Americas Regional Strategy for Water and Climate Change, Draft version 1.1, June 7, 2011

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1 Americas Regional Strategy for Water and Climate Change, Draft version 1.1, June 7, 2011 This proposed strategy, drawn up by the Water Planning Department of the Deputy Director General s Office for Planning (SGP) of the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), considers the activities of the water and climate regional priority and its Target and Solutions Group of the Water Forum of the Americas (WFA), to be carried out in 2011 and the first six months of It constitutes the continuation of the Regional Policy Dialog (RPD) on Water and Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean, carried out throughout Background and goals for The RPD on Water and Climate Change took shape in 2010 through four main events: A first technical workshop (June, Mexico City); A session as part of the XI Meeting of the Conference of Ibero-American Water General Directors (CODIA, August, Mexico City); A Ministerial and Experts Panel during the World Water Week (September, Stockholm, Sweden); and A panel debate in the Dialogs for Water and Climate Change (D4WCC) at the COP 16, with representatives of other world regions and economic sectors (December, Cancun, Mexico). Through this process, three versions of a regional position paper were drafted, fine-tuned and presented, in both English and Spanish. This document includes nine public policy recommendations, which provide a solid platform for the continuation of this activity. The recommendations are as follows: 01. It is important to recognize the imminence and importance of the impacts of climate change on water resources. 02. Adaptation to climate change should be incorporated as a key strategic element in Integrated Water Resources Management. 03. It is important to strengthen the environmental dimension in water resources management in the region as a climate change adaptation measure. 04. In the development of water-based climate change adaptation policies, it is important to explicitly consider equity and poverty alleviation measures. 05. Hydro-climate information systems in the region must be strengthened so that they can be used to support timely and preventive climate change adaptation measures. 06. The LAC region should continue the ongoing process of institutional capacity development for water-based adaptation to climate change. 07. Water resources infrastructure needs to be developed and adapted to respond to climate change impacts and to the sources of financing available for this purpose. 08. The process of water-based adaptation to climate change offers important challenges in terms of social organization, implying the need for sustained efforts to be made to establish effective coordination, collaboration and social participation mechanisms. 09. The LAC region must increase its efforts to generate knowledge and train professionals on waterbased adaptation to climate change. 1

2 The next step in this process will involve focusing on the implementation of these policy recommendations. In line with forthcoming events and processes, in particular the 6 th World Water Forum and its regional preparatory process, the continuation of this effort will focus on specific targets, which will aim to enhance the knowledge base on the factors that affect implementation of related actions and stimulate the formulation of relevant policies. To carry out this exercise, the same organizations that contributed to the RPD in 2010 will be convened, including NGOs, government agencies, the private sector, research centers and intergovernmental agencies 1. The initiative is open to any other interested organization, and a number of organizations have already been added to this effort in The focus has also been extended to specifically consider the four sub-regions in the American continent, not only the Latin American and the Caribbean region. For this reason, other organizations and agencies from the United States of America and Canada are being invited, and more effort is needed to have a meaningful involvement of countries and relevant organizations from the Caribbean. Furthermore, it should be noted that this process will not be inward-looking, meaning that its aim will not just be to further the understanding on this issue in the Americas, but also to link up to similar processes in other regions of the world, as well as supporting the global cause. Through this process, it is proposed to update the regional position paper three times: Version 4.0 (July 2011), prior to the World Water Week in Stockholm, to be presented in a regional seminar (and perhaps also a global one) (see 2b). This version should already be enriched by some practical adaptation examples from the Americas; Version 5.0 (September 2011), updated in preparation for the XII Meeting of the CODIA to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2c), the Seventh Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management (D7) in Medellin, Colombia (2d) and the COP 17 in Durban, South Africa (2e). This will be the version that will serve as input to the Americas Regional Summit and Document; and Version 6.0 (January 2012), after all the year s events, which will be presented in its own right in March 2012 at the 6 th World Water Forum in Marseilles (2f). It is not currently planned to further update the document in the period in question, although that may change as circumstances evolve. The following figure visually presents the process, and the steps that make up this process are described in detail in the following pages. 1 Currently the partners in the RPD are, in alphabetical order: American Association of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Conference of Ibero-American Water Directors (CODIA), FEMSA Foundation, Freshwater Action Network Central American (FANCA), Freshwater Action Network Mexico (FANMex), Global Water Partnership (GWP), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA), National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities (ANEAS), National Water Agency of Brazil (ANA), National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), Secretariat for Environment of the State of São Paulo, Spanish Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Mexico, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Water Advisory Council, Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean of the TEC de Monterrey, and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Moreover, efforts are being made to invite Caribbean and Canadian organizations to join the process. 2

3 2. Definition of regional targets 2a. Background The coordinators of the four processes involved in the 6 th World Water Forum (thematic, regional, political and local) have received instructions from the International Forum Committee (IFC) to focus their work on SMART targets (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound) which should be achieved through a WISE process (Wide Involvement Stakeholder Exchanges). In the case of the WFA, six regional priorities have been established: drinking water and sanitation; water and climate change; governance and Integrated Water Resources Management; water for energy; water for food; and water for ecosystems. The CONAGUA, through the SGP, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and UN-HABITAT, are leading the regional priority on water and climate change, with the active involvement of the aforementioned partners. 2b. First target: inventory of adaptation actions For this regional priority, two targets have been identified, which it is believed meet the criteria of being SMART, and the implementation of which would be WISE. The first proposed target is: 3

4 By March 2012, carry out an inventory of water-related climate change adaptation experiences in the Americas, be they public policies, laws, projects, programs, or other activities, and local, national or supra-national in scope. The IADB is leading this target, under the name of Water and Adaptation Actions in the Americas (WaterAAA). This inventory of actions would be promoted through the events described in the present strategy, among others, as well as a campaign carried out by the partners in this process. Furthermore, beside the existing partners, closer ties will be sought with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments), two international organizations whose involvement would allow local governments in the region to get involved. This inventory will provide quantitative and qualitative input that will feed the thought process on the factors that affect the implementation of adaptation measures in the Americas. This thought process will be captured in the subsequent updates of the regional position paper. Additionally, a selection of cases will be chosen to illustrate the nine policy recommendations, as inserts in the document. This selection will not merely look for the most successful actions in plain numbers, but those that reveal the most interesting experiences and lessons to be shared. Special importance will be given to actions that might have the potential to be scaled up or replicated in other parts of the region. In order to provide an incentive for organizations, especially community-based and civil society organizations, to upload their actions, funds should be made available for the most interesting to be presented at the events outlined in this strategy, to help ensure the WISE approach. Some funds are available among the partners in this process, and additional funds will be requested from the IFC for this purpose. Even so, irrespective of how many actions are uploaded, it should be noted that the inventory is unlikely to be complete, given that many water-based adaptation activities are very local in scope. The on-line database should be available for direct web-based consultations on a dedicated website, as well as being accessible for open searches by Google and other search engines. The idea is that any organization can add its relevant experiences to the on-line inventory, be they local or national governments, NGOs, user associations, private companies or research centers. The only condition is that the actions should have already started, so that it can have lessons to be shared, although it may or may not have already finished. The activities may be either spontaneous or planned adaptation. In this sense, they are not necessarily "projects" as such. The scope and definition of actions will deliberately be kept quite open in order to be all-encompassing. Even though this target has a final date of March 2012, the online inventory itself may be continued beyond that date. In that case, the possibility would be explored for existing actions to be updated by the original authors, as part of a possible second phase of the activity, to provide further information on the progress in their implementation. 2c. Second target: stimulation of adaptation plans Whereas the first target has the objectives of raising awareness, and facilitating experience, information and knowledge sharing, the second target proposed for this regional priority aims to stimulate new actions and policies. It is proposed as follows: Between March 2009 and March 2015, stimulate the specific inclusion of water resources in XX new or existing national and XX local adaptation plans in the Americas. 4

5 The CONAGUA is leading this target. The number of plans in question, which might be an absolute number or a percentage, should be defined before the end of June 2011, based on an initial analysis of the baseline number of existing national and local adaptation plans in March By sharing experiences through the first target, and through the analysis encapsulated in the regional position paper, it is hoped that more nations, cities, states and regions would see the importance of placing water at the heart of their adaptation plans. The plans considered as part of this second target should be established by national or local governments in the Americas, although to enhance their sustainability, ideally they should consider the active involvement of non-governmental stakeholders. Although the target in question would run until March 2015 (and the time of the 7 th World Water Forum), a progress report would be made at the 6 th World Water Forum in March 2012, at which time the number of plans referred to in the target might be revised according to the progress made. According to the initial baseline, a two-part target might also be imagined, with a target for 2012 and a second one for It should be added that a full-time consultant will be required to oversee the implementation of the first stage of these two regional targets, as well as updating the regional position paper, in its three versions mentioned. The consultant, who would ideally be required between April 2011 and January 2012, should be an expert in the issue and perfectly bilingual in both English and Spanish. Although the CONAGUA has some resources available for this purpose, additional resources will also be required. 3. Events to support the SMART targets and WISE process 3a. World Water Week in Stockholm A seminar on water and climate change in the Americas is being organized on August 24, 2011 as part of the World Water Week in Stockholm, in follow up to the ministerial and experts panel organized in this event in In this seminar, which will be part of the Latin American and the Caribbean Day, it is proposed to present version 4.0 of the regional position paper, now enriched by some successful examples of water-based adaptation from the Americas. In this seminar, the emphasis will be placed on the presentation of some of these experiences, in particular that involve different actors (national and locals governments, private sector, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, etc.) and different hydro-climate conditions. After these presentations, some experts will be invited to comment and analyze the factors that affect the implementation of adaptation actions in the Americas. The aim will be for this seminar to feed the thought process on what constitutes good adaptation in the Americas, and for this analysis to be linked to other global and regional workshops, seminars and side-events in the World Water Week in Stockholm. 3b. XII Meeting of the CODIA For this meeting of the Conference of Ibero-American Water Director Generals (CODIA), scheduled for November 1-3 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it is expected to present the progress on the RPD on water and climate change, as well as of the other WFA regional priorities. The intention by including the CODIA is to involve the national water authorities of the different countries in the Ibero-American region (which 5

6 does not include the United States, Canada or the Caribbean countries). It should be mentioned that the CODIA reports to the Ibero-American Forum of Environment Ministers, which in turn reports to the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State, thus offering some interesting possibilities in terms of outcomes to this collaboration. With this in mind,the possibility is being analyzed with the CODIA s Permanent Technical Secretary of the XII CODIA presenting in its conclusions a recommendation for the Ibero-American Forum of Environment Ministers, which could consist of a request for the formal adhesion of the countries in the region to some guiding principles resulting from the RPD. It should be mentioned that version 5.0 of the regional position paper, which will be prepared for this event, will be the version that will serve as input to the Americas regional document for the 6 th World Water Forum. 3c. Seventh Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management (D7) The Inter-American Water Resources Network (IWRN), the organizer of the D7, has invited the CONAGUA to lead one of the event s five themes, on climate change, during the preparation, holding and follow-up to this event, which will be held in Medellin, Colombia from November 13 to 19, It should be noted that all countries in the Americas formally take part in the IWRN, and their official representatives will be invited to D7, along with representatives of other water-related sectors, and with special emphasis on young people. The work implicit in the preparation of the D7 is the production of a Thematic Baseline Document, which if this proposal were accepted, would be version 5.0 of the regional position paper on water and climate change. The consultation held around the event would serve to feed the inventory of actions, as well as enriching the consensus around the factors that affect the success of adaptation actions, and potentially stimulating further adaption plans. It is proposed that the roundtable debates around this theme should focus on these factors for success. Finally, the proposal of the IWRN includes the possibility to be part of the D7 synthesis team, and in this sense, there would be an interesting possibility to insist upon the importance of climate change for the others themes 2, in the D7 s conclusions. 3d. COP 17 The 17 th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held from November 28 to December 9, 2011, in Durban, South Africa. The Call to Action that the CONAGUA prepared has served as a launching pad to initiate a working relationship with the South African authorities, with the intention of raising awareness about the importance of water issues, for both climate change adaptation and mitigation, by the institutionalization of the D4WCC in the COP format. As regards the participation in COP 17, there are at least four distinct and not mutually exclusive possibilities: (i) making a formal request to the Mexican President s Office to have an official event about water and climate change; (ii) if Mexico or the Americas has a Pavilion, an event could be held there, 2 Water for the Future, Involving stakeholders by assigning responsibilities in water management, Promoting the adoption of public policy for water management in the countries in the region and Financing water management for the benefit of society-at-large. 6

7 with formal recognition; (iii) aim to foster a bi-national event on this issue between Mexico and South Africa (as the host country, South Africa will have two official events); and (iv) seek agreement with the CONAGUA s global partners who are accredited with the UNFCCC to hold a side event (for example GWP, WWF, Water and Climate Coalition, etc.). In any case, the aim will be to present the progress in the RPD in this event. 3e. 6th World Water Forum It is important to note that the aforementioned activities will give rise to at least three products which will be presented in the 6 th World Water Forum, in Marseilles, France in March 2012: version 6.0 of the regional position paper on water and climate change; the adaptation actions inventory; and the report on the target regarding adaptation plans. These products will be presented at a regional session on water and climate change, and potentially also in a global session on the same theme. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that the CONAGUA is part of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which is in charge of the 6 th Forum s theme on Respond to climate and global change in an urbanizing world subject, and is taking part in the definition of its related targets. 3f. Other events Other events that could be used to feed this process are: Bonn +10 Conference about Water, Food and Energy Security (Germany, November 2011), the Americas Summit, scheduled for December 2011 (exact venue and date still to be defined); and the Earth Summit (Rio +20) planned for June 2012, among others. It is important to mention that the program of these events is pending definition, so the possibility of taking part will be considered once the details are known. 7

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