COP 27: No optimism without hard reality

COP 27: No optimism without hard reality

With COP 27 underway, here’s what’s keeping us optimistic about global action and the role of water in fighting climate change.

We all get down sometimes. We all sometimes feel a little like we’re living groundhog day. Change in our lives can be difficult and seem unlikely. But then, if we’re lucky, we pull ourselves out of the slump or lean on a friend to help us out. Then we’re back on the path to healthy days of action and optimism.

Climate change meetings are like this but on a global scale. We go around and around discussing the same issues and arguing until we’re blue in the face. Who is responsible for the ‘loss and damage’? (Clue: industrial countries.) And how much should be paid? (Clue: £100 billion a year ongoing.) Should it be loans or simply payments? (Clue: payments.) Should they be legally binding? (Clue: you get the idea…!)


Activist Greta Thunberg has said that these meetings “are not really meant to change the whole system” but instead encourage gradual progress. We would agree with that.

But gradual progress is needed as well as direct action by people willing to give up their own rights for the rights of the planet and people who have no voice.

Gradual progress is why we at Frank Water provide inputs to meetings such as COP 26 in Glasgow where our water management methodology (the WASH Basins toolkit) was used as a case study for climate adaptation projects.

A glimmer of hope

Here’s two ideas that we have taken from the first day of COP 27 and which give us a glimmer of hope that change can happen.

Firstly, the launch on Monday 7 November of the International Drought Resilience Alliance “to accelerate action and help countries to be better prepared for future droughts”. The hope is to focus on long-term resilience to drought so that we need fewer emergency responses in the future. This includes a €5 million seed fund announced by Spain and President of Kenya William Ruto’s promise to  plant 10 billion trees in the next 10 years.

Secondly, the AWARE initiative which started at COP 27 this week. It aims to provide “a neutral, objective context for evaluating national and regional water resources for food, energy and water demand.” And it has some ambitious deliverables:

Optimism at COP 27

At Frank Water, we’re optimistic that water management can help in the fight against climate change. More than that, it can help overcome the worst impacts of inequality and poverty. But we recognise that there should be financial commitments from governments. And once those commitments are made they must be paid. It is what we owe from the loss and damage that our society has created on the planet.

We encourage you to follow what’s happening at the COP 27 over the next week and at the UN Water Conference in New York in March 2023. Because, despite the feeling of groundhog day, we are running out of days to do something about the climate crisis.