The World Water Council, together with key partners, many of whom are members of #ClimateIsWater, was actively engaged in enhancing and recognizing the essential role of water as a crucial resource to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP24), taking place in Katowice, Poland from 3 to 14 December.
The Water Action Event entitled “Water-wise climate solutions to mitigate, adapt and thrive” took place on 7 December and was co-organized by the World Water Council and other partners under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) non-Party Stakeholder framework, gathering many organizations both inside and outside the water sector. Tomasz Chruszczow, UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champion from Poland’s Presidency, and Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of Solar Impulse Foundation, opened the event by stating how vital water is for lives and ecosystems, as well as for the world economy and energy production.
Following two separate panel discussions presenting water-smart climate solutions, newly elected President of the World Water Council, Loic Fauchon, underlined the need to find balance between water for development and the economy and water for nature conservation and biodiversity. He reaffirmed the strong support and engagement of the World Water Council to make water a priority in the climate debate, encouraging a continuation of the dialogue towards the 3rd International Conference on Water and Climate to be organized next year. (Read full speech here)
In addition to the Water Action Event, the World Water Council co-organized other events at CoP24 in cooperation with key partners. They included a side event co-convened with SIWI and AGWA on the role of water in addressing climate change and disaster risk reduction; a UN Water side event on how to achieve climate neutrality through water, and; finally, a cross-cutting roundtable on water, energy and land interdependencies, necessitating a holistic and integrated approach to climate action.
Finally, the World Water Council launched with Global Water Partnership its newest report “Investing in Water Infrastructure for Climate Adaptation: Innovative financing and funding models.“ The report explores investments designed to increase our societies’ resilience through water infrastructure (WI4A). It provides an overview of existing innovative financing tools for water infrastructure, which can help increase funding for adaptation as a means to achieve global climate ambitions.
These activities were instrumental in maintaining and increasing momentum for water within climate discussions, stressing that water is a connector.
Water and Climate Action at CoP24
On 1 December, the World Water Council announced its new Board of Governors, which will oversee and guide the Council’s work for the coming three years. The elections took place during the triennial General Assembly on 30 November and 1 December for which upwards of 250 participants from 35 countries gathered in Marseille, France.
On the second day of the General Assembly, the newly-appointed Governors unanimously elected Loïc Fauchon to serve as President of the World Water Council for the next mandate.
Loïc Fauchon then named Asma El Kasmi, of the Office National de l'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable - Branche Eau (ONEE) as Vice President, along with Ahmet Saatçi, of the Turkish Water Institute (SUEN), Rui Godinho, of the Portuguese Association of Water and Wastewater Services Portuguese Association of Water and Wastewater Services (APDA), and Qiuchi Shi, of the International Economic & Technical Cooperation and Exchange Center (INTCE) as members of the Bureau.
The new President thanked the members for electing him and congratulated the previous Board and its President, Benedito Braga, for the important advances made on water security during his time in office.
In the coming years, the new Board will oversee the implementation of the Council’s triennial strategy, building further on the work achieved over the previous three years. The new strategy emphasizes water security, sustainability and resilience, while seeking ways to strengthen relationships between Council members. The Board will also support the Council’s preparation of the 9th edition of the World Water Forum to be held in Senegal in 2021.