Water and climate at COP23: The Water Action Day

16 November 2017

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) is being held in the city of Bonn (Germany) from the 6th to the 17th of November. Partners of AfriAlliance have participated in COP23 and have contributed to the organization of its water and climate related events.

As part of the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA; successor of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda – LPAA), a programme of concrete climate initiatives led by non-state actors, and in recognition of its role as secretariat of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC), the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) was appointed back in August by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as co-organiser of the ‘Water Action Day’, in partnership with the WWC, IUCN, the French Water Partnership and SIWI/AGWA. This day took place on Friday 10 November. 

The programme of the ‘Water Action Day’ was structured as follow: 

  • One high-level opening plenary session, which was an opportunity to present the actions carried out since COP22 and the new commitments made during COP23 by the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC: the Alliance of Basins for Climate, the Business Alliance for Water And Climate Change – BAFWAC, the Alliance of Megacities for Water and Climate, the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance)
  • One high level ‘Water Dialogue’ on improving water and climate financing, which focused on the questions of access to climate finance by non-state actors, and how to bridge the gap between project holders and donors through innovative tools such as the Incubation Platform of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWCIP)
  • Three Breakout Sessions:
    • Breakout Session 1. Water knowledge to respond to climate uncertainty
    • Breakout Session 2. Water for urban resilience
    • Breakout Session 3. Water for sustainable agriculture and food security
  • One closing plenary session.


This thematic structure aimed to address issues that are considered a priority at global level. It mirrors some of the issues identified as a priority as well in Africa by the AfriAlliance project (in particular ‘knowledge’ and ‘food security’, as illustrated in the focus of the first set of AfriAlliance Action Groups and in the first set of Social Innovation Factsheets, to be published soon on the website). AfriAlliance partners INBO, GWP and ICLEI attended the event.

At the end of the ‘Water Action Day’, recommendations were produced in the form of an Outcome Document submitted to the Moroccan and Fijian high level climate champions for consideration by Parties to the UNFCCC. The recommendations included:

  • Strengthening collaboration across sectors (in particular the sectors of food and water) for climate adaptation and sustainable use of water resources,
  • Creating and strengthening of regional, transboundary, national and basin Water Information Systems to forecast the effect of climate change on water resources and extreme weather events and design strategic planning that includes adaptation component,
  • Facilitate the preparation of water adaptation projects of high quality fulfilling donors’ technical and financial requirements, with a greater consideration of non-infrastructural projects (institutional and technical capacity building) in both transboundary and national basins, through innovative tools such as the Incubation Platform of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWCIP).


As one of the main take-away points of the ‘Water Action Day’, the Ministry of Environment of Italy explained it will use the 5 million euros it pledged following the International Summit of Rome on Water and Climate to finance both a second phase of the Incubation Platform and the implementation of three projects incubated in 2017: one project of Water Information Systems at the level of the transboundary basin of the Senegal river to monitor climate change impacts on the Diama dam (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal), one project of adaptation strategy for the transboundary Sava river basin (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia), one project of hydro-meteorological monitoring at the level of the transboundary basin of the Congo river.

Finally, the Declaration on Nature Based Solutions was launched by the French Water Partnership (FWP) and the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC) as a major contribution to the Global Climate Action Agenda – GCAA. It will promote the implementation of nature-based solutions as efficient no-regret adaptation measures that deliver multiple benefits.