UNECE convenes first workshop of the global network of river basins on climate change adaptation
Adapting water management to climate change requires incorporating the needs and views of all players, including agriculture, energy and industry, having a major impact on water use . This was one of the main messages of the fourth workshop on water and climate change in transboundary basins organized by UNECE and several partners in Geneva on 25-26 June 2013.
The workshop marked the first official meeting of the global network of rivers basins on climate change adaptation initiated at the sixth World Water Forum in Marseille in March 2012. The network of basins currently includes: the Amur/Argun/International Dauria Protected Area; the Chu Talas; the Congo; the Danube; the Dniester; the Drin; the Meuse; the Mekong; the Neman; the Niger; the Rhine; the Sava; the Senegal; the Tonle Sap; and the Upper Paraguay; as well as the Northern Sahara aquifer system.
The workshop brought together more than 120 participants, including representatives of 16 countries outside the UNECE region and representatives of the agriculture, hydropower and industry sectors.
A farmer leader from India for instance demonstrated that farmers are more willing to use water responsibly if they have a better understanding of water availability, water use and the effects of climate change by monitoring water resources themselves. El Salvador and Honduras showed how climate change impacts can be addressed by restoring ecosystems and by helping communities improve their farming methods.
The workshop also highlighted examples of successful cooperation with stakeholders and riparian countries in adaptation to climate change. These successful endeavours included the Senegal basin, the Rhône basin and the Neman basin, where stakeholders from different sectors jointly discussed vulnerability assessments and possible adaptation measures.
Finally, a market place session was held where participants could learn more about various modelling, communication and decision making tools. In addition, participants were separated into 18 basin groups within which they elaborated different elements of a transboundary adaptation strategy.
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Notes to editors:
The creation of a global network of basins working on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins was an outcome of the sixth World Water Forum. Its results will be presented at the next World Water Forum in the Republic of Korea in 2015. The global network aims to enable the comparison of methodologies and approaches, foster exchange of experience and promote a shared vision between the participating basins. It is also part of the UNECE Water Convention’s programme of work for 2013–2015, which also includes a global platform for water and climate change adaptation in the form of annual workshops.
The UNECE Water Convention is a unique framework for supporting transboundary cooperation in adaptation. Since 1992, the Convention has played a crucial role in the pan-European region in supporting the establishment and strengthening of cooperation. Building on the successes achieved, the Parties to the Convention amended it in 2003 to open it up to accession by non-UNECE countries. Having received the necessary number of ratifications, the amendments to the UNECE Water Convention to open it globally entered into force on 6 February 2013. It is expected that non-UNECE countries can accede to the Convention at the end of 2013.