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Increasing Resilience to Climate Change

Climate change is predicted to have significant effects on water, sanitation and health. Changes in temperatures, precipitation patterns and in the frequency of extreme weather events, will affect both water quantity and water quality, for instance by causing an increase of the areas experiencing water stress or by affecting the water composition, leading to the invasion of new areas by pathogens. Extreme weather events may also bring about discharges of untreated storm water overflows from wastewater collection systems, causing pollution and contamination, or damage water and sanitation infrastructure. All these effects can endanger both human health and well-being, including access to safe water and sanitation, and freshwater ecosystems.

The work on climate change under the Protocol, led by Italy, is aimed at increasing resilience to climate change in the water, sanitation and health sectors. Activities support policymakers, as well as water and wastewater operators, in adequately considering the effects of climate change in their strategic planning and in addressing issues such as water scarcity and wastewater reuse in agriculture.  

This contributes to the implementation of the Protocol and of other international commitments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the WHO global strategy on health, environment and climate change.

Activities in this area are undertaken in close cooperation with those on safe and efficient management of water supplies and sanitation systems, small-scale water supplies and sanitation and target-setting. Planned activities are described in the Protocol’s programme of work for 2020-2022.

There are strong synergies between this area of work and activities on adaptation in transboundary basins under the Water Convention, including though the organization of joint workshops on topics such as ecosystem-based adaptation and financing climate change adaptation.

Guidance documents:

Guidance  on water supply and sanitation in extreme weather events, reviewing experience and good practices in the pan-European region and describing how adaptation polices should consider risks arising from extreme weather events, how vulnerabilities can be identified and which management procedures can be applied.