Bringing together water and climate at COP22

    Over the past year, the World Water Council has worked closely with the French and Moroccan CoP Presidencies and other partners to facilitate the organization of the first official UNFCCC Global Climate Action Day for Water on 9 November in Marrakech. The collaborative action of members of the global water community has enabled CoP22 to become a landmark in the history of the UN Climate Conference, making water much more visible within the climate debate. The Water Day began with a Press Conference, where Hakima El Haite, Moroccan Climate Champion, and Charafat Afilal, Moroccan Minister Delegate in Charge of Water, and WWC Vice President Dogan Altinbilek, among others, presented key actions and messages on water and climate. 
    In the presence of the CoP22 Commissioner, Abdeladim Lhafi, the official program was opened by the Moroccan Climate Champion, Hakima El Haite, who encouraged cooperation across various sectors so that water may be taken into better consideration in all domains. Charafat Afilal then launched the Water for Africa” initiative, which will mobilize partners to improve water and sanitation services and management in Africa as a means of countering the impacts of climate change. This initiative stemmed from the conclusions presented in the Blue Book (in English and French), also launched during the event, which summarizes the outcomes of the interim International Conference on Water and Climate organized jointly with the French and Moroccan Governments and the World Water Council in July 2016 in Rabat.
    In addition, other new initiatives were discussed, such as the International Network of Parliamentarians for Water, presented by WWC Governor Sophie Auconie of the French Water Partnership.  Moreover, progress was reported on initiatives launched last year, such as #ClimateIsWater or the alliances for basins, megacities and businesses, representing more than 450 organizations worldwide. 
    Vice President Altinbilek congratulated the Moroccan Government for its success in organizing the first Water Action Day in the history of the CoPs and emphasized the need for maintaining this momentum in the long term.
    During the afternoon roundtable dialogue segment, distinguished representatives from various sectors were invited to share their experiences and make constructive recommendations for ways forward. The four topics evoked sustainable development, social and economic development, financing, and improving knowledge, cooperation and capacity building. Among others, Honorary President Loic Fauchon and K. Harish from the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation presented their perspectives on accelerating multi-disciplinary action for water and climate.
    Beyond the official program, WWC Vice President Altinbilek also represented the WWC at various side events in the civil society area during the first week of the CoP. These were focusing on  water and multi-stakeholder engagement for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement, with convening partners including SIWI and AGWA, as well as a UNESCO-IHP and IWA event about improving cooperation in specific cases of floods and droughts. WWC Honorary President, Loic Fauchon gave a special address regarding the role of unique role of water in the CoP processes at the Moroccan Pavilion in the blue zone.  WWC Executive Director, Tom Soo, also addressed water scarcity, food security and climate change during the FAO side event entitled "Coping with water scarcity in agriculture: a global framework for action in a changing climate." Finally, a social gathering was organized at the WWC stand where members of the #ClimateIsWater initiative mingled with CoP22 participants. 
    On 17 November, the World Water Council will report on the outcomes of the Water Action Day to the High-level event on Global Climate Action. The Climate Action Champions from France and Morocco will then convey their conclusions to the CoP22 closing plenary on 18 November. In addition, an event dedicated to the 8th World Water Forum will be organized on the Brazilian Pavilion on 15 November.
    The voice for water and climate was echoed loudly by the numerous WWC members that were participating during this successful Water Action Day, including Board members Claudia Coria-Bustos Perez (Asociacion Mexicana de Hidraulica/CONAGUA), Mohamed El Azizi (AfDB), Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros (UNESCO), Hachmi Kennou ( IME), Olcay Unver (FAO), and Mbaruku Vyakweli (Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Co. Ltd.). 
    Read the official UNFCCC press release
    Watch the video on Water Action Day