Water at COP26: presenting Asia-Pacific perspectives

By Bronwyn Powell

All eyes are turned to the United Nations climate change conference (COP26), with preparations and lobbying reaching their zenith. The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report has led the UN to declare "code red" for humanity.

Here in Australia, our own devastating bushfires of 2019–2020 caught international attention, putting us firmly front-and-center in illustrating the extremity of events we now face.

As efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions take on a renewed urgency, so too does the need to adapt and build resilience to climate changes that are now regrettably locked into unstoppable global warming effects.

One such unstoppable trend is the climate-related intensification of the hydrological cycle, meaning peoples’ livelihoods and wellbeing are more frequently and severely impacted by too much or too little water. There are complex and tangible risks facing not only water for human consumption and production, but also for biodiversity and ecosystems.