Connecting the Drops at COP28: Water Offers the Key Solution to the Global Climate Crisis and Beyond

November 27, 2023
Community women  preparing a field for fish farming at Shibati area. Alokdia Abason area in Paikgasa, Khulna, Bangladesh. October 20, 2019.
Image: WaterAid/ HSBC/ Habibul Haque

Current levels of global funding are oceans away from what they need to be to fully support communities caught in climate whiplash - between extreme fluctuations of too much or too little water - warns WaterAid.

The climate crisis is a water crisis, with a staggering 90% of all natural disasters being water-related – affecting the world’s vulnerable most. New research published by WaterAid in November of this year confirmed that under a ‘whiplash’ of extreme climate pressures, areas that used to experience frequent droughts are now more prone to frequent flooding, while other regions historically prone to flooding now endure more frequent droughts – having a devastating effect on communities in these regions.

Now a matter of life and death, WaterAid is calling on world leaders to make people's needs for water, sanitation and hygiene a priority in adaptation action.

WaterAid’s top 4 calls to action at COP28:

National policy: All countries must make sure that climate-resilient WASH systems and services are included in their national adaptation plans, especially for those countries experiencing the most severe impacts of the climate crisis right now.   

Adaptation finance: Leaders of high income countries should more than double their public finance for adaptation from 2019 levels by 2025, and balance the climate funding for adaptation to match amounts for mitigation. 

Catalyst for adaptation action: Leaders, financing institutions and the private sector in high-income countries should provide at least £500 million by COP31 to act as a catalyst for other sectors to provide transformational investments into water for adaptation in vulnerable countries on the front-line of climate impacts.   

Inclusivity and commitment: And we’re calling on people all over the world to join us in making sure governments prioritize people’s immediate needs 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 as a result of the climate and water crises.   

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s Chief Executive, said: 

“The climate crisis is a water crisis, from drought-stricken farmlands experiencing too little water to flood-ravaged settlements who are experiencing too much water - and it’s only going to get worse.

“Holding back investment for climate resilient water systems that can withstand any weather will only exacerbate other global challenges such as gender inequality, health and weak food systems.

“From flood defenses to drought resistance, the solution exist. Now global leaders must recognize the urgency and prioritize investment into robust and resilient water systems.

“We want to see public finance for adaptation doubled and balanced to match amounts for mitigation, acting as a catalyst for other sectors to tap into transformative investments in water for adaptation.

“COP28 cannot be another summit where the climate adaptation can is kicked down the road. For the world’s most vulnerable, this is a matter of life or death. We cannot let climate change wash away peoples’ futures.”


WaterAid will be attending COP28 in Dubai, with expert spokespeople on the ground available for interviews, comment and analysis, including our CEO Tim Wainwright, youth advocates and country programme directors.

To interview any of our spokespeople or for any other WaterAid media queries, please contact:

In Dubai: Emma Sutton-Smith, WaterAid News Manager - 07588305443, [email protected]

In London: Safeeyah Kazi, [email protected] or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552  

Available WaterAid spokespeople

Week 1

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s Chief Executive (expertise: general climate, water, adaptation)

Claire Seaward, WaterAid Global Campaigns Director (expertise: general climate, water, adaptation)

Kate Hughes, CEO of the Resilient Water Accelerator (expertise: climate finance, water infrastructure, private sector)

Adam Garley, Country Director – Mozambique (expertise: climate, health, Mozambique)

Partha Hefaz Shaikh, Director, Programmes and Policy Advocacy in Bangladesh (expertise: climate, health, Bangladesh)

Week 2

Tim Wainwright (10 Dec), WaterAid’s Chief Executive (expertise: general climate, water, adaptation)

Caroline Maxwell, senior climate campaigner (expertise: climate change and water)

Youth Advocates from Madagascar and Bangladesh (details provides on request)

Hantaniaina Rabesandratana, Head of Programme, Governance & Policy in Madagascar (French interviews)

Ernest Randriarimalala, Communications Specialist, Madagascar

Available virtually throughout week 1 and 2

Katherine Nightingale, Global International Affairs Director Policy & Campaigns (expertise: general climate, water, adaptation)

Sol Oyuela, Executive Director, Global Policy and Campaigns (expertise: general climate, water, adaptation)

Arielle Nylander, Senior Policy Analyst Health (expertise: health and climate)

John Garrett, Senior Policy Analyst (expertise: development finance)

Annie Msosa, Senior Campaigner for Women's Health (expertise: health and gender)

Raheema Panhwar, Gender Advisor in Pakistan (expertise: gender)

John Farr, Head of Policy and Partnerships (RWA and climate finance)