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COP21: 324 organizations worldwide have signed the Paris Pact on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change in the basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers

Published March 2015

As part of the “Lima-Paris Action Agenda”, Peru, supported by France, organized on the 2nd of December 2015, the official day on "Water and Climate Change Adaptation" of the COP21 in Paris, under the joint chairmanship of Mrs. Ségolène Royal, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Head of the French Delegation to the COP21, and Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peruvian Minister for the Environment, organizer of the COP20 - 2014 in Lima: so, for the first time in the COP history, the issues of freshwater are officially taken into account.
 
"The Paris Pact on water and adaptation to climate change in the basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers" was presented at the day opening.
 
"The Paris Pact is the first concrete commitment of the COP 21: We call all water stakeholders to join it. (...). This pact will give a boost and can be considered as an innovative instrument", Mrs. Ségolène Royal said when she formally signed the document alongside the Peruvian Minister for the Environment and Mrs. Charafat Afailal, Minister in charge of water in Morocco, the country that will be the organizer of the COP22 in 2016.
 
Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic, also declared at the official closing session of the Action Day, this last Saturday, 5th December: “It was important that initiatives be launched here in Paris (...) there is the Paris Pact for water which gathers 322 organizations and 87 Countries (…)”.
 
Drafted by the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) on the request of the organizers, the "Paris Pact" aims at a global mobilization of the basin organizations and all other stakeholders involved, multilateral and international organizations, governmental administrations, local authorities, companies and all economic sectors, the civil society, for starting without any delay the actions needed to adapt freshwater management to the effects of climate change: all organizations involved in integrated river basin management were invited to sign this "Pact".
 
Thus to date, 324 organizations have already signed the "Paris Pact" in 87 countries, which shows that everywhere it greatly mobilized all stakeholders in water resources management, because we have to act quickly before it is too late!
 
Mrs. Royal has encouraged all water stakeholders to sign the Pact and "thus to add their tributary flows to swell the mainstream".
 
Mr. Jean-François DONZIER, INBO Secretary General, presented the Pact during the official day on” Water and adaptation to climatic change” and reminded that climate change is already affecting and will increasingly affect the quantity and quality of freshwater and aquatic ecosystems, especially through the intensity and greater frequency of extreme hydrological events, such as floods and droughts. In these perspectives, the basins are natural areas where water flows on the surface and in the subsoil: appropriate water resources management and adaptation should be organized at that level.
 
The “Paris Pact” includes two components: part one is describing the context and providing general principles for adaptation to climate change in basins, and part two is listing the commitments to be made by the signatories to organize adaptation to climate change and take appropriate measures.
 
The action of basin organizations and all other stakeholders involved is essential to increase the resilience of our societies to the risks facing water resources in the context of climate change.
 
The round table, organized during this "Water and Adaptation" Day and facilitated by INBO, allowed presenting real examples of adaptation projects in different basins in China (Hai River Basin), India (aquifer management), Mexico (Mexico Valley), South America (Ecocuencas project), the Senegal River (OMVS), the Niger River (NBA), the Congo River and its tributaries (CICOS) and Morocco (ABH) and the platform of pilot basins to test adaptation measures, led by UNECE and INBO: These projects show that we can act quickly if the stakeholders are getting mobilized!