Reflections from SB60 Official Side Event: Building water-wise NDCs and NAPs

Rewatch our offical side event at SB60 for this official side-event!

UN-Water Expert Group on Water and Climate Change (UNECE, WMO, UNESCO)

Stockholm International Water Institute


International Water Management Institute

Sanitation and Water for All

Water Aid


This official side event during the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB60) served as a joint conversation with Parties, and leading institutions on water and climate, looking at recommendations for the next iteration of NDCs and NAPs through the perspective of adaptation and resilience, mitigation and means of implementation. The session built on the new context of the COP28 Decisions to develop NAPs (GGA) and to strengthen the 2030 targets in NDCs (GST), where the development of water-wise climate planning will be crucial to ensure that future implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions are sustainable, resilient, and effective.


Discussants highlighted the session as a timely event. Not only due to the upcoming 2025 rework of NDCs but also as the understanding of adaptation has changed significantly even within the UNFCCC since the last round of submissions. Reflecting on the current NDCs, Thomas Rebermark (SIWI) and Sonja Köppel (UNECE) highlighted the need to shift from sector-specific approaches to a more resilience-oriented approach that considers interconnected systems and future uncertainties. There is reason for optimism after water made a steady headway in entrenching itself in the global climate agenda through the Global Stocktake and the Global Goal on Adaption at COP28. This presents an opportunity for the next iteration of NDCs to better consider water in its entirety, especially in relation to regional and transboundary impacts and the interrelation between water and mitigation measures.


On adaptation and resilience, Jose Gesti (Sanitation and Water for All) explained the process to arrive at the UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience and its current progress. This was followed by Ingrid Timboe (Alliance for Global Water Adaptation) who presented current work on how we can measure effective climate resilience through water resources by highlighting differences between traditional water indicators and resilience indicators. The discussion then transitioned to how these concepts relate to national contexts where Ms. Lina Yassin (Sudan, LDC Group Rep) emphasized the importance of using the UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience to have the next round of NDCs and NAPs better informed by best practices. Noting that the technical work to identify indicators must not be too complicated so that they lose their relevance for countries or act as a further barrier for countries to implement their commitments or track progress. The segment ended with an appeal for input from practitioners from all sectors to guide this process of the UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience and ensure its inclusiveness.


Additionally, Mr. Amit Singh (Pacific NDC Hub) spoke on creating ambition and increased action on water management by bridging the Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework through this lens. Amit also shared his insight on the current integration of water in NDCs in the Pacific region, which differ depending on country, but show progress with updated NDCs. Furthermore, Mr. Mirza Shawkat Ali (Department of Environment, Bangladesh) explained how Bangladesh has recognized the importance of water as a frontline intervention and adaptation solution and has integrated it into national development planning. Mr. Mirza outlined several interventions aimed at enhancing the country’s resilience, including those related to water resources, social safety and security and agriculture, particularly highlighting difficulties in urban areas.


During the mitigation segment, the event included the launch of innovative research on the water requirements of different mitigation measures, mandated by the UN-Water Expert Group on Water and Climate Change (WMO, UNECE and UNCIEF). Nicolas Franke, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) presented the study which demonstrates the importance of water for climate mitigation and how this could be considered in the climate discussions and NDC planning. In reflections, Dr. Spencer Thomas (Climate Ambassador, Grenada) spoke to that NDCs are mitigation centric without recognizing the role of water. But also, that countries should recognize that NDCs and NAPs are two sides of the same coin with co-benefits in implementation of both and that we need to adjust the balance of these.


On means of implementation, Petra Schmitter (IWMI) spoke on improving water-enabling landscapes that requires a multidimensional strategy that includes mobilizing financing, developing technology and capability for adaptation, and forming strong partnerships to scale solutions. Several speakers also pointed to persisting challenges with the review of national adaptation plans and the challenges faced by many developing countries in updating these plans. Ms. Lina Yassin (Sudan, LDC Group Rep) highlighted the lengthy and complicated process of acquiring funding to formulate, and furthermore submitting national adaptation plans, which can lead to outdated priorities and exacerbate losses.


In her closing remarks Kamala Huseynli (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Azerbaijan) stressed the urgency of our joint mission to enhance climate resilience at the upcoming COP29 through the expected outcome on climate finance and the continued progress of the COP28 decisions.


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