Water sector thirsty for change at Climate COP

Water must be at the core of effective climate action, but many countries are unaware of the powerful water-related solutions that exist.

Water must be at the core of effective climate action, but many countries are unaware of the powerful water-related solutions that exist. To remedy this, the global water community will be speaking with one voice at the upcoming UNFCCC COP 26 Climate Change Conference in November and host a joint Water Pavilion.

Sprinkler irrigation in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Photo: Hamish John Appleby / IWMI

The Water Pavilion is the result of an unprecedented collaboration among over 30 organizations, governments and companies in the water space. The aim is to deliver cutting edge, science-based advice to climate decision-makers. Countries can also learn more about the central role that water plays in the climate crisis and the need for water to be at the very centre of climate solutions for mitigation and adaptation.

“The climate crisis is primarily a water crisis,” explains Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), which leads the Water Pavilion. “To a large extent, we experience global warming in the form of too much or too little water, as floods or droughts. But few countries are aware of how much they can gain from focusing more on water in their climate action, and that is what we want to change with the first-ever Water Pavilion.”

The idea of the Water Pavilion at COP 26 was born after COP 25, when the climate debate was starting to shift direction and increasingly focus on water, landscapes and systems in addition to technical solutions. To seize this opportunity, SIWI has been collaborating closely with the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), CDP, Global Water Partnership (GWP), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to ensure that water is prominent at COP 26.

The pavilion will have two interfaces. It will be physically present in the Blue Zone of the COP 26 venue in Glasgow as a convening space for government representatives, observer organisations and the media attending the COP. At the same time, all events in the Pavilion will be live streamed, allowing people all over the world to virtually engage with the broadcast events. This hybrid approach means that event organizers, speakers and participants who are not present at the COP are included, making the programme more diverse than ever.

“The Water Pavilion is an innovative and radically inclusive space for bringing governments and non-state actors together, and as a hybrid pavilion, it makes this climate conference accessible to the global audience,” says Nigel Topping, the UK High Level Champion for Climate Action at COP 26. “I applaud this initiative’s contribution to raising the inclusion ambition of this COP.”

The International Water Management Institute is proud to be a core partner of the Water and Climate Pavilion. “Climate change resilience is impossible without water resilience, and we are looking forward to drawing out the deep connections between water and climate action during the Water Pavilion’s diverse event series taking place throughout COP26,” says IWMI Director General Mark Smith. “Together with our partners joining us in Glasgow and virtually, we will deliver an urgent and compelling message to COP26 negotiators: transforming water systems to build water security is central to climate action and the foundation for a climate-resilient future.”

Follow the Water Pavilion’s events online at: water4climate.us2.pathable.com

Media contact: Eleanor Ross

Water Pavilion Core Partners

Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA); Arup; German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); CDP; CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); Diageo; The Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office of the United Kingdom (FCDO); Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Global Center on Adaptation (GCA); Government of the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management; Global Water Partnership (GWP); International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); International Water Management Institute (IWMI); International Water Resources Association (IWRA); Ooska News; Republic of Tajikistan Ministry of Energy and Water Resources; Sanitation and Water for All (SWA); Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI); Scottish Government; The Nature Conservancy (TNC); The Resilience Shift; UN-Habitat Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA); United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP); UNICEF; UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate in co-secretariat with Pacific Institute; Water UK; Water.org; WaterAid; Wetlands International; World Bank Group – Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP); World Meteorological Organization (WMO); World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


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