Mainstreaming Water Security and Climate Resilience ahead of COP26

Published on 30 April 2021

Strengthening water security is key to building climate resilience as water security and climate change are inherently linked. Climate change will often be experienced through water, from floods and droughts to impacts on water stress and scarcity. Action on water can support mitigation, adaptation and resilience as well as deliver other benefits.

The second phase of the K4D Learning Journey on Water Security is exploring water’s role in climate resilience and greening the recovery, and tools for strengthening cooperation over and action on water. This video series guides the viewer through basic hydrology, water’s role in tackling the climate crisis, and tools that can support cooperation over shared water resources.

Water 101

An Introduction to Hydrology – Alan MacDonald

In this first video, Professor Alan MacDonald, Principal Hydrogeologist at the British Geological Survey, provides a brief introduction to Hydrology.

He covers the global distribution of water (00:19), the water cycle (01:18), the importance of water storage (02:47), water scarcity metrics (03:40), and climate change and water (04:49).

Climate resilience: COP26

Water cuts across all five of the UK’s COP26 priorities and is central to adaptation and resilience. Action on water can also support greening the recovery and future pandemic preparedness. This set of expert videos will guide the viewer through water’s role in climate resilience and concrete actions that can support mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Deep Resilience: A Confluence of Solutions – John Matthews

Here, John Matthews, Executive Director and co-founder of Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), discusses ‘deep resilience’, a response to the term ‘deep uncertainty’ (00:56).

The session covers four main topics:

  1. Flexibility as a response to ‘deep uncertainty’ (02:52), and how ‘deep resilience’ offers another response (03:16)
  2. Lumping and splitting problems (04:06)
  3. Case studies: Udon Thani, Thailand (06:02) and California, USA (09:26)
  4. Useful resources (11:31).

Resilience of water resource systems – Jim Hall

In this video, Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks at the University of Oxford, discusses why water security matters.

He covers three main topics:

  1. Why does water security matter to sustainable development? (01:15)
  2. Modelling water system resilience and adaptation pathways in Britain (10:28)
  3. Modelling transboundary water risks in the Eastern Nile with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) (12:34)

The Water Climate Action Pathway

James Dalton – The Water Climate Action Pathway & Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action

James Dalton, Director, IUCN Global Water Programme, explains what the Water Climate Action Pathway is, how it is connected to the Marrakech Partnership, and what the trajectory looks like up to COP26.

He covers:

  1. The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (02:23)
  2. The Water Climate Action Pathway (09:52)
  3. Process of the Pathway (13:23)
  4. Challenges and Opportunities (15:40)

Cate Lamb – COP26 and the Water Climate Action Pathway

In this video, Cate Lamb, Water Lead, High Level Climate Champions Team & Director of Water Security at CDP, discusses the role of the climate champions in relation to the Marrakesh Partnership.

Water cooperation

Water sustains life, human health and livelihoods, as well as playing an important role in energy and economic production and also for national development. It is also shared by many different users and geographic users. For example, the world’s 300 transboundary aquifers serve 2 billion people who rely on groundwater. The first two videos in this series examine shared international waters, whilst the second two give a flavour for how international cooperation can support development of shared water resources.

Water Conflict: Water Diplomacy – Mark Zeitoun

Here, Mark Zeitoun, Professor of Water Security and Policy at the University of East Anglia, introduces the basic features of water conflict and water diplomacy.

He covers two main topics:

  1. Water as a political resource (00:34)
  2. Water conflicts need our diplomacy (06:39)

International Water Law – Professor Alistair Rieu-Clarke

In this video, Professor Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Northumbria Law School, gives an overview of recent developments and discusses the challenges and opportunities in advancing international water law.

He covers four main topics:

  1. Developments in international water law (00:34)
  2. Synergies between water conventions (05:54)
  3. Corpus of international water law (08:09)
  4. Challenges and opportunities (13:41)

Governance for Transboundary Freshwater Security – a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Transforming infrastructure delivery in the Okavango River Basin – Charles Reeve

In this video, Charles Reeve, Team Leader, Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF) discusses the resilience building work that CRIDF has been doing in the Okavango River Basin through The Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM).

He covers five areas:

  1. Challenges and threats to the basin (00:59)
  2. Evolution and Foundation Phase (01:25)
  3. Visioning Phase (02:37)
  4. Options Analysis (03:45)
  5. Preparation & Implementation (08:10)

Transforming infrastructure delivery in the Save River Basin – Leonard Magara

Leonard Magara, Chief Engineer, Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF) provides an overview of the environmental, socio-economic and political context surrounding the development of the Save River Basin.

He covers four main topics:

  1. Water risks in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) (00:39)
  2. Water infrastructure and development objectives (02:52)
  3. Rainfall, irrigation and estuary flow assessment (07:11)
  4. Transformations (10:57)


The Water Security Learning Journey is being delivered as part of the Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development’s (K4D). For more information contact Rachel Cooper, (University of Birmingham), Lead Researcher, at [email protected].


Image of Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper

University of Birmingham


About this publication

Related content