Water is life - and climate change is robbing us of it

8/20/2009

Washington, DC – A powerful statement was today sent to the UN, that climate change negotiations must recognize the importance of protecting freshwater ecosystems, for the benefit of millions of people – a position that Conservation International strongly supports.

The Stockholm Statement was agreed unanimously by the participants at the World Water Week conference. It outlined the need for international climate negotiators – who are currently preparing for the UNFCCC meeting at Copenhagen in December – to include recognition of the importance of freshwater systems in any new climate change agreement, and to ensure that mechanisms and investment to protect these systems are established.

The statement, presented by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), says: "Water is a key medium through which climate change impacts will be felt.  Managing the resource effectively ... is central to successful adaptation planning and implementation, and to building the resilience of communities, countries and regions.”

It adds: “Ecosystem protection and sustainability is fundamental to adaptation and human development. We therefore urge increased efforts towards and investment in the protection and restoration of natural resources – including water – as an essential part of any adaptation process.”

The statement also makes it clear that integrating land, water and forest management is the key to successful climate change adaptation, and that without solid action the world will be undermining the ability of the poorest people to adapt to the changes and challenges ahead.

Tracy Farrell, senior director of Conservation International’s freshwater program said: “Without clean fresh water people cannot live. Global climate change adaptation efforts must urgently address freshwater impacts and ensure the conservation of natural ecosystems that provide us with the water we need to survive.”

“What we do on the land, impacts the amount and quality of water we have available – with the consequences of continued loss of our global biodiversity and ecosystems pushing us toward a tipping point of ecosystem collapse. This collapse will worsen poverty cycles and impact most on the poorest of the poor, and Conservation International strongly supports the Stockholm Statement.”

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LEARN MORE: World Water Week Conference 2009

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