We are currently living in the age of carbon and we are now starting to see the consequences of carbon emissions, leading to climate change. In 2015, at the climate change summit in Paris, almost all countries agreed to take steps to decarbonise their economies and reduce emissions.
Water is the sustaining flow that supports life. But our understanding of the vital role of water is still in its infancy, and the agreements, laws and policies governing water are equally weak. We need to realise that at the same time as carbon emissions are warming the planet, the global water cycle and local water cycles are changing and speeding up.
We need to safeguard the water that sustains our economies, in terms of drinking water supply, irrigation for agriculture, water for industrial processes and energy generation. And we also need to safeguard the water that sustains nature, its glorious biodiversity, and its complex functions and processes which are essential for life on this planet. Wetlands provide the vital link, wherever the water meets the land. In many places, wetlands are at risk either from human decisions or from climate change. Water-related disasters, such as droughts, floods, and coastal storm surges, are becoming increasingly frequent and severe. However, I will show examples of how wetlands can help to reduce disaster risks. More research will help us understand all the multiple services that wetlands provide, and a better understanding of global and local water cycles will lead to better water management. It’s time to move away from the age of carbon, towards the age of water.
NEW: The Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus in the Arab Region