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    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son las del autor y no necesariamente reflejan las opiniones del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, sus directivas, la Asamblea de Gobernadores o sus países miembros.

    World Water Week 2011: how we are adapting to climate change

    By - Sep 7 2011

    Stockholm: the city on the water. A group of small islands stitched together as the capital city of Sweden. A place that has become an example for reversing the large pollution in its waters and that is now surrounded by pristine fresh and salt water. Just the ideal location to hold “World Water Week” every year since 1991.

    I visited Stockholm for the first time last year, when the IDB co-hosted the “Latin America and Caribbean Day”, jointly with CONAGUA and Fundación FEMSA of Mexico, UN-Habitat, and other organizations in the region. This time, we hosted the LAC Day for a second time, with a larger number of co-sponsors (so the event is catching on :-)) and perhaps more people in attendance than the first time.

    My role this year, same as last year, was to moderate the “Americas’ Regional Panel on Water and Climate Change”, an event that brought together policy makers, scientists, government actors and many other organizations around sharing experiences in adapting to climate change across the region, from accelerated glacial melting in the Andes, to sea level rise in the Caribbean, to droughts on the Atlantic coast of Honduras to flash floods in Mexico.

    In the panel we held in Stockholm last year, the discussion was focused on raising the awareness of adaptation in the climate change. This is something that carried out to the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) at Cancún a few months later, and that was the subject of my first blog post.  It was good to see this year that the level of awareness of adaptation was already high. The audience was alert and energized, a testament to the importance that adaptation is gaining in the climate change discourse.

    As moderator, I took the liberty to be provocative in pointing out that climate change is not (really) a political problem. I also made the plea to the audience that we have lost a decade debating who’s guilty for climate change, a question of little relevance in my mind, instead of investing that effort in finding ways to adapt to the climate change we have been experiencing for many decades now.

    And I was glad to hear many in the audience retorting back (and correctly!) that as much as that can indeed be the case, adaptation to climate change is very much in need of, and driven by, appropriate public policies. So, I tell you now that adaptation to climate change is not an environmental problem; it is a vital development problem, and a key to attack major issues of security and poverty alleviation in our countries.

    So, last year we talked about adaptation being important. This year, we shared some initial experiences. What should we focus on next year?

    You can find the agenda of the meeting in Stockholm here. And, click here for the version of this post in Spanish.

    2 Responses to “World Water Week 2011: how we are adapting to climate change”

    • [...] 8, 2011 by Jacob Van Etten in News The blog of the Inter-American Development Bank has an interesting post about adaptation to climate change. It states that “adaptation to climate change is not an [...]

    • Good question Fernando. What should we focus on next year? I would propose that we could focus on how we are working to build the capacity to adapt to climate change of water professionals in LAC. My suggestion stems from our experience incorporating capacity building at the core of our projects. Working with universities in Colombia (Universidad del Valle, Universidad Nacional – Sede Palmira, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Universidad del Quindío), in Peru (Universidad Nacional Santiago Antunez de Mayolo – Huaraz), and in Bolivia (Universidad Mayor de San Andrés) we are collaborating with a group of students and young professionals producing analytical tools to support practical research on climate change adaptation. The participation of these young colleagues could help the water community assembled at SWWW understand the challenges and learn about efforts to incorporate climate adaptation within development processes in the Andean region. The students and young professionals would in turn benefit from this opportunity to interact with global thinkers on these issues. Perhaps we should explore how to support the participation of these colleagues and other young professionals working on climate change adaptation in the region.

    Comment on the post

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