Dear negotiators, did you know that the answer to some of your troubles can be found in nature? Nature-based solutions such as restoring mangrove buffers in degraded coastal areas or preserving peatlands have the potential to solve many of our climate and water challenges, reduce vulnerability, and help us adapt to a changing climate.
Why focus on water at the UNFCCC? Water is essential to life and to meeting both our mitigation and adaptation goals and, on the eve of the Talanoa Dialogue, it is timely to think of ambitious solutions for interconnected problems. Water demand is set to increase in all sectors and rising temperatures are projected to further increase pressure on limited water resources. Over 90% of NDCs with an adaptation component already reflect the understanding that water will continue to be one of the major challenges to adapting to climate change: Yet, actions taken now and in the next decade are essential to ensuring that climate change adaptation and mitigation measures as well as climate finance promote positive outcomes for water resources. ECO need only to look at statistics to see the urgency of this. We have already lost around 70% of wetlands worldwide due to human activities. But hope remains. Activities such as rewetting drained peatlands and avoiding further peat loss can safeguard some of the largest freshwater stocks in the world, while simultaneously protecting the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stocks.
We should look for synergies and move towards greater inter-sectoral collaboration with regards to water, wetlands, and land management, as well as to identify the ways in which nature-based solutions can work in a complementary, cost-effective way either alongside or in place of ‘grey’ infrastructure approaches, such as Building with Nature. Clear mandates from the highest political levels can significantly accelerate the uptake of nature-based solutions and foster improved inter-sectoral cooperation. ECO believes that greater adoption of these practices in the revised NDCs can help us achieve our goals. Will you join us in supporting solutions that work with nature, not against it, to help achieve a resilient future for all?