BY GEORGINA KEKEA
A National Water and Climate Change Forum will be held tomorrow in Honiara. This Forum is focusing on resilience of water for domestic uses in the face of climate change. Its objective is to empower local and sector level water and climate change champions, through knowledge exchange, to boost the scale of climate action in sectors and communities.
The Forum’s target audience are champions in the area of climate resilient water, at all levels, including community and township representatives, Provincial Governments, civil society, private sector, international organizations, development partners and National Government.
To achieve the objective, the Forum will provide space for champions, including people on the frontline experiencing climate change impacts, practitioners and decision makers from government and non-government, to share and exchange experiences, best practices, challenges and lessons learnt in how to adapt to climate change for resilience in water for domestic uses.
The impacts of climate change are often felt first through water. By 2050, globally, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages (United Nations).
For the Solomon Islands, this is already a reality for much of the population and Water and sanitation are common development challenges and priorities in Solomon Islands.
Solomon Islands National Development Strategy (NDS) 2016-2035 states that “during the provincial consultation process, access to water supply and improved sanitation was highlighted as the highest priority need, particularly in rural areas.”
In the Forum, National Government will share latest trends in water and climate change as they relate to Solomon Islands, provide an overview of the relevant legislative and policy environments and introduce projects and initiatives of relevance.
There will be a focus on both the impacts of climate change on domestic water to demonstrate the need and urgency to adapt for resilience and also on the practicalities of adaptation, including showcasing some innovative technologies and approaches. Multiple organizations (government and non-government) will showcase their experiences, best practices, challenges and lessons learnt.
National Government will wrap up the Forum by discussing next steps for accelerating scaling up of adaptation in the water sector and set out a roadmap for any associated policy and/or sectoral coordination actions. Anticipated outcomes of the Forum are the launch of a National Water and Sanitation Policy, foster increased understanding of practical actions as well as a call to action joint statement for Climate Change Adaptation Programming in the Water Sector as well as Roadmap for establishing a Technical Working Group on Water/WASH and Climate Change.