SI President, Mariet Verhoef-Cohen visited the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which took place 6-17 November in Bonn. Mariet spoke at three events, including reporting on the progress of The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture, (WASAG) on Water Action Day 10 November. Kathy Kaaf, Past President of Soroptimist International of Europe, 2011-2013 also attended.
Written by Kathy Kaaf
“What a positive change and development regarding the importance of water. At the climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, it was denied that water was even a subject of climate change, and those fighting for this essential element were not even admitted to the conference. This year, at COP23 in Bonn, a full day, Friday 10 November, was dedicated to water.
Soroptimist International President and Vice-Chair of WASAG, Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, can be proud to be a major actor in achieving this breakthrough.
‘Climate is water’, was the message, further explained as: ‘Water connects all sectors of climate – from energy and forests to agriculture and tourism’.
In November 2016, during COP22 in Marrakech, another important framework for action was launched: WASAG, the Water Scarcity in Agriculture Platform. “Women are disproportionately affected by climate change; however, they form the basis of sustainable behavioural change in climate adaption and mitigation”, said Mariet, addressing her colleagues, amongst them Representatives of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
During COP23, all partners in the energy, water and agriculture sector underlined the interconnection between climate and water and the required integrated solutions. What is urgently needed is the interlinkage between governments, the private sector, communities, academia and all other stakeholders, to exchange data to achieve an overview of best practice methods, appropriate to be imitated all over the world.
A very important point Mariet insisted upon is financing. “There have to be major investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and services, amongst others, to support low-carbon energy” explained Mariet. “Every dollar invested in water and sanitation saves four dollars from being spent on public health and furthers cost effectiveness and therefore supports financial commitments to create resilient societies and secure ecosystems”. It was a challenge and a pleasure to work together with Mariet on her immense engagement in the context of COP23 in Bonn”.