In December 2015, the Water, Megacities and Global Change International Conference (Eaumega2015) held in Paris focused on climate change impacts on water resources and risks in Megacities. The rationale for this focus lies in the high economic and social values of megacities, and in the extreme risks to which they are exposed in terms of the negative impacts of climate change on water and sanitation infrastructure and services. Here we consider Megacities as large urban centers with more than 10 million inhabitants, or those growing rapidly.
Within the international context of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, a Declaration was framed and a new Alliance was launched during the Eaumega2015 Conference by its organizers UNESCO-IHP (International Hydrological Programme), ARCEAU-IdF (The Alliance of Water Stakeholders from the Paris Region), SIAAP (Sanitation Operator for the Paris Region) and ICLEI (The Global Association of Local Governments Addressing Sustainability).
The main message of the Declaration is: “climate change is water change; water is a key resource for the sustainable development of megacities and a key factor of their resilience”.
The three partners for Eaumega2015 announced in the Declaration the establishment within two years of an International Platform for Cooperation to facilitate a dialogue on water, with the aim of helping Megacities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Through this Platform, Megacities will learn from each other’s experience, exchange best practices, partner with appropriate technical, academic, and financial institutions, as well as design and implement their individual responses to the challenges of climate change.
The Platform will benefit technically and politically from UNESCO’s water family (IHP Secretariat, Regional and Cluster Offices, Water-related Chairs, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Water-related Institutes and Centers and the World Water Assessment Programme), and from UNESCO’s Intergovernmental framework (Member States), as well as from ICLEI’s network of Local Governments, SIAAP’s network of operators and finally from the innovative model of ARCEAU connecting researchers, operators, NGOs and decision makers.
It is envisioned that the Platform will also be open to relevant International Institutions such as other UN agencies, cooperation financing institutions, NGOs, etc.
The objectives of the platform will be to :
Collect and disseminate information at a worldwide scale on strategies and operational plans developed by local authorities and their water operators as well as results achieved by their implementation;
Facilitate experience sharing between the academic community and water operators in improving adaptation through best practices assessments;
Identify means and mechanisms for funding the adaptation of megacities to the impacts of climate change on urban water.