This guide is part of a larger series exploring NDC enhancement in various sectors. It is intended to inform future rounds of NDC revision and any implementation planning that follows. The guidance presented here can also assist in the development of long-term strategies, National Adaptation Plans, and domestic and local water policymaking that will effectuate the NDCs. Audiences for this guide include stakeholders responsible for enhancing and updating NDCs, as well as domestic, local, and international actors whose activities have substantial implications for water resources and services.

Key Findings:

This paper outlines six steps to further integrate water into NDCs:

  1. Establish institutional arrangements and partnerships 
  2. Take stock of progress to date
  3. Update assessment of water adaptation and mitigation priorities
  4. Determine how to specifically reflect water cycle in climate planning 
  5. Assess costs, benefits and cross-thematic interactions 
  6. Align NDCs with funding and finance processes 

Executive Summary:

Mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts requires the explicit consideration of water. Water is an essential, underlying resource for sustainable development. Failing to adapt to climate change’s impact on the water cycle will be dangerous and costly. In order to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies must consider the water cycle.

Effective water management can enhance water security, reduce emissions and aid carbon sequestration. This includes managing the water-energy nexus; treating, recycling and managing wastewater; and preserving wetlands and forests for carbon sequestration and water flow regulation.

NDC enhancements can go further to expand and refine water adaptation and mitigation commitments. NDCs and NDC enhancements have already communicated water-related vulnerabilities caused by climate change and highlighted adaptation strategies for water management — but future NDC enhancements can go further.

This document presents guidance for aligning water, climate and development goals in NDC enhancements. The steps recommended here include:

  • Establishing institutional coordination
  • Taking stock of progress to date and setting clear water targets
  • Assessing costs and benefits of various water policies and implementation strategies
  • Identifying financial options for implementation


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