SIWI urges leaders to put water at the centre of any climate agreement

Sweden’s Minister for Climate and Environment and Deputy Prime Minister, Åsa Romson © SIWI

World Water Week 2015 closed with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) urging climate negotiators to ensure that water is thoroughly integrated into any global 2015 climate agreement.
SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren summarised the messages of the Week when he said: “water is what binds together all the aspects of climate change. Climate change is water change.”
The impact of climate change is felt through water, with flooding, erratic rain patterns, pro-longed droughts, and other extreme weather events. Water is also critical for successful climate change mitigation, as many efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions depend on reliable access to water resources.
“It is absolutely vital that water is a part of both voluntary initiatives to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as of the Climate Convention itself,” said Karin Lexén, Director of World Water Week, International Processes and Prizes.
This year, World Water Week, themed Water for Development, had 3,300 participants from 125 countries, representing governments, academia, civil society, international organisations and the private sector.
“If waters are not managed properly and water resources management is not well integrated in climate efforts, climate impacts will have a significant effect on our societies, it is a challenge for all countries,” said Sweden’s Minister for Climate and Environment and Deputy Prime Minister, Åsa Romson. “I want to encourage further discussions on how to strengthen water resilience as part of the Action agenda and to make sure that climate investments, including through the Green Climate Fund, can support water resilience.”
In a passionate plea to negotiators in Paris, the President of Marshall Islands, Christopher J Loeak, earlier in the week said he was not sure if he dared hope for the strongest possible wording in the climate agreement, but said he expected the world to make a historic pledge that would not only save his country, but also the world.
“We (Marshall islands) are quite literally contemplating a future where we are being wiped off the world map,” he said.