The role of water at COP25

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Water, a priority issue in the fight against climate change during COP25

The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 25, has been held from December 2 to 13 in Zaragoza where nearly 500 events and more than 800 hours of activities had taken place.

The COP are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC Parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change since 1994.This international forum works to carry out actions and negotiations that help to combat climate change by all the countries that have signed their commitment agreement on climate change. The two main agreements have been the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The last one establishes a global action plan to limit global warming well below 2 degrees and continue efforts so that it does not exceed 1.5 degrees.

Chile was the country chosen to preside over and celebrate this 25th edition of the conference, but due to the social mobilizations that the country is currently suffering, it was decided to move the headquarters to Madrid, although Chile continued to exercise the presidency.

IFEMA was the place chosen to hold the conference in the Spanish capital, which despite the limited time it had to organize it, has proved a success. This summit was divided into two spaces for different uses:

The blue zone destined to the multilateral negotiation, where there are the two plenaries and the meeting rooms for the negotiation and the rooms and pavilions of the delegations, where Spain has a delegation room.

The green zone is a citizen space, meeting and environmental awareness, with which Spain wants to contribute to facilitate the participation of all civil society. The themes of the activities they carry out in this space are about fair transition, health, gender, sustainable finance, innovation, forests, science and climate change or nature-based solutions.

There are many issues that have been discussed during these 12 days of convention, but water scarcity and ocean preservation have been one of the issues of concern.

Some experts such as Howard Bamsey, a member of the Global Water Alliance, have said that the main victim of climate change is the water and that there is still a lot of work to do to deal with this situation.

On the other hand, there are people committed to the involvement of young people in the fight against the climate crisis and this is the case of the Ukrainian Yelisaveta Demydenko who considers it appropriate that the problem of water should be a priority issue on the agenda of the fight against climate change and that this message must reach young people to take the initiative in the future and develop joint projects.

The protection of the oceans and seas has been another topic of debate at the summit. For Enric Sala, an expert scientist in marine biodiversity, the sea is a victim of climate change and the Mediterranean is a good proof of this. “The Mediterranean is a very punished sea, but if we give it the opportunity it has a spectacular ability to recover.”

Currently, the effects of climate change on salt water are clear as the ice caps melt and sea level rise. It is expected that by 2050 the warming of the oceans and the melting of glaciers will rapidly increase sea level and affect one billion people.

The loss of ice from the glaciers directly affects also the fresh water in its availability and quality even reaching that in 2025 25% of the population will suffer shortage of water to form regularly.

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