On October 17-18, 2022, a global workshop on water, agriculture and climate change was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting is organized under the auspices of the UNECE-served Water Convention, led by the Netherlands and Switzerland, in cooperation with the Adaptation Fund, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).


The aim of the meeting was to discuss best practices and lessons learned in addressing water scarcity and quality issues through improved adaptation to climate change, as well as equitable and sustainable distribution of water resources at the national and transboundary levels.
The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Olga Algayerova, in her welcoming speech, noted that by 2050, global food needs are expected to increase by about 60 percent. Agriculture will remain the world's largest water user, accounting for about two-thirds or more of water withdrawals from rivers, lakes and aquifers in many countries. This has important implications for the adaptation of water systems at the catchment and basin levels, both in terms of the distribution of water resources between agriculture and other water uses, and in terms of environmental externalities. In addition, agricultural practices need to be adapted to account for the declining availability of water resources.


The meeting was attended by representatives of authorities, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, academia, the private sector and other experts. The delegation of Kazakhstan was represented by the Deputy Director of the Department of Transboundary Rivers of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources. From the International Water Assessment Centre, Deputy Director Zhanar Mautanova participated in the workshop.
The workshop consisted of four sessions, including plenary presentations and discussions.
The first session “Floods and droughts impact on agriculture” provided participants with an overview of current trends in climate change, its impact on the water cycle and subsequent impacts on agriculture.
The second session “Water management and agricultural production in a changing climate: towards resilient systems” presented a range of adaptation measures and strategies that can be considered by national governments, basin organizations and specialists to mitigate the effects of climate change and related extreme weather events for agricultural production.
At the third session on the topic “Intersectoral cooperation: lessons learned and integration into national climate policies”, participants got acquainted with the experience gained and discussed the conclusions drawn from the process of intersectoral cooperation at the scale of regions and basins. The purpose of the session also included identifying some recommendations for integrating the nexus approach into national strategies and policies.
The fourth session “Financing and implementation of water and agriculture adaptation projects at the transboundary level” aimed to explore the added value and challenges of financing and implementing transboundary climate change adaptation initiatives.


The interlinkages between climate change, water resources and agriculture are key aspects in the preparatory process for the upcoming 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), which has identified two special flagship initiatives of the presidency: “Actions to adapt the water sector to the impacts of climate change and resilience” (AWARE) and “Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation” (FAST). The conclusions of the workshop will feed into the special sessions/side events organized during the 27th session of the COP.