Anglian Water chosen as co-lead for the Nature: Water theme at the COP26 Resilience Hub
10 September 2021
Anglian Water, Mott MacDonald and the coalition leading the Water Pavilion have been confirmed as co-leads of the Water theme in the COP26 Resilience Hub
The Resilience Hub is a virtual and physical presence created for the Glasgow Climate Conference – the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the Climate Convention – to put the spotlight on resilience and adaptation to climate change. The Nature: Water theme seeks to highlight how governments, organisations and businesses across the world are responding to the increased risk of droughts and flooding, to enable communities to thrive in a warming world.
Led by non-state actors from business, investors, civil society, academia, cities and regions, it seeks to increase the focus on helping people adapt to climate change by sharing best practice and building collaboration, momentum and new opportunities on adaptation and resilience. Further goals of the Hub include amplifying messages from COP and helping to set the direction for future action on adaptation and resilience beyond the conference.
It will occupy a physical pavilion in the COP Blue Zone in the centre of Glasgow in parallel with COP from 1-12 November 2021, while a complementary virtual platform will run 24/7 to connect a global audience.
The COP Resilience Hub will also be the home of the UN High Level Champions Race to Resilience which seeks to catalyse action to build the resilience of four billion people by 2030. The Hub has ten themes (see below) and will support the objective of the COP26 President Alok Sharma on adaption to the impacts of climate change.
The Water theme, led by water company Anglian Water, engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald and the Water Pavilion coalition, will highlight the positive social, environmental and economic outcomes that investing in water resilience will bring. The co-leads have been given the task of creating a programme of water-themed events to take place both in the Blue Zone at the conference itself and on online channels, with the aim of showcasing best practice, sharing ideas and driving global action.
The COP Resilience Hub represents a global community of interest driven by the urgency to act, with over 30 private and public organisations involved in developing the programme, and a Steering Committee that includes Directors from the COP26 Presidency, FCDO, UNFCCC and the High-Level Champions Team.
Largely financed by private sector and philanthropic support, it is managed by three non-state actors: the Global Resilience Partnership, the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Centre at the Atlantic Council, and The Resilience Shift.
“We operate in one of the driest areas of the country – indeed much of the East of England is drier than Jerusalem, with only two thirds of the national average rainfall – yet at the same time, the fact that much of our region is below sea level makes us very vulnerable to flooding.
“These challenges put us on the front line of climate change in the UK. Just last winter we experienced intense, widespread and long-lasting flooding causing huge impact for communities right across our region. Yet if we don’t take steps to secure long-term resilient supplies, the East of England would face serious water shortages within the next five years.
“So we have long recognised that adapting to the reality of climate change requires just as much focus as the global race to reach net zero carbon. For many years we have structured our investment plans to meet this goal, and built cross-sector relationships to unlock new approaches to water management.
“It’s becoming ever clearer that investing in long-term resilience – and making that investment right now, not in five years’ or ten years’ time – is crucial for businesses and governments the world over. And it’s important to remember that imaginatively delivered adaptation can bring enormous benefits for communities and the environment as well as mitigating risk.
“COP26 offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the UK to be at the heart of the world’s response to the existential challenge posed by the climate emergency. As an organisation driven by environmental and social purpose, we are deeply honoured to have been invited to play a part in shaping global solutions by co-leading the Resilience Hub’s water theme. Through the events we will co-create with Mott MacDonald and the Water Pavilion we hope to showcase global best practice and generate fresh ideas to respond to the water challenge we face.”
Mott MacDonald’s executive chair, Mike Haigh, said:
“We know that climate change will have profound effects on the global water cycle and will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in society. Putting climate resilience, as well as net zero, at the heart of everything we do is critical to our purpose of delivering social outcomes. Water resilience is critical to this and we are extremely pleased to be taking a central role in shaping and delivering the programme for the COP26 Resilience Hub Water Theme, alongside our partners Anglian Water and the Water Pavilion.
The recent report from the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Working Group 1 concluded that climate change will have profound effects on the global water cycle. We know as well that the impacts of climate change on water will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in society as well as ecosystems and the natural environment. Investing in and building resilient water and sanitation systems, managing water resources sustainably, adapting through nature-based solutions and harnessing the power of digital tools are all imperative to our response to the climate challenge.”