The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1–12, 2021. For the first time ever, a targeted forum for water, the Water Pavilion, will be hosted at the conference.
Broadly speaking, water is to adaptation what energy is to mitigation. However, the Water Pavilion this year is a testament to the increasing realization that mitigation and adaptation cannot happen in silos, and that climate action will influence water systems, and adaptation measures in turn will depend on and affect energy systems. The Water Pavilion is the forum to explore a deepening of this integrated approach, while we critically strive to enhance water security and resilience in the midst of ongoing climate change, and in particular for vulnerable communities in the crossfire of extreme heat and extreme weather events that have been witnessed over 2021. The climate deniers are becoming less – for obvious reasons.
The Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP) will be participating in a couple of events at the Water Pavilion with the main aim of highlighting the key role of groundwater in climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and integrated resilient nature-based solutions. Groundwater is already, and increasingly, relied on around the world for resilient livelihoods, cities, agriculture and ecosystems. It is the largest water source underpinning resilience across the globe. While this adaptation has taken place over decades – actually since time immemorial – relatively little attention has been accorded groundwater issues. As a result, relatively little has been achieved in terms of safeguarding the resource, with clear signs of depletion and degradation evident from around the world. This is having a negative impact on human and ecosystem resilience and economic development opportunities in regions and societies experiencing groundwater depletion and degradation.
While groundwater still holds significant opportunities for resilience, the key message from GRIPP at the COP26 is to:
Groundwater holds significant opportunities for enhancing adaptation to the climate scenarios and risks we are experiencing, but it requires concrete active action now, integrated into broader water security and resilience planning at the country, local and international levels. This is what is currently missing, and this is where GRIPP expertise and partnerships come in.
GRIPP sessions at COP26:
Welcome to COP26!