The Water Community Takes the Lead in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Dec 12, 2011, 07:00 ET from Comision Nacional del Agua

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Through a number of high-profile sessions held in the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Durban, South Africa, the water community came together to send a strong message to climate change negotiators: with or without a formal agreement in the COP, we're already adapting to and mitigating climate change.

Jose Luis Luege Tamargo, Director General of the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), noted that the impacts of climate change are mainly felt through water resources, including through increased variability in rainfall, leading to floods and prolonged droughts, which in turn affect many water-dependent sectors. "In essence climate change adaptation is improved water resources management, and this should be formally recognized within the UNFCCC", he said. Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and President of COP 17, echoed this sentiment, insisting that the water was at the heart of sustainable development, and "sustainable development is at the heart of climate change".

The sessions included the Water, Climate and Development Day organized by the African Union, Global Water Partnership, African Minister's Council on Water, the Department of Water Affairs of South Africa, the African Development Bank, the Water and Climate Coalition and the Economic Commission for Africa; and the second edition of the Dialogs for Water and Climate Change (D4WCC) organized by the CONAGUA. These sessions aimed to raise the profile of water-based adaptation, as a necessary measure that should be built into national planning processes, to ensure continued sustainable development and economic growth.

On behalf of the Water and Climate Coalition, Anders Berntell noted that good progress has been made in terms of strengthening synergies between the water and the climate change communities, as evidenced through the inclusion of water issues under the Nairobi Work Programme, an activity focused on climate change adaptation and dependent upon the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). He cautioned however that much more needs to be done, especially to demonstrate how water is pivotal not just to adaptation, but also to mitigation. He motioned that viewing climate change through a water lens would provide a more holistic approach which would reap doubtless social, economic and environmental benefits.

The Dialogs for Water and Climate Change (D4WCC) are a continuous effort led by the government of Mexico through the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), in collaboration with the international water community, in order to raise the profile of the impacts of climate change on water resources, share experiences on appropriate water-based climate change adaptation measures, and to advocate for the inclusion of water resources in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. For more information:

SOURCE Comision Nacional del Agua