Water management pact agreed for drought-stricken nations

Improved water security linked to poverty reduction, UN climate conference hears

 French ecology minister Segolene Royal attends a press conference on the Paris pact of water at the COP21 world climate change conference. Photograph: EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

French ecology minister Segolene Royal attends a press conference on the Paris pact of water at the COP21 world climate change conference. Photograph: EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

 

Frank McDonald

COP21 has already produced one concrete result, after just three days - the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation, which aims to make river basins, lakes, deltas and aquifers more resilient to climate impacts.

Changes in climate, coupled with unsustainable use of water, are causing widespread impacts on societies and economies, creating droughts, floods and warming that affects water systems and triggers negative and often fatal impacts.

Without improved water resources management, progress towards poverty reduction targets and achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in all of their economic, social and environmental dimensions would be jeopardised.

The Paris pact involves a wide coalition of national and cross-border river basin organisations, governments, funding agencies, local authorities, companies and civil society to implement adaptation plans and promote new investment in water systems.

Areas covered by the pact include the Niger and Congo basins in Africa, four countries in Latin America - Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia - and a Mediterranean collaboration involving Monaco, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan.

A separate Delta Coalition of 12 countries (Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, Philippines, Vietnam, France and Bangladesh) aims to increase resilience for almost 250 million people.

Supported by the European Commission, the Netherlands, France, the World Bank an other sources, the combined represent some €20 million in technical assistance and potentially as much as €1 billion in investment financing.