UK Government announces £39m for water security at COP28

At COP28, the UK Government announced a groundbreaking new programme to tackle the global water crisis and build climate resilience and food security. The announcement of £39milllion for the ‘Just Transition for Water Security’ programme was warmly welcomed by NGOs working on water and climate with communities, businesses, financial institutions and governments.

Responding to the announcement, Dr Nick Hepworth, Director of the Edinburgh-based NGO Water Witness, which works with communities experiencing the impacts of water scarcity and climate change, and which helped design the programme, said:

“Our world is in the grip of a water crisis driven by climate change and mismanagement. Finally, the link between water and climate is being given the political and investment priority needed, not at some future point but right now. By focusing on transforming water governance, the UK Government is at last showing the leadership on water that is urgently needed.  The UK’s international goals on poverty, health, girl’s education, growth, migration – and our own food security – are all out of reach without action on water.

“The impacts of climate change will be intolerable for billions of people unless we get much better at managing water – and ensure that our water footprints are fair.  We therefore welcome today’s announcement on Just Transition for Water Security and look forward to working with governments, companies, and banks to ensure its effective delivery.

Water Witness, together with CDP and Chatham House, are among the founders of the Glasgow Declaration for Fair Water Footprints, launched at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, and have been core partners in informing the design of the Just Transition for Water Security programme.

Sue Armstrong-Brown, CDP’s Director of Thought Leadership, said: “Today’s announcement will provide a significant boost to water security at a time when we desperately need it. The global water crisis is a threat to billions of people’s health and prosperity. This crisis cannot be solved without bold and immediate action from governments, corporates, and financial institutions. 30% of disclosers to CDP are now setting water withdrawal targets. This can and should be much higher. We commend the UK Government for its leadership on this vital issue and urge member states at COP28 to raise the ambition and profile of water security during the negotiations.”