COP22 – Acting together for true resilience

I am pleased to be writing to you from COP22 in Marrakesh, a conference that draws together governments and organisations from around the world to discuss the most effective ways of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

This year, the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) is in attendance, spreading the message that resilience stakeholders must act together, in true partnership, ensuring the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The key to supporting a truly resilient community – which is able to prosper in the face of volatility – is to create linkages that combine resources, expertise and opportunity. After working with Zurich on our Water Window Challenge , the GRP firmly believes that such linkages must extend to the private sector. Through working together we can help businesses identify and implement permanent solutions to fundamental problems, scale them rapidly and open up new marketplaces in the process.

To showcase this belief and highlight practical examples of effective water resilience, we convened an event last Thursday evening entitled “Turning Risk into Reward: Opportunities for Business at the Development Table”. In addition to myself, the panel (pictured above) included:

The composition of this panel was no mistake, with each participant representing a different element of an effective resilience building coalition. Investors (Zurich Insurance), convenor organisations (GRP), conservationists (Conservation International) and community-led solutions experts (Meta Meta) discussed how to practically improve the lives of the most vulnerable. It was a fascinating discussion, including a live Twitter poll and I suggest you take a look at our twitter page for highlights. Interest was high, and several interesting themes emerged, including:

  • The role of resilience in helping individuals and communities carry on generating income during or immediately after a shock or stress
  • The need to remove silos preventing data from being shared across a common platform for the benefit of resilience building

As outlined in a recent article I wrote for Climate Home, water security is one of the world’s most pressing and complex climate issues, driven by three core factors: water scarcity, governance and transboundary access. Further variables span biophysical, infrastructural, political, social, institutional and financial issues. Securing a clean and consistent water supply is challenging, but not insurmountable if tackled with a resilience approach.

In a couple days COP22 will come to a climax after two weeks of discussion between some of the world’s leading experts. When the talking stops however, actions cannot. The momentum generated through this unique coalition of diverse stakeholders must catalyse demonstrable progress and the building of resilience across the world.