Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

FANMex participates in the Dialogue on Water and Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean

Adaptation to climate change is one of the major challenges facing humanity, risking the sustainability of our civilization and our planet's delicate environmental balance.The process of adaptation to the effects of climate change is particularly important in the water sector, since water is the primary means through which it will impact populations and the environment, either by the lack or the excess of water. That is why there is an overriding need to understand the potential impacts of climate change on water resources management in order to devise strategies to adapt while reducing vulnerability to the impacts of current climate variability, and take action effective prevention and response to these impacts.

Recently, global studies and reports [1] as well as groups and coalitions such as the Water and Climate Coalition [2] (WCC) have stressed the importance of adaptation to climate change in the water sector and how to achieve that purpose in developing countries. This is why it is important to stress that different institutions and organizations have made to generate a cross-sectoral dialogue among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and to reach a series of recommendations on the issue of water and climate change adaptation in this region.

The initial gap to decline in this process is the link between scientific knowledge and processes and decision-making institutions in the water sector, but also the generation gap between knowledge and reality of communities. That is why the inclusion and collaboration of civil society as a whole is indispensable.

The Latin American and Caribbean dialogue on water policy for climate change adaptation is a coordinated effort among several institutions and organizations in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, following a workshop in Mexico City on 8 and 9 June which reflected on climate change adaptation in the water sector and produced recommendations. These results were presented at the XI Conference of the Ibero-American Water Directors (CODI) held in Mexico City from 3 to 5 August, and the World Water Week held in Stockholm, Sweden, 5 to 11 September 2010, and continues today by incorporating the most relevant aspects of the debate by all stakeholders in the water sector in the region of Latin America.

The Freshwater Action Network Mexico (FANMex) participated in the initial workshop and the review of the final document. The conclusions of this dialogue will be presented at COP 16 in Mexico, to raise the importance and urgency of water issues and climate change adaptation and particularly in our region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The document "Dialogue in Latin America and the Caribbean on Climate and Water" gives a set of 'key messages' on some items that have been highlighted during this process. The paper also seeks to be a synthetic compilation of some of the most important aspects on the subject, emphasized during the discussion process, and now they are drafted so as to be communicated effectively to different audiences, trying to detonate a neat reflection on to address priorities on climate change adaptation in the water sector and at the same time, begin to bridge inter-sectoral and with very different social actors involved. Following are the main ideas.

1 - It is important to recognize the imminence and importance of climate change on the water sector in the LAC region.

2 - Adapting to climate change must be incorporated as a key strategic element in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

3 - The 'environmental dimension' needs to be incorporated within the processes of water resource management in the region, so that we can reduce the ecological fragility and better adapt to climate change.

4 - It is important to explicitly include considerations of fairness and attention to poverty in the policy framework for adaptation to climate change in the water sector.

5 - Information systems climate and water in the region should be strengthened to help make timely and collectively, preventive measures and climate change adaptation.

6 - Institutional capacities should be strengthened in the region to adapt to climate change on water.

7 - Water infrastructure must be developed and adapted to meet the new requirements imposed by climate change and available funding.

8 - The process of adaptation to climate change in the water sector offers major challenges of social organization, so it is important to make sustained efforts to establish effective mechanisms for coordination, collaboration and participation.

9 - It must deepen in the generation of knowledge and training on adaptation to climate change on water.

Download the full report of regional dialogue:

[1]          UN WATER. Climate Change Adaptation: The Pivotal Role of Water. Ginebra, Suiza. 2010.

[2]          Water and Climate Coalition. Water and Climate Change Towards COP-16. Reviewed version in Tianjin China. 2010.