Confronting the challenge of climate change for global water security
In 2020 the global pandemic exposed how our current governance systems are inadequately prepared to address global systemic challenges that threaten our humanity and our existence. While the pandemic rages on, lessons learned in ensuring better preparedness can assist us to confront the climate change challenge to global water security. Investing in water is imperative for inclusive, sustainable, and climate-resilient growth and development in a rapidly changing world. Water is a finite resource that sustains human health and production of energy and food. Water management systems need to be responsive and adaptive to the changing context of the natural resource, development needs, and sustainability priorities. This is under ordinary conditions. When water is affected by climate change in ways that are dramatically different from our normal experience, the impact is systemic, rippling through our economies, livelihoods, and natural ecosystems. Coordinated action to transform water management systems is needed to shift thinking to the new dynamic normal, to build confidence, and to open new channels for investment that enable effective responses.
Over ten years, through its portfolio of water and climate resilience programmes, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) has been working to bring about this transformation by moving water to the forefront of development agendas. The Partnership’s interventions have provided water solutions to development challenges, catalysed climateresilient development, and enhanced the transboundary cooperation that is essential for reaping the social and economic benefits of shared waters.
These interventions have led to significant outcomes and impact. Capacity has been built in more than 60 countries. Water and climate have been integrated in more than 50 formally approved national, sub-national, regional, and river basin development policies, plans, and strategies. The work has influenced more than 30 investment plans, strategies, and budget commitments supporting more than €1.5 billion worth of investments. Water security and resilience has been improved for millions of people through implementation of interventions to develop local climate resilience in more than 30 countries.
These results signal transformative change. Coordinated responses across governments, multiple regions, and continents from global to local level have enhanced coherence of national development priorities with global international commitments on the Paris Agreement, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and Sustainable Development Goals. The scale of impact and transformation has raised awareness of the central role of water security in building climate-resilient social systems. Introducing the concepts of climate resilience and water security in national processes by demonstrating impact on the ground has advanced adaptation planning. Facilitating investment planning and access to climate finance has both improved integrated planning processes and opened doors to development of much-needed infrastructure.
The stories in this report provide a glimpse of how this change took place, and of how GWP and its partners are building on this foundation to bring about lasting change through the new global strategy, with the ambition to influence more than €10 billion in water-related investments over the next five years. The aim is to significantly advance the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for more than 4 billion people living in 60 countries and 20 transboundary basins across the four continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.