The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water


The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) will take place in Katowice, Poland from 3-14 December 2018. Poland will hold the Presidency of the Climate Convention for the third time.

The central aim of COP24 will be to finalize and adopt a package of decisions ensuring full implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was the product of COP21. COP24 will also include the Facilitative Dialogue intended to support implementation of countries' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

In addition to the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties, COP24 will include meetings of other UN bodies and frameworks such as the CMP, SBSTA, SBI, and CMA.

Stacks Image 188670

"Our fate is in our hands. The world is counting on all of us to rise to the challenge before it is too late."

- António Guterres
UN Secretary-General

Position Papers & Policy Briefs

The Policy Group continues to push for greater integration of resilient water management approaches within the global climate change agenda. Together with SIWI, the Policy Group has prepared several position papers and policy briefs covering a wide range of topics in advance of COP24. Access them below.

Conference Venues

The events of COP24 will be spread across two adjacent venues, both of which are located in the city center of Katowice, Poland:

  • The International Congress Centre (MCK) will accommodate plenary halls, conference rooms, press conference and media rooms, as well as the COP24 Presidency and secretariat offices.
  • The Spodek Arena will host the official media area, exhibits, as well as catering facilities.
More details on the COP24 venues and surrounding facilities can be found on the official COP24 website at

The official venue map is available through the UNFCCC website.

My Image

MCK & Spodek Arena

Water Events at COP24

COP24 will feature hundreds of official and unofficial events. Below we are highlighting events that emphasize the importance of water in the climate negotiations. AGWA, SIWI, and Policy Group members are contributing to a number of these. Others are organized by various members of the water community.

AGWA has been involved in the planning processes with the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (GCA). The GCA will conduct a series of events during COP24, including High Level Action Events, roundtables, and more. Their calendar of events is available online, including a map of the Global Climate Action Area. For a full map of the COP24 venue, click here.

The official COP24 programme of side events is available through the UNFCCC site here. More information can be found on Poland's COP24 website (

A limited number of the events will have videos on demand after their conclusions. Click here to jump to those videos. Others can be found by searching through the UNFCCC on demand system.

Quick Links (jump to date):
Stacks Image 188515
Monday, 3 Dec.
Tuesday, 4 Dec.

High Level Global Climate Action Event

Stacks Image 188552
The Global Climate Action High-Level event will offer a unique vision of how the world is affected by climate change and how different sectors are tackling the issue. It will highlight collaboration, synergies and progress between GCA stakeholders. The centerpiece/body of this event will take place in the form of a "fireside-chat": moderated dialogues where two dynamic high-level speakers will be paired to explore specified topics – all embracing "inclusive multilateralism."

When: Tuesday, 4 December; 10:00-12:00
Venue: Plenary 2
Organizers: Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (GCA)

Shocks and Stressors: Water’s essential role in addressing climate change, DRR and human mobility

Disaster risk reduction and recovery efforts are profoundly influenced by climate change, but the DRR and climate communities remain divided. This session will feature speakers from the climate and DRR communities, as well as positive examples of on-the-ground work that is already being done to link these policies in practice, along with recommendations for scaling-up and expanding efforts.

When: Tuesday, 4 December; 11:30-13:00
Venue: Side Event Room 4 - Warmia
Organizers: AGWA, SIWI, World Water Council, Deltares, Wetlands International, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP)

Water and Climate: How to Increase Engagement of Private Actors

Private actors’ commitments are the key driver to mitigate social and economic impacts of climate and water-related disasters. This event will discuss the incentives and measures to enhance their engagement/performance, and share good practices from the Asia-Pacific, European and other regions.

When: Tuesday, 4 December; 15:00-16:30
Venue: Side Event Room 1 - Bieszczady
Organizers: Japan Water Forum, Neighbor Organization Nepal (NEO-Nepal)

Adapting to Water Scarcity in Agriculture

According to the Global Risks Report (WEF, 2018), water crises are among the five crises that will have the largest impact in the next decade. There are currently 2 billion people living under conditions of severe water scarcity for at least one month per year (UN, 2018). Water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, represents a serious risk to poverty reduction and development, with impacts on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity and natural resources. Of all economic sectors, agriculture will suffer the greatest impact of water scarcity since it accounts for approximately 70% of global freshwater withdrawals. In addition, global trends in dietary changes, including greater consumption of cereals and meat, combined with pressures of population growth, will significantly increase water demand. Thus, water scarcity has been recognized in the Nationally Determined Contributions) of 80% of countries and there is a global drive to address water scarcity issues in agriculture and food systems.

The event will foster dialogue between partners on potential areas of collaboration and country support under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, and present specific country actions as showcases in particular related to the role of water management in agriculture to tackle climate change.

When: Tuesday, 4 December; 10:45-11:45
Venue: Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion
Organizers: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

The Role of Water in Achieving Climate Neutrality

This side event focuses on opportunities within the water management sector to achieve climate mitigation objectives including carbon sequestration, GHG emissions reduction, and the protection of carbon sinks.

When: Tuesday, 4 December; 13:15-14:45
Venue: Side Event Room 1 - Bieszczady
Organizers: UN Water
Wednesday, 5 Dec.

Nature-Based Solutions for land, soil and water management; a new paradigm for sustainable agricultural development

Agriculture influences and shapes the world’s ecosystems, but not always in a positive way. More than 2.5 billion people are globally a de facto involved as stewards of land and water ecosystems that constitute the natural resource base for feeding the current and future world population. Yet, conventional agronomic interventions based on ‘hard’ agricultural engineering compromise various eco-services that are required for a sustainable agricultural development. Indeed, results of over-exploitation of the natural resource base are sadly exemplified by negative externalities as degradation of soils, polluted water resources and climate change. Hence, calls for a shift in natural resource management paradigms are justified and should prioritize political agendas.

This side event focuses on policy frameworks and management to integrate profitable farming practice with the preservations and use of ecosystems functions that are related to soil, land and water and improved catchment management consistent with SDGs 2, 6 and 15.

When: Wednesday, 5 December; 14:00-15:00
Venue: Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion
Organizers: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
Thursday, 6 Dec.

Climate Classroom @ COP24 - Decision-making for Water Resources Management

Water infrastructure and aquatic ecosystems are both exposed to potentially significant but uncertain climate impacts given their long lifetimes, but most climate risk frameworks remain separate from how we actually make water decisions. A coalition of global organizations has assembled a new approach to understanding climate risk that can be integrated within existing planning, design, and operational decision processes. CRIDA (Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis) integrates analytical and stakeholder approaches to assess impacts and risks within a quantitative framework. UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) within the framework of CRIDA has engaged with various stakeholders in different regions to design a robust Climate Stress Test using bottom-up approaches to identify uncertainty of climate projections for water resources management in cooperation and collaboration with Category II Centres and Centres of Excellence.

Here, speakers will discuss the emergence of methodologies and case studies such as CRIDA for water managers, planners, investors, and decision makers, and how they can enable us to integrate and mainstream resilient perspectives into existing work streams.

When: Thursday, 6 December; 13:15-14:00
Venue: WMO-IPCC Pavilion
Organizers: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations; UN CC:Learn
Friday, 7 Dec.

MPGCA High-Level Water Action Event: Water-wise solutions to mitigate, adapt and thrive

This year’s water event is divided into two segments, the first focused on water solutions for resilient and coherent NDCs, and the second on water’s role in private sector innovation addressing climate change and sustainable consumption and production targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both are designed to showcase tangible solutions that Parties can use to enhance their NDCs ahead of 2020 and improve the cross-sectoral coherence of their climate plans and activities.

When: Friday, 7 December; 15:00-18:00
Venue: Pomorze Room; Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: GCA, SIWI, AGWA

City Water Resilience Approach

The Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) has created a capacity building hub at COP24 for efforts around implementation of the NDCs. During this session, Arup will present the City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA). A clear demand exists for innovative approaches and tools that help cities build water resilience at the urban scale. The CWRA
outlines a detailed methodology for developing resilience and a suite of tools to help cities grow the adaptive capacity that allows them to survive and thrive in the face of shocks and stresses.

When: Friday, 7 December; 12:30-13:30
Venue: Capacity-building Hub; RYSY Meeting Room 24
Organizers: Arup

Enhancing Resilience through Nature-Based Solutions (NBS)

The objective of the event is to provide an overview of state-of-the-art knowledge on NBS for disaster risk reduction, water related services and socioeconomic development; showcase achievements to date illustrated by country examples from LDCs and SIDS; and propose a way forward to scale up NBS to tackle climate change.

The latest WB/GFDRR/WRI report on Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure: The Next generation of Water and Disaster Risk Management Projects highlights the potential role of “putting nature to work” to help meet the challenges of climate adaptation and resiliency. The findings of the report will set the scene for the rest of the session.

The event will bring together representatives from governments, international organizations, and civil society to present and discuss concrete examples of success stories and challenges in the implementation of NBS for climate resilience.

When: Friday, 7 December; 15:00-16:00
Venue: EU Pavilion
Organizers: World Bank Group

Water and climate challenges: time to finance actions!

Societies are affected by climate change & extreme weather events via the water cycle (surface & groundwater): droughts, floods & desertification threaten water, food & energy security. We will showcase solutions for adaptation & mitigation in the water sector (information, governance & financing).

When: Friday, 7 December; 11:30-13:00
Venue: Side Event Room 5 - Wisła
Organizers: International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS), French Water Partnership (FWP)

Getting to the Point: The relevance of wetland ecosystems for increasing NDC ambition

Wetland ecosystems serve as important natural carbon sinks and can, therefore, contribute significantly to greenhouse gas mitigation. By leveraging the potential of wetlands for mitigation in climate change strategies, countries can make a powerful contribution to raising NDC ambition. However, only a few countries include this promising approach in their NDCs as a means to achieving their national climate targets.

The event features representatives from government and civil society to highlight the relevance of wetland ecosystems for both climate change mitigation and adaptation, while addressing the role that wetlands can play in increasing NDC ambition.

When: Friday, 7 December; 14:00-14:45
Venue: German Pavilion
Organizers: Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany
Saturday, 8 Dec.

Facebook Live Studio

Facebook is collaborating with the UNFCCC on an exciting way to help leaders, advocates, and public figures take their participation at COP24 to the global community. Facebook will produce a Live studio for five days during COP24 to capture content.

Representatives of AGWA and SIWI will join the Facebook Live team on Saturday, 8 Dec. for a discussion about the High Level Water Action Event and the importance of water in climate negotiations at COP24.

The Facebook Live event will be broadcast on AGWA's Facebook page.

When: Saturday, 8 December; 10:30-11:15
Venue: UNFCCC Pavilion / Facebook (online)
Organizers: UNFCCC, Facebook, AGWA, SIWI

Cities Water Language

The idea for this event is to bring together networks of city-to-city knowledge exchange with the aim of catalyzing the opportunities for cities to: 1) be aware of innovative approaches that work, 2) learn how others implemented them as a stepping stone to set up in their own city, and 3) document progress of cities. The proposed common language is based on the IWA Principles for Water-Wise Cities.

When: Saturday, 8 December; 13:15-14:45
Venue: TBD
Organizers: International Water Association, Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate, Global Covenant of Mayors, C40, ICLEI, 100 Resilient Cities, Polish 44 MPA Cities, Water Cities Partnerships by NWP

Water Shocks: the role of wetlands in climate resilience and human security

This event aims to provide insights into the relationship between wetlands, resilience and human security and to stress on this as an important reason to safeguard and restore wetlands. In addition, the event aspires to discuss possible approaches to ensure wetlands’ contribution to peace. It will include an interactive discussion with the audience.

When: Saturday, 8 December; 17:00-17:45
Venue: Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: Wetlands International

MPGCA Cross-cutting Roundtable on Finance: Mobilising climate-aligned finance

Stacks Image 188559
The institutional investment and banking sector (i.e., capital markets) are essential for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. This event, which bridges the interface of climate change and the financial system, will look at opportunities to rapidly scale-up investment to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

When: Saturday, 8 December; 13:15-14:45
Venue: RT Room; Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: GCA

Ecosystem-based Adaptation: Coming Together for Water!

A feature film screening, an interactive conversation and the launching of a new online platform, will all be aimed at addressing aquatic biodiversity. The event will remind the audience of the linkages between aquatic biodiversity and climate change, encouraging debate and reflection on the importance of ecosystem-based adaptation.

When: Saturday, 8 December; 14:00-14:45
Venue: Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO)
Sunday, 9 Dec.
Monday, 10 Dec.

Scaling Up Climate Action: Water & the NDCs

This High-Level Event explores different perspectives on the role of water in delivering on the current nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Speakers will showcase findings of new research connecting insights from: a GWP analysis of over 80 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), compared with national development plans and frameworks; the UN’s 2018 report on progress on integrated water resources management; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC.

When: Monday, 10 December; 11:00-12:15
Venue: NDCP Pavilion
Organizers: Global Water Partnership; NDC Partnership

MPGCA Cross-cutting Roundtable on Land-use, Water, and Energy: Unlocking resilience: applying coherent land-energy-water approaches to adaptation & mitigation

Stacks Image 188573
This roundtable features a dynamic discussion on the need to better identify and understand the trade-offs required for the sustainable management of energy, land use and water to meet mitigation and adaptation targets. This will include identifying the potential synergies and therefore co-benefits for each if they are managed in a more integrated, robust and flexible manner.

When: Monday, 10 December; 15:00-16:30
Venue: RT Room; Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: GCA

MPGCA Cross-cutting Roundtable on Resilience: Scaling up investments in resilience to meet the needs of vulnerable people

Stacks Image 188700
This roundtable will focus on the need for accelerating action and investment for climate resilience. It will identify the actions that public, private and community actors should take to scale up investments to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people.

When: Monday, 10 December; 13:15-14:45
Venue: RT Room; Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: GCA
Tuesday, 11 Dec.

Climate Rationale in Climate Resilient Water Projects – Challenges and Opportunies

Over 180 participants from 42 countries – GCF National Designated Authorities, GCF Direct Access Entities, and Water Ministries – attended workshops in Africa and Asia to share experiences in project preparation for transformational climate resilient water projects, and accessing GCF resources. This event shares lessons from countries, and highlights available support to develop fundable climate resilient water projects.

When: Tuesday, 11 December; 15:00-16:30
Venue: IPCC Pavilion
Organizers: Global Water Partnership; World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

MPGCA Closing and Momentum for Change Showcase Event

This marquee event is a moment of celebration to mark the end of the Global Climate Action activities at COP 24, and to recognize the 15 winners of the 2018 Momentum for Change Award. It will feature recaps from each of the GCA High Level Action Events, including Water. This event is expected to be one of the most dynamic and exciting events at COP 24, with inspiring speakers, videos, photography, and a musical performance.

When: Tuesday, 11 December; 18:00-19:30
Venue: Lubelskie Room; Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: GCA
Wednesday, 12 Dec.

Accelerating Action and Support for Adaptation

The Global Commission on Adaptation is hosting a panel discussion in collaboration with the UNFCCC, focusing on what is required to tip the balance in favor of scaled-up action on adaptation. Commissioners will showcase their efforts in driving accelerated adaptation across both the public and private sectors.

When:Wednesday, 12 December; 15:30-17:00
Venue: Pomorze Room; Global Climate Action Area
Organizers: World Resources Institute (WRI); Global Center on Adaptation; UNFCCC

Recent Events - On Demand Videos