A call to action for considering the importance of groundwater in climate change mitigation: UNESCO GRAPHIC
Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water worldwide and plays a critical role in supporting food and energy production. It provides drinking water to at least 50% of the world’s population and represents 43% of all of the water used for irrigation. Many efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions depend on reliable access to sustainable water resources. Groundwater’s unique buffer capacity makes it more resilient than surface water, and is thus critical for mitigating climate change impacts. Strategic management for climate resilient groundwater resources is the foundation for long-term adaptation and mitigation plans, and should therefore be incorporated in future global climate negotiations.
The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) initiated the GRAPHIC (Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change) project in 2014 to better understand the effects of climate change on global groundwater resources. GRAPHIC has provided a platform for exchange of information through case studies, thematic working groups, scientific research, and communication. It serves the global community through providing scientifically based and policy-relevant recommendations, and use regional and global networks to improve the capacity to manage groundwater resources.
Through GRAPHIC, UNESCO – IHP will launch a Position Paper at COP21 that highlights the important role groundwater has in meeting the demands for drinking water, agricultural and industrial activities, and sustaining ecosystems, particularly in the context of adaptation to and mitigation of the impacts of climate change. This paper is a call to action and outlines several key recommendations that are particularly relevant for future international climate negotiations.
The Position Paper will be launched at COP21 (Le Bourget) during two side events that will be held in the Climate Generation Area:
1) 1 December 2015, 15h00-16h30, Room 9
The “Paris Pact on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Basins of Rivers, Lakes and Aquifers” coordinated by the International Network of Basin Organizations.
2) 2 December 2015, 12h55-13h40, UNESCO Pavilion - B3
A workshop on Groundwater and Climate Change that will present:
- The planet’s groundwater resources status, trends and challenges / Prof. Marc Leblanc, University of Avignon,
- Innovative methods to assess groundwater resources such as the application of satellite observations (GRACE mission) / Prof. Laurent Longuevergne, University of Rennes.
The Position Paper is already available at www.graphicnetwork.net