Egypt launches AWARe initiative to link water to climate adaptation actions

Habiba Hamdy , Monday 14 Nov 2022

Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hani Sewilam announced the launch of the Action on Water, Adaptation, and Resilience (AWARe) international initiative.

Hani Sewilam speaks during a session on Gender and Water Day within COP27 (Photo; Ahram)

The announcement was made during the thematic day of Gender and Water Day of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 currently taking place in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh. 

The initiative – the latest in a series of Egyptian initiatives introduced during COP27 – offers transitional adaptation solutions for the planet and people, starting with the world’s most vulnerable communities and ecosystems in Africa.

Climate change negatively impacts water security in Africa since more than half of the continent's territories are experiencing drought, coupled with a rise in  temperatures by 0.9 degrees Celsius in the last three decades, Sewilam said while reviewing AWARe.

Temperatures are expected to continue to rise in the coming decades as well, he confirmed, adding that these changes negatively affect Africa’s water security and, accordingly, its food security. The minister added that the sea level continues to rise annually, a matter that threatens many African coastal regions.

Amid these challenges, the minister said, it is time to implement climate adaptation projects, honour global climate pledges, and double international interest in water issues.

The initiative was prepared in partnership with several international parties, including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and depends on the outcomes of various international meetings held over the past months under the patronage of global coalitions, including the Water and Climate Coalition, the Adaptation Action Coalition and the Marrakesh Partnership Climate Action Pathway Water, according to a statement issued by the irrigation ministry.

The initiative is aimed at decreasing water waste worldwide and improving water supply, and supporting the implementation of the mutually agreed upon policies and methods for cooperative water-related adaptation action and its co-benefits.

It also seeks to promote cooperation and interlinkages between water and climate action in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 (SDGs), especially water-related goal SDG6.

The project will be implemented through six different tracks. The first track involves promoting economic growth through measures away from freshwater use and degradation. 

The second track will be accounting for green water -- rainwater that infiltrates agricultural soil and is used by plants for growth in rain-fed agriculture -- for the development of national use plans, adaptation and mitigation strategies, and contribute to the protection and restoration of freshwater and ecosystems.

The third is cooperative analysis of river basin scale adaptation and mitigation options and the risk of maladaptation.

The fourth workstream focuses on supporting the co-benefits of adaptation action in the field of mitigation, including promotion of sustainable low-emission and low-cost drinking water and waste-water management, sanitation policies and strategies, and water-wise energy pathways.

The fifth track focused on the importance of establishing improved early warning systems for extreme events and prolonged droughts.

The sixth and final track targets linking water resources policies with national climate action to reflect climate change long-term impacts on water resources and demand, and to support preparedness and adaptation measures.

The initiative is set to come into force within months, with its projects to be determined and its organisational structure to be formed by January 2023, Sewilam said.

The initiative's action plan is set to be drawn up by March 2023 and announced officially at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference slated for March of next year, he added.


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