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International summit highlights importance of transboundary and basin cooperation in climate change adaptation

Regional and transboundary cooperation on water resources is an important feature of climate action and is crucial for effective climate change adaptation.

These were central messages of the recent International Summit on “Water and Climate: Meeting of the Great Rivers of the World” held in Rome, Italy.

As a rare opportunity for river basins from all over the world to come together to share experiences, challenges and successes in water management in response to climate change, the Summit highlighted the need to build on cooperation, particularly in transboundary and regional contexts.

It further emphasized the importance of the active engagement of stakeholders across all sectors, underscored by the mobilization of governments – including the Prime Minister and President of Italy, together with several Ministers –, academia and the private sector at the Summit and for the implementation of its key outcomes and commitments (see graphic below).

In his opening message, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis, said “by adopting a farsighted change of perspective, water can be seen as an element of collaboration and dialogue, an occasion for peace and solidarity, through enlightened and responsible political and technological deals of joint management based on the precious value of sharing”. He further stressed that “water is an opportunity for peace in transboundary basins, if underpinned by sound agreements”.

The message of cooperation was also underscored by the President of the Italian Republic, H.E Sergio Mattarella, who stated "No longer water conflicts, but joint commitment so that sustainable water management contributes to ensuring all people development and well-being".

Providing examples of a range of initiatives, the secretariat of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) presented the Convention’s work carried out since 2006 on transboundary cooperation in climate change adaptation, as well as the latest activities on financing climate change adaptation. Several of the Convention’s pilot projects on climate change adaptation in transboundary basins, including the Dniester and Sava, were also presented.

The Summit was held as a milestone in the preparation for COP23 (Bonn, Germany, 6-17 November 2017) and of the World Water Forum (Brasilia, 18-23 March 2018). Italy brought forward the Summit’s main messages to the Water Day at COP23 in Bonn (10 November).

The Water and Climate Summit was organized on 23-25 October 2017 by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, UNECE, the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO, Secretariat of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate) and Aquamadre.

The main outcomes of the summit are summarized in the graphic below.

For more information please see: http://www.minambiente.it/water-and-climate-summit