Stockholm — With the clock counting down towards the November climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, where parties to the climate treaty agreed in Paris will negotiate implementation, it's clear that managing water resources will be a key aspect of any effective deal.
Here at World Water Week, which concluded on Friday, Susanne Skyllerstedt, programme officer for Water, Climate Change and Development at the Global Water Partnership (GWP), says her organisation is working with Sub-Saharan African governments to incorporate adaptation strategies into the partnership's climate change programme.
"For us, resolutions of COP21 are part and parcel of what we are implementing and those of COP22 (in Marrakech) will be embedded in our long-term agenda of ensuring water security in Africa and rest of the developing world in a bid to attain water-related sustainable development goals," she told IPS.
GWP is a Stockholm-based organisation that has been involved in fostering integrated water resource management around the world for the last 20 years. GPS has four regional offices in Africa covering Southern, Eastern, Central and West Africa.
As an inter-governmental entity, GWP works with organisations involved in water resources management. These range from national government's institutions, United Nations agencies to funding bodies. Other stakeholders include professional associations, research institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector. GWP has a water and climate change programme to support governments on water security and climate change resilience.
Already, said Skyllerstedt, GWP has a programme that was started in Africa through the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) together with the African Union Commission and other development partners. The programme has been a key platform for supporting African governments.
These include support on national climate change adaptation programmes more so in the sphere of policy formulation. For Sub-Saharan Africa countries noted for vulnerability to impacts of global climate change, the programme is key in supporting climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives.
Through monitoring and evaluation programmes conducted in the recent past, GWP has learned vital lessons and is cognisant of areas that need more resources to achieve the desired goals. Already, she said, GWP is running a three-year programme on climate change aimed at achieving sustainable development goals linked to water, energy and food through climate resilience.
She said they are implementing initiatives aimed at enabling countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire highly relevant technologies on sustainable water management. "We have demo programmes on new technologies being implemented by our partners in Africa but they need to be scaled up to have a major impact," she said.
GWP is also addressing the challenge of water pollution, to ensure availability of cleaner water for human consumption and other uses. It is collaborating with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to promote water security and hygiene. "The aim is to incorporate water, sanitation and hygiene component in climate resilience," Skyllerstedt explained.
GWP is also developing tools for better planning on water, sanitation and hygiene to help communities during calamities such as floods.
"We have an urban planning project focusing on urban water systems and infrastructure we work with national government and other partners on issues planning putting into consideration matters of access to water and sanitation facilities as well as water related calamities.
At the same time GWP collaborates with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) on drought and flood monitoring.
"We work with experts and stakeholders to ensure national plans take into account climate change-related hazards," Skyllerstedt said. "Many African countries face challenges in fighting impacts of extreme weather such as floods and droughts, and here is where the adaption programme is relevant."
For the next three years GWP intends to widen its support to encompass not only national climate change adaptation programmes but also Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that countries published prior to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
"National Adaptation Programmes (NAPs) and NDCs should be merged to avoid duplications," she observed.
The biggest challenge to implementation of GWP programmes by its partners in Africa and elsewhere remains access to financial resources.
"During the COP21 in Paris last year, there were lots of pledges on financing initiatives for enhancing water security and its access by the poor. Unfortunately, our partners are not able to access the money due technical bottlenecks," she said.
The situation has compelled GWP to embark on enhancing the capacity of their partners in Africa in the spheres of project design as well as making of investment plans and strategies.
Skyllerstedt spoke to IPS during the World Water Week held in Stockholm, Sweden from 28 Aug. 28 to Sep. 2 and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute.