“We are at what is undoubtedly a critical time for our climate, both in terms of efforts to mitigate carbon emissions, but also in adapting to the inevitable consequences rising temperatures pose,” says Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation. “The path we choose will have profound ramifications for generations to come.”
“If we allow average global temperatures to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the consequences for those alive today and for generations to come will be profound,” he continues.
Mitigation is therefore essential. “But we will also be judged by our effectiveness at taking adequate preparations to adapt to the inevitable changes we face.”
Water is central to adaptation
Water is central to adaptation – one reason why Verkooijen will be participating in the closing session of this year’s AIWW Conference.
“Water is a core component in enabling the delivery of many effective climate adaptation solutions,” says Verkooijen. “The active involvement of the water community is also critical to fulfilling many of the Global Commission on Adaptation’s goals,” he continues, adding: “Contributions from the water community are vital.”
This contribution will have real value. “Research by the Global Commission on Adaptation estimates that investing $1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in core areas, including water resources management, could yield up to $7.1 trillion in net benefits,” says Verkooijen. “This economic dividend will ensure future generations are better equipped to continue the struggle against climate change.”
Status quo is unsustainable
This calls for a response from the water community. “The water community must understand that the status quo is unsustainable,” says Verkooijen. “As a result, it must prepare itself and think more about new ways of managing water resources.” He highlights also the need for improvements in areas such as water monitoring systems and water governance.
“Investments in adaptation are highly beneficial and offer significant cost-benefit ratios, but the key to fully reaping the benefits of these is effective collaboration,” says Verkooijen. “Establishing connections and fostering synergies is also crucial to securing investments.”
“The water community must not operate in silos, but instead connect with other priority areas, such as finance, food, agriculture and infrastructure,” he says. “It is essential that all stakeholders, at all levels, share information and experiences to accelerate adaptation.”
Focus on adaptation
The adaptation focus of Verkooijen’s organisation makes water a priority in its wider agenda. “Water is a core area to our work,” he says.
“Our priorities are to promote awareness of climate adaptation and to accelerate adaptive actions across the globe,” he says. “We believe that for all the challenges, greater resilience is achievable and in all of our interests.”
“Specifically, we are also seeking to elevate the visibility and political importance of climate adaptation,” he says. Practical steps to help achieve this, in addition to participating in AIWW, include attending Stockholm Water Week 2020 and hosting of the Adaptation Action Summit on 22 October 2020.
“Water is an enabler for many effective climate change adaptation actions to be implemented. Collaboration and coordination are critical for the future of effective climate adaptation,” he adds, concluding: “The climate debate can no longer be about causes – it must be about action.”
Patrick Verkooijen will contribute to the closing session of the AIWW Conference.