As COP27 settles into the confines of history, reflecting back on Water Day, James Piggott shares some thoughts on the part water plays in climate change and how the upcoming UN Water 2023 conference needs to build on those discussions.
COP27 hosted a dedicated day for Water for the first time, bringing water scarcity to the forefront of the agenda. This is hardly surprising as given the location of COP27 this year, the River Nile is a critical lifeline for Egypt, the host country.
The day bought to life conversations around the sustainability of water, acknowledging the connections between water resilience, economic resilience, and welfare concerns. The nexus between water, energy and agriculture was also discussed at length.
There feels to be an imminent shift towards acknowledging the crucial role of water in climate change. As Australian businesswoman and water sustainability advocate Mina Guli put it :
Climate risk is water risk
They are inherently linked. However, while COP27 said all the right things, the purpose of the discussions on water largely felt as a positioning tool for UN Water 2023 which takes place in March next year. This is where we expect – and need – to see tangible action plans being put in place to tackle the impending water crisis.
Time is of the essence; climate change is happening now, and this will only intensify water stress across the globe. Unicef predict that by 2040, almost 1 in 4 children will be living in areas of extremely high-water stress while data from WRI’s Aqueduct tools reveal that 17 countries – home to one-quarter of the world’s population — face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress.1
At Baringa we are doing great work across the water industry, exploring and solving challenges across the sector, including addressing water scarcity, customer side demand management, long-term planning, environmental protection, sustainability of supply and climate risk and adaption.
We’ll continue to follow and explore the themes studied at COP27, ahead of UN Water 2023, with much interest.