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COP27 puts focus on sustainable water resource management

Half of world population to live under water stress by 2025, warns WHO

  • Shamim Jahangir from Sharm El-Sheikh
  • 16 November, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
COP27 puts focus on sustainable water resource management

The World Health Organization has stated that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas, and issues related to water are intrinsically linked to climate change.

COP27 Water Day provided a forum to address this with a focus on sustainable water resource management.

The day started with the inauguration of the AWARe initiative, in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The initiative will foster political efforts, practical action, knowledge sharing and field capacity development to place adaptive water management systems at the heart of the climate change adaptation agenda, establishing a pan-African hub for water.

Success stories from Africa highlighting how water systems have been successfully adapted in the face of severe climate change were presented. These included smart irrigation, flood protection, and rain harvesting. Attendees examined how best to go beyond these accomplishments and scale their resilience in the short term to face worsening climatic conditions. Among the topics discussed were public private partnerships, sustainable financing and increased communities’ engagement.

COP27 President Shoukry said: “With water use increasing every year and 70% of the world’s freshwater used for agriculture, according to the World Bank, the stresses of climate change are felt more and more. Climate change is already limiting people’s access to water globally, as droughts, floods, and wildfires linked to warming temperatures impact supply. Monitoring and managing river basin ecosystems is becoming increasingly vital and initiatives     like AWARe will provide for transformational collaboration across the continent.”

Over the course of the day, sessions highlighted the way forward for adaptation and climate resilient agriculture.

These included freshwater-use decoupling and Water Security exploring the potential for frameworks and technology to enable resilience building to drive water security.

It also adopted the River Basin Scale Adaptation and its Co-benefits and the Risk of Maladaptation looked at mobilizing the global effort to improve water management, increasing collaborative efforts in water adaptation and the challenges of maladaptation.

Floods and Droughts were also included, which emphasized the importance of early warning systems for protecting lives and livelihoods.

Moreover, it focused on water mitigation and how best to preserve water resources in the face of climate change and ensure access to safe drinking water.

The focus on water at COP27 brought together diverse voices from policymakers, scientists, researchers, civil society, and government, who shared ideas and success stories related to addressing issues of water scarcity.