Climate Change Adaptation: The Pivotal Role of Water
From the Executive Summary:
Adaptation to climate change is closely linked to water and its role in sustainable development. To recognize this reality and to respond accordingly presents development opportunities. Various necessary adaptation measures that deal with climate variability and build upon existing land and water management practices have the potential to create resilience to climate change and to enhance water security and thus directly contribute to development Innovative technological practices and implementation of strategies are also needed at the appropriate levels for adaptation as well as for mitigation.
Adaptation to climate change is urgent. Water plays a pivotal role in it, but the political world has yet to recognize this notion. As a consequence, adaptation measures in water management are often underrepresented in national plans or in international investment portfolios. Therefore, significant investments and policy shifts are needed. These should be guided by the following principles:
- Mainstream adaptations within the broader development context;
- Strengthen governance and improve water management;
- Improve and share knowledge and information on climate and adaptation measures, and invest in data collection;
- Build long-term resilience through stronger institutions, and invest in infrastructure and in wellfunctioning ecosystems;
- Invest in cost-effective and adaptive water management as well as technology transfer;
- Leverage additional funds through both increased national budgetary allocations and innovative funding mechanisms for adaptation in water management.
Application of these principles would require joint efforts and local-to-global collaboration among sectoral, multisectoral as well as multidisciplinary institutions. Responding to the challenges of climate change impacts on water resources requires adaptation strategies at the local, regional, national and global levels. Countries are being urged to improve and consolidate their water resources management systems and to identify and implement “no regrets” strategies, which have positive development outcomes that are resilient to climate change.