Handbook on Water Management - page 9

vii
Keymessages
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Climate change should be viewed as one of the drivers of change in the basin and one of many
pressures onwater resources. Scenarios for the basin should therefore take into account not only
climatechangebutalsootherchanges, suchas indemography, economicgrowth, foodpreferences,
etc. These scenarios should, as far as possible, be designed in cooperation with neighbouring
countries, particularlywithagreement on thedataand themodels tobeused.
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Thepreparationof an adaptationplan (national or transboundary) at thebasin scale (river, lake and
aquifer basins), which could subsequentlybe integrated into an (existing) basinmanagement plan,
is agoodapproach toaddress climatechange in thewater domain.
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Avulnerabilityassessmentshouldberelevanttodecision-makingandbeseenasanongoingprocess.
Toviewvulnerabilityassessmentasapurelytechnicalexerciseorasingle-useorpermanentlyrelevant
reportwill consume limited resources, reducecredibilitywithdecisionmakersand stakeholdersand
underestimate the inevitable informationgaps aroundclimatechangeand future impacts.
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A vulnerability assessment is especially important at the transboundary basin scale, as reducing
vulnerability inonepart of thebasin can affect vulnerability elsewhere in thebasin. For this reason,
developing a common understanding of the vulnerability in a basin is necessary, alongside the
development of common models and scenarios, based on commonly agreed information and
methodologies. The vulnerability assessment can then be the basis for elaborating a basin-wide
adaptation strategyandplan toaddress climatechange impacts.
●●
Comprehensive information anddata from theentirebasin areneeded for developing the strategy
and the scenarios and to identify the vulnerabilities and impacts. The collection and sharing of
the necessary data, information andmodels from the entire basin and across thewater cycle has
therefore tobeensured.Amonitoringsystem isnecessary for the regularupdateof theassessments,
the scenariosof change, and thewater balanceprojections inorder toensureflexibleadaptation.
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Basedon the scenarios and the vulnerability and impact assessments, a set of adaptationmeasures
may be proposed, combining structural and non-structural measures. The identification of these
measures should involve other sectors andministries. Measures should be prioritized taking into
account the urgency of the measures and the assessment of the economic, environmental and
social costs andbenefits.
●●
Basin-wide adaptation strategies should prioritize adaptationmeasures beneficial from the basin
perspective and avoidmeasures that transfer vulnerabilitywithin the basin to another location. As
much as possible and politically feasible, adaptationmeasures should be located at the “optimal”
location in thebasin. Thatmay involvepayments formeasures located inother ripariancountries.
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It is important toensuresynergiesand linkagesbetweenadaptationactionsatdifferentgovernment
levels (local,national, regional, transboundary)andbetweendifferent (economic) sectors.Thiscanbe
facilitated throughcross-references to strategiesatother levels, the regular exchangeof information
between representativesof thedifferent levels andwide stakeholder engagement.
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As water management is an important linking factor between climate change adaptation and
mitigation, it is recommended to takemitigationaspects intoaccountwhendevelopingadaptation
measures andviceversa.
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Adaptation strategies,measuresandplans shouldbedeveloped inaflexibleway so that theycanbe
adaptedaccording to thechangingclimateand socioeconomicconditions.
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Due to thehighuncertainty associatedwith climate change impacts, it is useful to implement low-
or no-regretmeasures evenwhen there is still someuncertaintyabout theclimatechange impacts,
i.e., to start reducingvulnerabilitywhile impact assessments are still ongoing.
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Transboundarycooperationonadaptationusually starts at a technical, or expert, level, but can later
positively influencecooperation ingeneral, alsoat apolitical level.
Thesekeymessagesandthe63 lessons learned frombasinsaroundtheworldsetout inthispublicationshould
provide stakeholders in transboundary basinswith themeans to takemore effectivemeasures to adapt to
climatechange.Transboundarycooperationprovides the foundations for suchprogress tobeachieved.
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