Organized by the Moroccan Delegate Ministry in Charge of Water, the French Ministry of the Environment and the World Water Council, the two-day conference will gather over 300 participants and prominent government, multilateral, technical and business leaders, including 12 African Ministers, around the issue of water security and climate justice in the context of climate change. As a COP22 labeled event, the conference seeks to position the subject of water at the center of the upcoming discussions and negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech this November. Over the course of the next two days the conference aims to dig deeper into important questions such as:
- The Vulnerability of Water in the context of Climate Change
- Water’s Place in the Implementation of the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals
- The Water-Energy-Food Security-Health-Education Alliance
- Water’s Place in Climate Change Finance Mechanisms
- Water Dams and Climate Change
- African Ministerial Roundtable- Water in Africa: towards climate justice
The opening ceremony of the two-day conference featured remarks by Abdelilah Benkirane, Head of Government of Morocco, Charafat Afailal, Moroccan Minister of Water and Loic Fauchon, Honorary President, World Water Council.
Head of Government Benkirane insisted on the need to not marginalize the most vulnerable when governments and the private sector address climate change and water issues. In his remarks he deplored the current state of mankind’s quest for economic development often at the peril of the very earth that sustains us. In a solemn tone he said, “we (mankind) have finally managed to threaten ourselves through climate and water. He underscored that a win-win situation should not exclusively benefit developed countries and economic actors, but also those who struggle and are on the front lines of battling water scarcity and climate justice.
During her address, Minister Afailal reminded participants that this international conference in Rabat represents an opportunity to move the needle forward on including the subject of water in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. As COP22 seeks to reinforce climate action, it also aims to position itself as the COP of Africa. According to the Minister, “we have decided that this conference on water and climate justice should be a platform to lend a voice to African countries on the continent’s water issues.”
The day’s events also included a special session “Water’s place in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals” that featured a keynote address by COP22 Commissioner Abdeladim Lhafi. In his address to the audience Mr. Lhafi insisted on the importance of social inclusion in the fight against climate change and addressing water scarcity issues. He voiced his optimism for the ratification and entry into force of the Paris Agreement before COP22 in Marrakech and reminded attendees that, “the COP21 train left the station and we can’t leave anyone on the platform for COP22. Social inclusion is critical.”
In line with the goal of the conference to provide an important voice to the African continent, there will be an African Ministerial Roundtable organized July 12, on day-two of the international conference that will focus on climate justice and water in Africa. It will be followed by a press conference.