Why we should frame water as a climate connector this World Water Day
In most policy discussions, “water” has a very narrow definition in colloquial language. However, a broader, pragmatic, and positive set of talking points about water can serve as a powerful diplomatic tool for communicating coherence and resilience across sectors. In the words of a former US State Department official:
“I am not interested in water for engineering or pipes and pumps. Water is more than [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6]’s emphasis on rural sanitation and healthcare. I am interested in water because it allows me to talk about international diplomacy, economic development, and environmental issues.”
Climate change further highlights the scope of water issues: our best pathways for effective climate mitigation, reducing negative climate impacts, and building climate resilience also come through the lens of water. Here, there are three ways that water is typically discussed in the context of climate change, particularly in relation to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and climate finance. Weaving together three narratives of water – as a hazard, a sector, and a climate connector – provides a useful framework for engagement and partnership.