GRoW at COP24

21.12.2018

The UNFCCC 24th Conference of the Parties and 14th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol was held in Katowice, Poland, from 2nd to 4th December. Besides discussions of emissions trading, climate security, climate change financing and local climate protection, there was also an emphasis on water-related topics as being integral to achieving most other SDGs and the ambitious climate change targets.

GRoW was presented at the Conference of the Parties (COP) as part of input from Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA). Romy Durst introduced the broad portfolio of activities occuring within the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and focused on the FONA3 framework prgramme. She highlighted GRoW’s special focus on connecting global information about water resources and water demand with regional and local solutions.

In addition, the GRoW project SaWaM (Seasonal Water Management for Semiarid Areas) was present at a side-event on “climate-proofing strategies”, during which Dr Lorenz and Professor Kunstmann from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology provided an overview of ongoing research and first research results within their project.

Several other events highlighted the important role of water in achieving climate change targets. UN-Water, for instance, organized an event entitled “The role of water in achieving climate neutrality“ that it addressed the integration of SDG6 (water) and SDG13 (climate change). The side event highlighted the important role of water, the potential for synergies and trade-offs, and the political progress achieved so far.

After reaching a lat-minute deal on a 156-page rulebook, COP24 now provides a roadmap for further implementation of the Paris Agreement. However, since collaboration at the national levels is under threat as a result of current political developments in a number of leading countries (including the USA, Germany and France), commitment at sub-national levels (local governments, cities, states, businesses and NGOs) continues to gain importance for achieving carbon emission goals. Various cities and organisations have already committed  to the Paris Agreement. The same can be expected with water-related issues, as this COP highlighted the close links between these two topics.