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Water & Climate Coalition leaders call for action to 'protect our people' - Energy And Water Development Corp

Water & Climate Coalition leaders call for action to ‘protect our people’

Water and Climate Coalition leaders have issued a call for more urgent and united action “to protect our people and future generations” in the face of alarming new scientific evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of growing global threats to water availability and from water-related hazards.

Roughly half of the world’s population currently experiences severe water scarcity for at least some part of the year and this is expected to worsen as climate change alters precipitation patterns with consequences for the entire water cycle.

The impacts of hydrological changes from the retreat of glaciers and permafrost thaw are approaching the point of no-return.

“Only 0.5 per cent of water on Earth is useable and available as freshwater. But in the past 20 years, terrestrial water storage — all water on the land surface and in the subsurface, including soil moisture, snow and ice — has dropped at a rate higher than total human water consumption per year. This has huge ramifications for future water security, given population increase and environmental degradation,” the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a release.

“We lead the way in rethinking how our societies and economies best resist climate change. Improving how we use water is a pathway to develop food security, protect health and livelihoods, promote the just transition to clean energy, build water and climate-smart cities, protect the environment, build resilient economies, help the world achieve the SDGs, and meet global climate commitments,” said the Water and Climate Coalition leaders in a ‘Call for Action’.

Recognizing that “we cannot manage what we don’t measure”, the leaders also pledged to set up a Global Water Information System to fill the gaps in reliable data and actionable information.

“We need data to understand how climate change is affecting our water systems; to understand where, how much, and in what quality water is and will be available. We need the information to know where and how our actions can best support our access to the precious resource and protect us from water hazards and disasters. Data is also key for smart decision-making,” said the Call for Action.

“Yet there are major gaps; data is scattered, inconsistent and incomplete,” it added.

The leaders include top representatives of countries which are vulnerable to glacier melt, flooding and drought, as well as United Nations and development agencies, business, civil society and youth groups.

The panel is tasked with providing strategic guidance on integrating the water and climate agendas and accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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