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It’s about water! Local water action for climate change adaptation in urban areas



Climate change impacts cities in manifold ways and often affects water resources: floods and other natural hazards damage urban infrastructure, drinking water quality can deteriorate, and pressure on surrounding water-based ecosystems can increase.

The Bonn Water Network (BWN) invites you to its session at the Daring Cities Conference focusing on how local water action can contribute to strengthen climate resilience. The Network bundles the capacities of ten renowned, Bonn-based institutions working on water and related issues in international research, development policy and training.

After welcoming words by Dr. Annabelle Houdret (German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, DIE), speaker of the network, our panel discussion focuses on concrete examples of, and lessons learned from, water action to strengthen resilience. Diego Jara (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN) explains how mangrove conservation in Ecuador constitutes a natural infrastructure to protect coastal cities; Abby Ortega (Center for Development Research, ZEF) reports how better governance and citizen participation can improve urban drainage for flood resilience in Colombia; and Dr. Simone Sandholz (United Nations University, UNU) shares her insights gained from a large global study on ecosystem-based risk reduction. Prof. Dr. Thomas Kistemann (Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, IHPH) then explains successful approaches to prevent negative impacts of climate change on drinking water.

After the panel discussion, the UN-Habitat Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance streams a short video on how peer-to-peer-learning between water operators can improve resilient urban water supply and sanitation systems. We then open the floor for a debate with the public, allowing for direct exchange with the different experts. Finally, Kobie Brand (ICLEI Deputy Secretary-General and Director of the Cities Biodiversity Center) gives closing remarks.


  • Dr. Annabelle Houdret, Senior Researcher, German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany
  • Diego Jara, Environmental Law Center of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Bonn, Germany
  • Abby Ortega, PhD student, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn, Germany
  • Dr. Simone Sandholz, Academic Officer, Institute for Environment and Human Security,
    United Nations University (UNU – EHS), Bonn, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Kistemann, Deputy Director, Institute for Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH), Bonn University, Germany
  • Kobie Brand, Chief Executive Officer and Regional Director, ICLEI Africa

Organizing Partner