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“Fostering Nexus approaches to increase climate resilience”: Discussion Outcomes of UNFCCC COP 28 Official Side Event

Japan Water Forum organized the UNFCCC COP 28 (Dubai, UAE) official side event entitled “Fostering Nexus approaches to increase climate resilience” on 11th December 2023 with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the Secretariat of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

The Global Goal on Adaptation recognizes interdependencies between water, ecosystems, food, and energy systems. However, the stock-taking exercise during the Bon Climate Change Meeting of UNFCCC in Bonn in June 2023 showed the missing role of water in climate ambitions and the lack of policy coherence. An integrated policy that addresses the interconnections between Water, Energy, Food, and Ecosystem (WEFE) is crucial to enhancing climate resilience.

We therefore organized this session to foster political leadership that promotes cross-sectoral synergies and multi-level governance. Sharing the showcases about implementing Nexus approaches by both practitioners and policymakers, we discussed the approaches that enable improved climate adaptation and mitigation as well as science-based policy development, overarchingly improving policy coherence. Acknowledging the distinctions between different tiers, encompassing both developing and developed nations, we engaged in collaborative discussions to identify the requisite initiatives tailored to the specific circumstances of each region.

This side event unfolded with a three-part structure to facilitate discussions. Ms. Karin Gardes, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Executive Director of SIWI, facilitated the discussion.

The first part is the keynote, which sets the scene for the panel from various angles.

I presented Japan’s initiatives under the Climate Change Adaptation Law and the River Basin Disaster Resilience and Sustainability by All, highlighting strategies to enhance and expedite the implementation of risk-management water resource policies among various stakeholders. I then offered policy proposals about the necessary actions, including fostering facilitators with scientific and indigenous expertise, which is imperative to foster science-based policy formulation, strengthen the nexus approach, and ensure policy coherence to enhance climate resilience.

Dr. Ariane Hildebrand, Director General for ‘Global Health, equality of Opportunity, Digital Technologies, and Food Security in the BMZ, presented the background from Bonn to now and the BMZ’s activities regarding policy angle. Dr. Hildebrandt underscored the imperative of bridging the divide between technical and political viewpoints, advocating for a transition “from nexus thinking to nexus action.” He emphasized fortifying political resolve and refining institutional design as indispensable steps toward advancing a nexus approach.

Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, presented “Practices Incorporating Wetlands and Community Programs,” highlighting the importance of wetlands in addressing climate change and calling for cooperation at the governance level.

In the second part, the following government officials presented their countries’ activities and joined the panel discussion about “Translating Practice into Policy”,

・Ms. Shri Shailesh Kumar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India
・Mr. Matsalo Migwl, Deputy Project Coordinator for Sebapala Integrated Watershed Management Project, Lesotho
・Mr. Alexander Jokisch, Jordan Government, Communicating Water Issues to Nexus Stakeholders – The case of groundwater over-abstraction in Jordan

The speakers highlighted the significance of community engagement, alongside inter-sectoral coordination in institutional design, as pivotal for promoting the nexus approach. They further conveyed that leveraging communication tools to enhance cooperation and foster understanding among diverse sectors will amplify inter-sectoral collaboration.

For the third segment of the panel discussion, titled “Policy into Practice,” we invited Dr. Pamela McElwee from Rutgers University, who also serves as the co-chair of the IPBES Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, in addition to the above speakers and conducted the following discussions, including the questions from the audience.

1. How can we effectively transition from policy to practical implementation?
2. What strategies can be employed to reach consensus among diverse value systems?
3. In what ways can gender perspectives be seamlessly integrated into policies and measures?
4. How should cross-cultural issues be addressed in our approach?
5. Lastly, how do we transcend the policy nexus within individual countries and extend our focus to address geographical nexuses spanning multiple countries?

Participants engaged in discussions and presented initiatives that harnessed science and technology in their respective countries. They underscored the imperative of transitioning from nexus thinking to nexus action. Furthermore, the following key points were highlighted:

・Incorporating various evaluation methods, such as multi-criteria evaluation and backcasting analysis, with a nexus perspective in policy formulation fosters good governance and facilitates science-based and coherent policy-making. This approach aids in identifying synergies and trade-offs among sectors, ultimately promoting the development of policies that benefit from intersectoral cooperation and contribute to maximizing the benefits of such collaboration.
・While the nexus proves to be a solution for enhancing resilience to climate change, implementing nexus governance in the context of climate change impacts encounters several challenges. Successful policy execution necessitates acknowledging multiple levels of governance, understanding their interconnections, and establishing effective mechanisms for bridging responsibilities.

Session recording

(Reporter: Yumiko Asayama, Chief Manager)

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