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WELL is proud to have been involved in the design and planning of September 2018’s Water Pavilion, an affiliated event of Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit. The Water Pavilion gathered tribal, government, business, civil society, scientific and community leaders working toward a resilient water future in the face of a changing climate.

WELL convened a panel called “Communities Making Opportunity Out of Climate Change,” which showcased successful green infrastructure and Indigenous responses to Climate Change impacts on our communities from Latin America and the United States. WELL’s panel created an opportunity for communities to see the success of green infrastructure and inspire water-climate commitments. More information and takeaways from our panel is below.

The Water Pavilion was an historic event for the state and for WELL, and we could not have made it to the international stage without the continuous support of our past participants. We look forward to communicating with you further about this experience and how it will shape our future events and programming.

WELL’s Panel, “Communities Making Opportunity out of Climate Change,” looked at how Climate Change disrupts how we experience and manage water on a global scale.

Did you know that globally:

    • 85% of the world’s human population live in the drier half of the Earth
    • 0.8 billion people without access to safe water, nearly 2.5 billion without access to adequate sanitation
    • 6 to 8 million human beings killed each year from water‐ related disasters and diseases. Climate change is aggravating the situation
    • Almost 85%  of the world’s total wastewater is discharged without adequate or any treatment
    • 145 nations have territories within at least one transboundary river basin

*Information gathered by UNNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme

These water-related impacts brought on by Climate Change are significant, yet many groups are confronting community-level challenges head-on. WELL’s panel gathered expert speakers who discussed the challenges and successful strategies for water management in a changing climate. These strategies were centered on the critical need of mobilizing communities to action in order to implement a new paradigm of water management, one that puts nature and people at the center, utilizing green and indigenous infrastructure for a resilient response to Climate Change. Some takeaways from our panelists and speakers:

Giuseppe Arduino is the Chief of the Ecohydrology, Water Quality and Water Education Section in the Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program in Paris. Mr. Arduino set the stage for our panel, giving the audience a global perspective on water-climate impacts and trends.  He also gave an overview of UNESCO’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS), which promotes local and indigenous knowledge and its inclusion in global climate science and policy processes.

Katharine Jacobs is the Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona. Here she builds and supports climate change adaptation and assessment capacity at regional, national and international scales, based on climate science. Ms. Jacobs focuses on connecting science and decision-making and working with stakeholders to build collaborative solutions to climate-related problems. Jacobs discussed the collaborative approaches necessary for effective water management.

Bill Tripp is a Karuk tribal member and the Deputy Director of Eco-Cultural Revitalization at the Karuk Department of Natural Resources. As a specialist on forest management and lead author on the Karuk Eco-Cultural Management Plan, Mr. Tripp discussed the benefits of traditional forest management techniques like low-intensity prescribed burns, used to cultivate the forest to become more productive and reduce the availability of forest fuels.

Maria Teresa Vargas, the Executive Director of Fundación Natura, Bolivia manages the WaterShare Program, a reciprocity program in coordination with mayors and councilors from 50 municipalities across Bolivia to protect their forested water sources. Maria Teresa Vargas discussed the importance of connecting local families with productive initiatives to conserve forests, which in turn promote greater watershed health.

Maria Margarita Gutierrez Arias is the Deputy Director of The Nature Conservancy. Ms. Gutierrez Arias works with Water funds in Colombia, focusing on the need for community engagement to support water security in a changing climate.

Dr. Yomi Noibi with a Ph.D. in environmental health and industrial hygiene, is the executive director of Environmental Community Action, Inc., (ECO-Action). Dr. Noibi has dedicated his life to raising awareness of brownfields, air pollutants, environmentally sick houses, schools and public buildings as well as toxic mold and asthma related illnesses in children.

Together, these panelists and speakers highlighted the critical need, and very real opportunity, for communities to collaborate on the nature-based solutions to water management in the face of climate change. We look forward to showcasing the lessons learned from this Water Pavilion, as well as highlighting other successful approaches, at future WELL events.


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