Water issues key to climate change conference, experts say

Water experts from around the world have called for water issues to be included in the international climate talks to take place in Copenhagen in December.

Water is a key issue in today’s world: and one that is going to be affected by changes in climate conditions very hard. Experts gathered in Stockholm last week for the annual World Water Week conference – run by the Stockholm International Water Institute – , issued a closing statement on Friday urging the global water and climate communities to look beyond the COP-16 Climate Conference in Copenhagen, next December, and work together to strengthen collective action on water and adaptation.

In these experts’ view, adapting means, but it is not limited to, better sharing of knowledge and technology to support adaptation in developing countries, where water, climate change and poverty reduction are all linked.

Many of these themes can be found in the WBCSD report Water, Energy and Climate Change: A contribution from the business community, which was released in Istanbul at the 5th World Water Forum in March. This examines the link between water, energy and climate change and calls for all three to be linked in global negotiations.

The WBCSD was the leading business organization at the Stockholm conference. Its President, Björn Stigson, told the closing plenary on Friday that tomorrow’s companies would be the providers of solutions to the world’s major challenges.

Three of the key challenges ahead – poverty alleviation, the shift to a low-carbon economy, and resource efficiency – all had water as a significant component, he said.

“Water is everybody’s business,” he said. “Business needs water because it is a part of every product, because water is used in its manufacturing processes, because consumers need water to use companies’ products, and because the supply chain requires water.

“Water is rising to the top of the corporate agenda,” he said. This could be seen in the stronger business presence at this year’s Water Week.

The WBCSD, which has had a Water Project since 1998 made up of more than 60 companies from a range of sectors, launched its latest report at World Water Week. The aims of the report, Water for Business: Initiatives guiding sustainable water management in the private sector, were to provide an overview of what business was already doing to manage water sustainably and to focus on the guidelines, tools and measurement methodologies being used.

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