“Climate change will affect all societies and ecosystems most profoundly through the medium of water…An integrated set of policies for water management at every level of government is critical to economic, social and environmental wellbeing of societies everywhere.”
-- Zafar Adell, Chair of UN Water
Recent events leading up to the UN climate change discussions (COP 16), held in Cancun earlier this month, have hinted at greater inclusion of water in the context of the climate change negotiations. The collection of stories in this edition of W.E.T. are a reflection of this reality and suggest that some communities, companies and regulators are ahead of the curve in developing programs and policies to respond to climate change. This optimism is bolstered by the second convening of the ACES (A Community of Ecosystem Services) Conference held in early December in Phoenix, which aimed to share the latest scientific progress related to incorporating ecosystem services into resource management, conservation, restoration and development decisions. The multiple sessions focused on four key themes: 1) Measures and values; 2) Landscapes, geography and mapping; 3) Drivers (and impediments) of change; and 4) Institutions and decisions. The issues of grey and green infrastructure and the role of innovative financing were highlighted in numerous sessions. Presentations are available at: http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/aces/index.html
From the private sector we see increasing involvement and a heightened ‘call to action’ for greater transparency in calculating and disclosing water footprints, demonstrated by the Water Disclosure Project’s recent report and by a new report highlighting the gap in reporting water risk in the municipal bond markets.
'Tis the season to remain optimistic as we head into the holidays and January where we face climate change of a different sort—political. One thing is for sure, governments the world over are increasingly engaged, albeit underfunded, in protecting and restoring ecosystem services through national and regional policies which may lead to new opportunities for innovative payment programs and market-based approaches to help patch the increasing gap in government funding.
Lastly, we draw your attention to a video clip from the TEDx Rainer event that took place in Seattle back in October which succinctly tells the story of how Water Restoration Certificates (a product developed by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation) are working to put water back into severely dewatered streams in parts of the western US.
— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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