Third workshop on water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins: Making adaptation work (Geneva, 25-26 April 2012)


Over 120 participants from all around the world gathered from the 25 to 26 April to attend the third workshop on water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins: Making adaptation work. The workshop was organized by the UNECE Water Convention in partnership with the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-MED), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Meteorological Organization and the European Commission.

Several presentations were made by designated participants on their on-ground projects related to water and climate change adaptation. The presentations ranged from vulnerability assessments in transboundary basins to adaptation measures (from selection to implementation of adaptation measures) and to the economic aspects of climate change adaptation.

A key point raised was the importance of water management at a river basin level – an integrated water resources management approach in order to ensure water and climate change adaptation in transboundary basins. Also, considering the conflicts in the use and services offered by water, the need for the collaboration of all stakeholders in transboundary basin management was outlined. This was supported by the idea of engaging an inter-sectoral approach in treating the issue of water and adaptation to climate change.

Some conclusions and next steps considered during the workshop include:

  • The necessity of having good technical data to be able to work towards a political consensus on water and climate change adaptation issues.
  • The importance of flexible and long term frameworks in management and governance systems.
  • Economic aspects of climate change: during one of the presentations on addressing risks and uncertainty: the Role of Economic Instruments and Financing Mechanisms, water markets, water pricing and ecosystem based management was visualized as a possibility of ensuring cost-effective adaptation measures.
  • Economically moving from the quantity of money to the appropriate type of money

At the end of the workshop some aspects that still needed to be resolved with respect to water and climate change adaptation in transboundary basins were identified. These include the reliability of global circulation models; Integrating cost-benefit analyses and financial mechanisms linked to decision processes; how to effectively communicate climate change adaptability and environmental flows and flow regime centered agreements.

A remarkable conclusive step at the end of this workshop, also important in ensuring wetland sustainability was the fact that henceforth water should not only be considered as a sector but rather as a connector, connecting ecosystems and nations. This is a remarkable perception that will not only help the development of adaptation measures to climate change but also ensure the sustainability of water and its resources through the promotion of integrated management at all levels.

Report by Charlotte Eyong, Assistant Advisor for Africa

For more information on the presentations and participants, please visit the UNECE link at

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