Water Security and Climate Change

19th July 2021
Author: Rachel Cooper, Roz Price

Attention is coalescing around water and climate change, and the agendas for water security and climate action are converging. There is growing appreciation of water as a crosscutting mechanism for improving the effectiveness of global and national climate change policies (Smith et al., 2019). Water has long been recognised as a central component of climate change impacts as well as being an important consideration in mitigation and effective adaptation – where it can be both an enabling factor and a limiting factor (UN-Water, 2019). However, the connections go beyond just recognising the importance of water for climate change or simply making the “water sector” climate resilient; there is a need for system-wide coherence on water across different national and international agendas and transformational change of water management (UNESCO, UN-Water, 2020). The water crisis and the climate crisis require urgent action, and call for sustained and integrated support, leveraging complementary resources, with enhanced coordination in the context of growing uncertainties. As countries review and implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as part of the Paris Agreement, there is a unique opportunity to improve and enhance water management practices to increase climate resilience, improve ecosystems and reduce the risk of water-related disasters (UN-Water, 2019).

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Suggested Citation

Cooper, R. & Price, R.A. (2021). Water Security and Climate Change. K4D Helpdesk Report 758. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.116


19th July 2021


Continent: Global