Adaptation's Thirst: Accelerating the Convergence of Water and Climate Action

Water Background Paper for the Global Commission on Adaptation

Water has long been recognized as a central component of climate change impacts as well as a tool to ensure effective adaptation. In the words of Carter Roberts, CEO, WWF-US, at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in 2009, “The language of water is the language of climate change.” Nevertheless, miscommunication and misunderstanding remain an issue between the water and climate change communities.

A new Water Background Paper has been prepared as part of a series designed to inform the Global Commission on Adaptation's 2019 flagship report. The goal of this Water Background Paper is to answer the fundamental two-audience question posed by the UNFCCC in 2016: what can the water community do to help advance targets for climate change adaptation, and what can the climate community do to help advance targets for water resilience?

Lead Authors

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GCA Background Paper Series

This paper is part of a series of background papers commissioned by the Global Commission on Adaptation to inform its 2019 flagship report. This paper reflects the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of the Global Commission on Adaptation.

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About the GCA

The Global Commission on Adaptation seeks to accelerate adaptation action and support by elevating the political visibility of adaptation and focusing on concrete solutions. It is convened by 20 countries and guided by more than 30 Commissioners, and co-managed by the Global Center on Adaptation and World Resources Institute. More at

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