State of Climate Services 2021: Water – World



In 2018, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) invited the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO) through its Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to regularly report on the status of climate services in order to “facilitate the development and application of adaptation needs assessment methodologies”.

Water is a top priority for adaptation.

In 2018, 2.3 billion people lived in countries experiencing water stress1,2 and 3.6 billion people faced insufficient access to water at least one month per year. By 2050, these should exceed five billion3. At a constant population, an additional 8% of the world’s population in the 2000s will be exposed to a new or worsened water scarcity4 associated with global warming of 2 ° C. 5 Concomitant population growth would further increase this number.

Stressors of human and natural origin are adding increasing pressure on water resources, an essential prerequisite for human development. Over the past 20 years, the storage of terrestrial water – the sum of all water on the surface of the ground and in the subsoil, including soil moisture, snow and ice – has been lost. at the rate of 1 cm per year. The situation is made worse by the fact that only 0.5% of the water on Earth is usable and available fresh water.

Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is vital for achieving long-term social, economic and environmental well-being. But, although most countries have advanced their level of IWRM implementation, 107 countries remain on track to achieve the objective of sustainable management of their water resources by 2030,6 as stated. in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). In 2020, 3.6 billion people lacked safely managed sanitation services and 2.3 billion basic hygiene services. Current rates of progress must quadruple to achieve the global goal of universal access by 2030.7,8 At the same time, water-related risks have increased in frequency over the past 20 years. Since 2000, flood-related disasters have increased by 134% compared to the previous two decades.9 Most flood-related deaths and economic losses have been recorded in Asia, where end-to-end warning systems for River floods need to be stepped up in many countries. The number and duration of droughts also increased by 29%. Most of the drought-related deaths have occurred in Africa, indicating the need to continue strengthening end-to-end drought warning systems.

The good news is that nations are determined to improve the situation. According to the UNFCCC, water is an adaptation priority in 79% of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement10. the majority of sectors.

** The inventory *

To reduce the negative impacts associated with water-related disasters and support water resource management decisions and improved outcomes, end-to-end climate services and early warning systems, as well as sustainable investments , are necessary but not yet adequate. In the NDCs (submitted in August 2021), Parties underscored the need to strengthen the climate services value chain in all its components – including observing systems, data and data management, better forecasting, strengthening of meteorological services, climate scenarios, climate projections and information systems.

Among the Parties that mention water as a top priority in their updated NDCs, the majority highlight actions related to capacity building (57%), forecasting (45%), observation networks ( 30%) and data collection (28%). However, 60% of the National Hydrological Services (SNH) – the national public agencies mandated to provide basic hydrological information and warning services to the government, the public and the private sector – do not have all the necessary capacities to provide climate services for water.

The WMO assessment in this report found, for the WMO Member countries (101) for which data is available, that:

• Interaction between climate service providers and information users is inadequate in 43% of WMO Members;

• Data are not collected for basic hydrological variables in about 40% of WMO Members;

• Hydrological data is not available in 67% of WMO Members;

• End-to-end river flood forecasting and warning systems are absent or inadequate in 34% of WMO Members that provided data – with only 44% of existing Member systems reaching more than two-thirds of the population at risk;

• End-to-end drought forecasting and warning systems are non-existent or inadequate in 54% of WMO Members that provided data – with only 27% of existing Member systems reaching more than two-thirds of the total. population at risk.
Achieving adaptation goals in developing country NDCs will require significant additional financial commitments. However, several constraints limit the ability of countries to access finance, including weak development and project implementation capacities, and difficulties in absorbing resources within the public financial systems of low-income countries. Despite a 9% increase in financial pledges made to tackle SDG 6, official development assistance (ODA) commitments remained stable at $ 8.8 billion, despite increased financing needs to meet SDG 6 targets – between 2015 and 2019.

Recommendations Based on its findings, the report makes six strategic recommendations to improve the implementation and effectiveness of climate water services around the world:

  1. Invest in integrated water resources management as a solution to better manage water stress, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs);

  2. Invest in end-to-end drought and flood early warning systems in LDCs at risk, including drought warning in Africa and flood warning in Asia;

  3. Address the capacity gap in data collection for basic hydrological variables that underpin climate services and early warning systems;

  4. Improve the interaction between stakeholders at the national level to co-develop and operationalize climate services with information users to better support adaptation in the water sector. There is also an urgent need to improve the monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic benefits, which will help showcase best practices;

  5. Filling data gaps on country capacities for climate services in the water sector, especially for SIDS;

  6. Join the Water and Climate Coalition11 to promote policy development for integrated water and climate assessments, solutions and services, and benefit from a network of partners who develop and implement concrete and practical projects, programs and systems to improve hydroclimatic services for resilience and adaptation.

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