Remarks by SRSG Mizutori: Consultation on Water and Adaptation at COP27 - in Cairo, Egypt

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Remarks by Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

Consultation on Water and Adaptation at COP27 - in Cairo, Egypt

8 May, 2022



Esteemed Representatives from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is said that Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, referred to still water as a symbol of balance. In the right context, water restores balance: looking at a calm sea or bathing or rehydrating. Yet the most devastating impacts of climate change are water-related: drought, floods, mega-storms, sea-level rise and more. In a sense, water is at the heart of climate change. And climate change is a symbol of our world out of balance.  

The collective damage from weather-events related to water has been profound. Over the last fifty years, floods, storms and droughts have caused the greatest loss of life of all climate change impacts and created colossal damage. Floods alone have led to economic losses of US$ 115 billion, while droughts and storms together have taken 1.2 million lives.  

Meanwhile new research, recently released from a Spanish think tank[1] confirms what we previously knew: climate change is accelerating the planet’s water cycle In simple terms this means what is wet will get wetter; and what is dry will get drier, taking us further away from the balance we seek. 

 All the statistics, stories and research remind us why it is vital to restore balance with our planet, nature and specifically, our relationship with water.  Restoring this balance is at the heart of sustainable development and our international agreement including the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and UNDRR’s guiding document: the Sendai Framework.  This profound responsibility belongs to all people and all sectors. I am heartened by the work being done by the Government on Egypt in this regard, including the initiative we are learning about today. 

UNDRR likewise dedicates significant attention to water-related risks and challenges. The Sendai Framework systemically addresses disaster risk and promotes national and local DRR strategies that account for multi-hazard risks, including those related to water. It foresees mainstreaming disaster risk assessments, mapping and management for areas prone to droughts and flooding. And it encourages investing in resilient critical infrastructure, including water infrastructure, so that we are better prepared for what it is to come.

UNDRR also offers a range of specific tools that may interest you.  These include a Words into Action guide for addressing water-related disasters and transboundary cooperation; a Words into Action guide for Nature-based solutions; and the 2021 Global Assessment Special Report on Drought. We are also in the process of developing a Words into Action guide on multi-hazard early warning systems, which are essential for reducing water-related disaster risks. I encourage you to explore these valuable publications.

As we seek to bring our planet back in balance, let us seize on upcoming opportunities as well. UNDRR is currently in the process of the mid-term review of the Sendai Framework, as well as preparing for our next milestone event, the Global Platform for DRR, to be held in Bali, Indonesia later this month. Next year, the 2023 UN Water Conference, will be another valuable entry point to address water-related risk. For example, we envision that all interactive dialogues at the Water Conference could address the systemic nature of water-related risks. This would be especially prudent considering the profound transformation of the risk landscape, which of course includes, the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing more about today’s initiative and how Egypt is approaching the issue of water adaptation.



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