaptive decision making.”

According to John Matthews, Executive Director of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation and lead author of the Water Infrastructure Green Bonds Criteria, “For the past thousand years, the Dutch have reclaimed land from the sea. Today, the sea and their rivers are growing higher in a country where half of the country is already below sea level. With this bond issuance, the national government is signaling to investors the scope of the financing needed to adjust to climate change — and how we must link economies and ecosystems together to secure a joint future in a shifting climate.”

The bond also plays a role in sustainable development according to Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of The Netherlands Sherpa to the UN/WB High Level Panel on Water, adding, “This green bond is spot on, aimed at creating added values across the board of the sustainable development goals, leveraging investments for social, cultural, economic and environmental needs and challenges. Using water as leverage to catalyze transformative climate action.”

Justine Leigh-Bell, Deputy CEO at Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) in London, stated, “Resilience is a powerful new target for investment. The Netherlands has just shown that investors are eager to see policymakers investing in long-term resilience and in working with rather than against nature. Using the Water Infrastructure Criteria rewards issuers and investors together, providing market and citizen confidence for innovative approaches such as nature-based solutions to flood risks.”

Niels Vlaanderen continued, “In Dutch, we say, ‘Als er één schaap over de dam is, volgen er meer,’ or ‘We need only a few to lead.’ Indeed, this bond is the beginning of a very promising area where we expect large funding requirements in the near future. We have proven that the Netherlands can shift strategies to prepare for a changing climate. With our room for the river projects, we have shown that we can combine flood protection and social values through nature-based solutions.”

The benefits of this bond are not limited to at-risk communities and ecosystems. The Netherlands’ Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra, stated, “Our aim is to give an extra boost to the Dutch green capital market through the issuance of the Green Bond.”

The green bond finances low-carbon projects (renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation). Perhaps the most innovative aspects of the bond, however, are projects designed to help the Netherlands adjust to climate change adaptation through sustainable water management, particularly the use of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure approaches for reducing increasing flood risks in coastal and low-lying areas.


Background
Link to the criteria: https://www.climatebonds.net/standard/water
Link to more detail on the bond itself: http://bit.ly/dutch-bond
Green Bonds State of the Market report: https://www.climatebonds.net/resources/reports/green-bonds-state-market-2018
Link to additional coverage: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-bonds-green/the-netherlands-becomes-first-triple-a-rated-sovereign-to-launch-green-bond-idUSKCN1SR16W

Media contacts - For additional information about the issuance or the various organizations involved, please contact:
AGWA - Alex Mauroner (amauroner@alliance4water.org), John Matthews (johoma@alliance4water.org)
Dutch State Treasury Agency - sbr@minfin.nl
Niels Vlaanderen, Policy Advisor for International Affairs, Department of Infrastructure and Water Management (niels.Vlaanderen@minienw.nl)
CBI - Justine Leigh-Bell (justine@climatebonds.net), press enquiries Andrew Whiley (andrew.whiley@climatebonds.net)
WRI - Todd Gartner (todd.Gartner@wri.org)

Images
https://pixabay.com/photos/the-windmills-kinderdijk-river-555944/
https://pixabay.com/photos/landscape-river-nature-water-3565856/
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