Climate change and water
The global climate and ecological crises are one of our time’s leading human development challenges. Climate change has already caused widespread adverse impacts on nature and people, and biodiversity and ecosystems are deteriorating worldwide.
Those who have contributed the least to the planetary crisis suffer its worst impacts. Social and economic costs are predominantly borne by the poorest and most vulnerable groups, including indigenous communities in low-income countries. Without significant action, these planetary changes will impede the movement towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Combatting the climate and ecological crises requires a transformation of economic, social, and financial systems to trigger a change in decarbonisation rates and strengthen the resilience of human and natural systems. Deepening political divisions and conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and global food and energy crises provide a further reminder of the importance of building resilience into development pathways.
Water and climate change are inextricably linked. Climate change is exacerbating both water scarcity and water-related hazards, as rising temperatures disrupt precipitation patterns and the entire water cycle. Climate change is expected to intensify competition for water among all sectors and affect water, energy, and food security.
The need to understand and work with change in complex socioecological systems is, therefore more urgent than ever. We provide partners with evidence-based learning and reflection to support actions that build and strengthen low-carbon and climate-resilient systems. We work within the interlinked systems of water, food security, agriculture and forestry, sanitation, hygiene and health, disaster risk management, and low-carbon energy.
We work closely with teams across IOD PARC, with colleagues specialising in issues connected to climate change, particularly those related to health, forced migration and conflict.
We believe complex socioecological problems defy tidy logic models and reductive technical solutions.
To support the transformation to a climate-neutral and climate-resilient world, we:
- think that system change is achieved through collaborative, relational approaches. We support organisations to communicate and work beyond silos towards improved partnerships and collective systemic change.
- use resilience thinking to explore systems’ ability to absorb, adapt and transform with change.
- recognise the importance of intersectional analysis for climate change – to understand how different individuals and groups relate to and are impacted by climate change.
- focus on learning and co-creating solutions that support long-term climate action and sustainable system-wide change in water service delivery.