COP15: Climate Change and Water Vulnerability: Strategies and Practices for Emerging Water Management and Governance Challenges
TERI in collaboration with Yale University and World Environment Centre (WEC), hosted a side event as part of COP 15 on 12 December 2009 to deliberate upon major challenges in the water sector in the wake of climate change. The event called upon a global collective action for water resource management. The White Paper developed by TERI, in association with the Yale University, titled 'Climate Change and Water Vulnerability: strategies and practices for emerging water management and governance challenges' was released during the event and was well received by the august audience. The White Paper is an initiative by TERI to signify the critical role of global and regional water security towards sustainable development. The event brought together more than 100 stakeholders from academia, industry, NGOs, and multilateral organizations to discuss issues such as global concerns in water resource vulnerability, adaptive water management under climate change realm: looming challenges and prospective reforms, and shared vision and cooperation: policy, regional cooperation, and transboundary governance.
Dr R K Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Director General, TERI; and Director, Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI), started the session by emphasizing the importance of water in all aspects of life and the urgency in developing a collective action framework. A brief presentation on the White Paper was made by Dr K Sreelakshmi, TERI and Professor Sheila Olmstead and Dr Juliana Wong (Yale University). This was followed by discussions. A new concept of 'Water Religion', coined and propounded by TERI, was the highlight of the day in this event and was well received by the distinguished participants. Dr Pachauri emphasized that Water Religion should be well promoted as a way of life with guidelines on code of water conduct, and that it should reach across nations.
The distinguished panellists for the key focal themes were Mr Olcay Ünver, Coordinator, The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme; and Director, Global Water Assessment Unit, Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO; Mr Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund, US; Mr Kanayo F Nwanze President, International Fund for Agricultural Development; Mr Vladimir Smakhtin, Theme Leader, Water Availability and Access, International Water Management Institute; Mr Anders Berntell, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute; Mr Abdoulie Janneh Under-Secretary-General Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia; and Dr Terry F Yosie, President and CEO, WEC.
Mr Jeff Seabright, Vice President, Environment and Water Resources, Coca Cola, highlighted the urgent need for corporate action in addressing water challenges and also gave a background of Coca Cola's decision to support this endeavour.
Active participation by representatives from organizations like SIWI; WWF; Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa; UNESCO; IUCN; UNICEF; and many others made this event a great success.
The discussions brought forth several key issues in the water sector and paved way for framing a new integrated approach in water governance. Focussed discussion on water-stressed regions emphasized the need for good governance and efficient water use in the regions. The panellists shared their wealth of knowledge in the field and suggested various measures to tackle the challenges. The participants appreciated the timely release of the White Paper and expressed hope that TERI would take this water resource initiative forward in a meaningful and sustainable way.