The climate crisis is a water crisis. At COP28 in Dubai, we’ll urge world leaders to invest in climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) without delay to enable people to respond to the immediate threats and adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

What is COP28?

For two weeks in November and December, hundreds of world leaders will meet in Dubai for the 28th UN Climate Change Conference – also known as COP28 – to move forward global and national plans to tackle the climate crisis and build on the resolutions and commitments they made at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh last year.

COP27 was a turning point in conversations on water and climate. For the first time at a UN climate summit, the final declaration mentioned water; the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda lists 30 adaptation targets for 2030, two of which relate to water and sanitation services.

And at the UN Water Conference in March this year, governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations discussed the obstacles to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6; ensuring safe, sustainable and universal WASH.

The outcomes of both these global conferences have helped to build momentum in the conversations around water and climate, but none go far enough to address the urgent water-related impacts of, or solutions to, the climate crisis.

Now is the time for real action, to keep the momentum going, and to amplify the voices of those most important in these discussions – the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The world could face a 40% shortfall in fresh water by 2030.

By 2040, almost one in four children will live in an area of extremely high water stress.

Investing in water in low and middle income countries could deliver $500 billion a year in economic benefits.

For many people around the world, climate change is not a future threat. It’s a daily reality.

In many communities, the climate crisis makes it even harder for people to find reliable sources of clean water, to maintain good hygiene and keep sanitation systems functioning. These are basic human rights.

Climate-resilient WASH systems and services can help communities thrive, despite droughts, floods and other extreme weather events.

That’s why we’re calling for greater investment and political action for climate adaptation.

What are we calling for at COP28?

There’s no time to waste. World leaders must bring global leadership to the climate and water crises.

We’re calling for world leaders to take immediate action and invest financially in climate-resilient WASH services to help communities adapt to our changing climate.

  • All countries must make sure that WASH services are included in their national adaptation plans for climate change, especially those experiencing the most severe impacts of the climate crisis right now.
  • Leaders, financing institutions and the private sector in high-income countries must sustain the momentum on these issues, and ensure targeted action is taken. We call on them to provide at least £500 million to act as a catalyst for other sectors to provide transformational investments into water for adaptation.
  • And we’re calling on people all over the world to join us and collectively amplify the voices of those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis – whose houses are flooding, whose crops are drying out, whose lives are being destroyed.

Roadmap to COP28

Ahead of COP28, we will participate in a number of key regional and national climate conferences and events.
At each of these events, we will highlight the vital importance of WASH as solutions for climate adaptation at community, national, regional and global level. We will demonstrate the importance of WASH within climate conversations, drawing on our research and expertise in specific areas such as gender and sanitation.  


Top image: The sun begins to rise as (L-R) Volasoavinonje (23), Tohanay (18), Mahazosoa (21), Lohantany (60) and Damy (44) begin their long walk to collect water from the Mandrare river, Amboasary District, Madagascar.