Flowing Forward: Freshwater Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change in Water Resources Management and Biodiversity Conservation

Tom Le Quesne, Constantin Von der Heyden, Rob Wilby, Joerg Hartmann, Guy Pegram, Elizabeth Kistin, Geoffrey Blate, Glauco Kimura de Freitas, Carla Guthrie, Catherine McSweeney, Nikolai Sindorf
Posted on: 8/29/2010 - Updated on: 3/06/2020

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The IPCC Climate Change and Water Technical Paper concluded that observational records and climate projections provide abundant evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences for human societies and ecosystems (Bates, Kudzewicz, and Palutikof 2008). This implies that development and conservation programs could fail to realize intended benefits or, worse still, contribute to increased exposure of populations to climatic hazards.

This review was requested by the World Bank from WWF to develop the guiding principles, processes, and methodologies for incorporating anthropogenic climate change within an analytical framework for evaluating water sector projects, with a particular emphasis on impacts on ecosystems. It is a contribution toward the development of a systematic approach to climate change adaptation in the Bank’s water and environment sectors.

The findings and recommendations are key contributions to the Bank’s two-sector analysis on (1) the Climate Change and Water Flagship that has been developed by the Energy, Transport, and Water Department (ETW), and (2) the Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Adaptation economic and sector analysis prepared by the Environment Department (ENV). This report is also a contribution to the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.


Le Quesne, T., Matthews, J., Von der Heyden, C., Wickel, B., Wilby, R., Hartmann, J., Pegram, G., Kistin, E., Blate, G., Kimura de Freitas, G., Levine, E., Guthrie, C., McSweeney, C., Sindorf, N. (2010). Flowing forward: Freshwater ecosystem adaptation to climate change in water resources management and biodiversity conservation. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/virtual-library/2266

Affiliated Organizations

For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.