The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

AGWA at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia
The 8th World Water Forum (WWF8) will take place 18-23 March in Brasilia, Brazil. WWF8 is the world’s biggest water-related event and is organized by the World Water Council (WWC). The 8th edition of the World Water Forum will hold more than 200 sessions and debates about themes related to water. The World Water Council organizes the Forum every three years together with the respective host country and city. It will be the first time the event is held in the Southern Hemisphere.

AGWA will take part in a number of events during WWF8. We will be officially coordinating one session on behalf of UNESCO, co-convening a high-level panel, and participating in others. You can find out more about our involvement below. This page will be updated periodically as more details and events are finalized. Make sure to check back often in the lead up to 18 March.

More details about WWF8 can be found on the event website -
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Highlighted Events
Below is a list of the official WWF8 events and sessions related to AGWA, SIWI, and the #ClimateIsWater Initiative. In each of these AGWA serves a role as an organizer, co-organizer, or presenter. The main venue is the Ulysses Guimarães Convention Center -- the venue for the thematic, regional, and political discussions. The Citizens’ Forum, the Exposition, and the Fair will be held at the Mané Garrincha National Stadium, just 300 meters away from the Convention Center. Maps of the Convention Center are available here (1st Floor | Ground Floor).

The full program for WWF8 can be found at All times listed are Brasília Time (BRT; UTC -3).

Bridging Water and Climate

As shown by the preliminary NDC submissions, over 90% of countries with adaptation sections acknowledge water in their commitments, which shows the significance of water and the demand for it to be addressed systematically and strategically. Countries recognize the need for water to be addressed both as a potential risk and as a vector for solutions as they implement at the national, local and project scale level. The water community possesses vast experience, knowledge and skills in the management of natural resources, which can help Parties fulfill their commitments through integrated and resilient water resources management. However, formal acknowledgement within global frameworks such as the SDGs and UNFCCC of water’s crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation remains missing. In addition, traditional water concepts are not always tailored to the specific needs and specifications which are increasingly required by specific donor and climate funds.

This High Level Panel will bring 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.

When: Monday, 19 March; 14:30-16:00
Venue: Room 22
Co-organizers: World Water Council, AGWA, SIWI
Category: High Level Panel

Source-to-Sea Management: Towards joint action by the freshwater and ocean communities

For the first time at World Water Forum, the S2S Platform will host a High-level panel on source-to-sea management, with ministers of environment as well as water and sanitation, discussing together with top management representatives from private sector, financing institutions and inter-governmental bodies This is a unique opportunity to solidify the connections between decision-makers who focus on marine and freshwater issues, and to heighten knowledge about and commitment to, the linkages between SDGs 6 and 14.

Panelists will discuss commitments for upstream action to help reduce the impacts on deltas, coasts and oceans, as well as opportunities and actions to strengthen source-to-sea approaches.

When: Tuesday, 20 March; 14:30-16:00
Venue: Room 36
Organizer: Action Platform on Source-to-Sea Management (S2S)
Category: High Level Panel

Science and policy together on climate change?

The SDGs provide a new framework for setting national development strategies, but that framework provides little guidance about how to also meet NDC goals as well as how to ensure coherence between national development goals and implementation at project scales. These issues are especially important for water-intensive projects. The social and natural sciences are fundamental for ensuring that decision making and policy formation are climate informed and that resilience is a consistent outcome. This session will define recommendations for fostering a dialogue about best practices between science and policy development and implementation. Together, we will explore how integrated governance can enable science-based decision making for water-intensive projects and policies across sectors, scales, and institutions. Examples of national and sub-national SDG implementation will be presented to demonstrate how science interacts with policy frameworks. A discussion will explore mechanisms to ground governance structures climate-relevant natural and social science.

When: Wednesday, 21 March; 14:30-16:00
Venue: Room 30
Co-organizers: AGWA, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute of Water (Argentina), UNESCO-IHP
Category: Thematic Process

Addressing Water Security and Climate Change Impacts in Vulnerable Regions

The session will focus on the challenges of water resources management under climate change in drylands and mountainous regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. It will consist of an interactive panel discussion on the outcomes of the UNESCO-IHP projects in the region. Several publications and policy briefs will be launched during the event, focusing on climate change impacts in the Andes and the Latin American Drought Atlas.

When: Thursday, 22 March; 15:00-17:00
Venue: Room 41
Co-organizers: UNESCO-IHP, Wildlife Conservation Society (Brazil)
Category: Side Event

Uncertainty, Vulnerabilities, and Resilience

Vulnerability is a function of the interaction between exposure of a system to hazards, sensitivity of the exposed parts of the system, and the adaptive capacity that offsets the level of vulnerability. Investments in water security help safeguard socio-economic growth in the face of increasing vulnerabilities to water-related risks. The session will focus on approaches that reduce vulnerabilities, increase resilience and deliberately deal with uncertainty. Integrated planning and policies that combine and sequence investments in information, institutions and infrastructure will be discussed. The session connects to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for DRR and the Paris Agreement, in which floods and droughts top the list of climatic hazards identified in Governments’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Examples of how drought and flood management are being addressed in these international frameworks and at the country level will be highlighted with a view to inspire progress in the SDGs.

When: Monday, 19 March; 16:30-18:00
Venue: Room 30
Co-organizers: Global Water Partnership (GWP), National Center for Natural Disaster Monitoring and Alert (CEMADEN), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), University of Minho - Centre of Studies on Geography and Spatial Planning
Category: Thematic Process

Strengthening citizens' participation in basin management

Everyone agrees today that active participation of all the public and private, collective or individual partners involved, at the side of Administrations and Government Agencies, is a condition for effective water resources management in the basins and sub­basins of coastal, national or transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers. Due to the many pressures on water resources and ecosystems and in order to adapt to the effects of climate change, it is now a strategic necessity to optimally organize this participation by drawing lessons from all ongoing or planned experiments.

This Special Session will be an opportunity to present successful experiences in participation carried out on all continents and to start a dynamic and cross­ sectoral dialogue with all participants in order to propose the best ways to progress.

When: Wednesday, 21 March; 09:00-12:30
Venue: Rooms 2 and 3
Co-organizers: International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the Latin-­American (LANBO) and Brazilian (REBOB) Networks of Basin Organizations, the Global Alliances for Water and Climate, and “Aqua Madre”
Category: Citizens Forum

The Forest-Water Nexus: redefining the narrative to build a sustainable future

We live on a blue and green planet. To achieve a resilient future, natural solutions such as managing forests for water supply, will be required. This event will highlight the prevailing forest-water narratives, promote consensus on how to address integrating forests in water management and water in forest management and will provide an occasion to announce next steps and opportunities for engagement.

When: Wednesday, 21 March; 15:30-18:00
Venue: Room 41
Co-organizers: FAO, IUCN, SIWI Swedish Water House
Category: Side Event

Emerging Policy Solutions to Manage Water Quality from Ridge to Reef

Managing water quality is a complex task for policy makers. It is a challenge to know which policy tools would be most effective to meet water quality standards in different situations, locations or scales. Examples of innovative policy instruments are emerging, but have limitations. How to conceptualize and implement suitable governance arrangements to find the right incentives, funding sources, technologies and capacity to improve water quality is specific to each location, and must adjust to constant demographic and climatic changes. This session will examine examples and frameworks of how to replicate and scale up or scale down innovative policy solutions.

When: Thursday, 22 March; 09:00-10:30
Venue: Room 29
Co-organizers: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, S2S Platform
Category: Thematic Process
Other Noteworthy Climate-Water Events
In addition to AGWA-related events at WWF8, there are a number of relevant climate and water events. Below is a selection of other noteworthy events taking place throughout the Forum. As a reminder, the main venue is the Ulysses Guimarães Convention Center -- the venue for the thematic, regional, and political discussions. The Citizens’ Forum, the Exposition, and the Fair will be held at the Mané Garrincha National Stadium, just 300 meters away from the Convention Center. Maps of the Convention Center are available here (1st Floor | Ground Floor).

The full program for WWF8 can be found at All times listed are Brasília Time (BRT; UTC -3).
Monday, 19 March
Special Session - Water Security and SDGs | 14:30-16:00 | Room 24
The water security and SDG session stands ready to conduct multi-level and multi-field exchange and cooperation in the field of water resources. China is willing to work with other countries to identiy challenges, take measures, realize water-related goals set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development facing water security. It is committed to establishing a new pattern of global water governance that is green, circular, economical, efficient and safe, to enhance the wellbeing of the mankind.
Tuesday, 20 March
Session 1.a.2 - Hydro-climatic risk in land planning and management | 09:00-10:30 | Room 30
Addressing hydro-climatic risks is unanimously recognized in international guidelines, and is based on the general principles of integrating public policies which impact water management across a region. The planning and management across a region can contribute to the prevention of hydro-climatic risks inherent in disaster situations and to the mitigation of their impacts effects. including management of water use in agriculture, urban and rural areas and industry. With this session, we intend to discuss different strategies and methodologies for resolving management problems such as the use of decision support systems and economic instruments for building resilience to floods and droughts.
Session 1.a.3 - Addressing hydro-climatic risk of vulnerable communities on a sub-national level | 11:00-12:30 | Room 30
Whilst impacts of climate change and its influence on increasing hydro-climatic risks are primarily experienced at local and regional levels, existing policies and disaster risk reduction implementation strategies are often created without the adequate involvement of local communities. Hence, this session aims to facilitate a dialogue between different stakeholders about the realities and challenges of hydro-climatic risk management models and a need for inclusive, ‘bottom-up’ participatory action with local communities at every step of the process. Through presenting successful community-based initiatives and innovative arrangements, this session will contribute to community resilience and demand-driven disaster risk reduction approaches that deliver sustainable solutions.
Session 1.b.1 - How climate change affects all the different water users: The need for cross-sectoral approaches for adaptation | 14:30-16:00 | Room 30
The session aims to promote an integrated vision through the main actors affected by climate variability and its implications on water management. A cross-sectoral approach aims to bring together the many human demands and activities depending on the management of hydrological systems under a common adaptation strategy. The session will address different levels of actions, tackling the shortcomings towards an integrated distribution of surface and underground water resources and environment towards adaptive and resilient systems. Discussions may include speakers from different sectors (national and local authorities, water utilities, business, farmers, communities, NGOs…) presenting practices and challenges they have been making and facing to deal with this new integrated paradigm.
Side Event - Water & Climate: towards an integrated flood risk management? | 15:00-16:30 | French Pavilion
French Development Agency (AFD), AdourGaronne Water Agency, Megacities Alliance for water, Water Paris (Eau de Paris), French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Drinking water service for the Greater Paris area (SEDIF)
Side Event - Integrating WASH & freshwater ecosystem conservation to achieve SDGs | 16:00-18:00 | Nature-Based Solutions Pavilion (E22C) in the Expo
Healthy freshwater ecosystems and sustainable WASH are intrinsically linked to water security and key to delivering multiple SDGs, especially SDG6. CSOs, governments and businesses have a stake implementing SDGs but face obstacles.
- Hear about innovative approaches and practical successes integrating WASH, freshwater management and healthy ecosystems and discuss how to mainstream and finance them.
- Test your knowledge in an interactive quiz and learn from the experiences from others.
Session 1.b.2 - Innovative financial mechanisms for adaptation to climate change | 16:30-18:00 | Room 30
Countries worldwide have adopted INDCs and NAPs under the UNFCCC, with a strong focus on adaptation of water management, as many economic sectors highly depend on the availability and quality of this resource. A major financial effort is required for implementation of structural and non-structural measures for adaptation: basin management, monitoring, flood protection, drought forecasting, demand management, aquifers and wetlands protection and restoration, soil conservation, multipurpose storage reservoirs, resilient cities or efficient irrigation…. This session will discuss the lessons-learned in planning and financing basin adaptation worldwide and in particular in Latin America and promote financing tools (incl. redistributive financial mechanisms, payment for ecosystems services, users/polluters pay systems…) for the development and implementation of adaptation measures and projects.
Showcase - Resilience: beyond crisis management? Let's debate it! | 17:00-17:45 | French Pavilion
Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Veolia, Institut méditerranéen de l’eau
Wednesday, 21 March
Session 1.c.1 - Water and land management contributing to Climate Mitigation targets | 09:00-10:30 | Room 23
How can water resource and land management effectively contribute to climate mitigation and the uptake of measures be accelerated to achieve global targets by 2030? There are opportunities to reduce carbon emissions through different sectors and orders of magnitude within a watershed such as water reuse in agricultural production, using water quality fit-for-purpose for landscaping, green infrastructure and sustainable approaches to capture rainfall in aquifers, ponds and wetlands. Also, larger scale approaches using water in renewable energy production (e.g. hydropower, biofuel crops) exist, although these need to consider the value chain of energy production to account for a positive carbon balance.
Session 1.b.3 - Do not reinvent the wheel: Making the most of no-regret adaptation measures | 09:00-10:30 | Room 30
At UNFCCC COP21 (Paris) and COP22 (Marrakech), fresh water was recognized as a full priority of the Global Climate Action Agenda: 359 organizations in 94 Countries have signed the Paris Pact for water resources adaptation in basins and commit themselves to act quickly. They identified key issues for action from capacity building, stakeholder involvement, risk prevention, demand control to ecosystems services solutions…all are non-regret measures successfully implemented in different regions. This session will mobilize the Paris Pact signatories and organizations sharing the same approaches to show their initiatives and exchange best practices to facilitate their adoption by different actors and to mobilize energies to react quickly.
Session 1.c.2 - Low carbon water services to achieve climate mitigation | 11:00-12:30 | Room 30
Population growth and urbanisation are estimated to increase the demand for water and sanitation services by 40% in only 15 years. Globally, approximately 80 percent of wastewater is discharged to the environment untreated, a crucial area of emissions reduction. Utilities can anticipate the need to expand service levels to ensure adequate water supply and sanitation services, while investing in low-carbon urban water services that include energy efficiency and GHG reduction technologies to prevent water insecurity. Those include the reduction of water losses, increased energy efficiency, improved wastewater treatment, conversion from waste to energy and the reuse of nutrients. What are the key challenges and how can these be overcome?
Session 1.d.2 - Citizen science approach in hydro-climate services for achieving the SDGs and global goals | 16:30-18:00 | Room 30
The session will discuss the interaction between the decision-making process and the necessity of benefit-sharing partnerships that promote the convergence of decisions towards common goals. The role of citizen science is highlighted as an important driver in hydro-climatic data collection and validation. Water information network systems and accessible, innovative technologies have the potential to be developed further in support of SDG implementation. The session will present best practices to empower and inform the public as way to strengthen the triangular interface of academia, the public and government.
Thursday, 22 March
Session 1.c.3 - Strengthening waterwise management and climate mitigation through integrated policies, regulation and financing | 09:00-10:30 | Room 26
There are strong synergies between climate and water action. Emissions from the water sector (especially drinking water and wastewater services) present new opportunities to contribute to Nationally Determined Contributions limiting global temperature rise. Holistic water management approaches guided by good policies and governance require special emphasis, for example for using water to produce renewable energy. Integrating water and climate agendas, promoting coherence between adaptation and mitigation approaches, and sound accounting methods for GHG emissions will improve access to financial mechanisms and drive the so-needed upscale of mitigation measures. How to create an environment enabling the mitigation in the water sector?
Session 1.d.3 - Uncertainty and limitation of science and science communication | 09:00-10:30 | Room 30
Climate science has made significant advances during the last two decades. However, this knowledge has not yet been implemented at the policy level for decision making in the medium and long term, due to a mismatch in spatial and temporal scales and the significant uncertainty in projections under climate change scenarios. Innovative approaches are needed to bridge the gap between climate science and policy making in order to better integrate climate risk informed decision-making, and to provide a framework to foster community-based adaptation strategies for improved water resources management, disaster prevention, and to reduce the impacts of global change.
Thematic Closing Session on CLIMATE | 14:30-16:00 | Room 30
The Theme Climate will be holding 12 ordinary sessions during the 8th Forum week. The Theme is also going to be discussed in Ministerial Thematic Roundtables, a number of Special Sessions, High Level Panels and other Forum process sessions. The sessions focus on water security and climate change and on linkages to the 2030 Agenda/SDGs 6, 13, and 11, The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Thematic Closing Session will bring the highlights of the debates together and come up with a list of recommendations for action to be implemented in the short and long term, as well as potential actors to be involved.
Friday, 23 March
Session ABC | 14:30-16:00 | Room 15
The session will focus on the challenges of water resources management under climate change in drylands and mountainous regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. It will consist of an interactive panel discussion on the outcomes of the UNESCO-IHP projects in the region. Several publications and policy briefs will be launched during the event, focusing on climate change impacts in the Andes and the Latin American Drought Atlas.