HRH The Prince of Wales and WaterAid convene group to unlock more climate finance for water services in vulnerable countries

Posted by
Emily Pritchard
18 March 2020
Climate change
Image: WaterAid/ Chris Renton

Today, at the request of HRH The Prince of Wales, WaterAid, has launched a high-level expert group to develop proposals to unlock greater sums of climate finance to invest in the vital water services in developing countries to tackle the twin water and climate crises. The group aims to conclude its work ahead of the Glasgow Climate Summit.

To launch the initiative, a high level roundtable was hosted by HRH and WaterAid and brought together Deloitte, Unilever, the Governments of Burkina Faso, Nigeria, the Netherlands and the UK, UNICEF and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, amongst others.
HRH, who has been President of WaterAid since 1991 launched his Sustainable Market Initiative at Davos earlier this year which brings together leading international figures to find ways to rapidly decarbonise the global economy and make the transition to sustainable markets. The WaterAid roundtable provided a focus on water and climate change.  
HRH told the Roundtable:
“We have no time to waste if we are to change our current trajectory to a sustainable future. 
“Water being so utterly essential to life, it’s clearly vital that we recognise the link between water and climate change. 
 “With the urgency that now exists around avoiding irreversible damage to our planet, we must at all costs put ourselves on what can only be described as a war footing. 
“The current battle against coronavirus at least demonstrates how quickly the world can react when we identify a common threat.” 
For the poorest people, the most immediate and widespread impacts of climate change are felt through water – extreme droughts, sea level rises, vast floods and powerful storms. Access to clean water is uniquely vulnerable as climate change piles more pressure on already overstretched water-sources and services.  Floods disrupt sanitation services leading to diseases, longer droughts mean women have to walk even further to collect water, and rising seas pollute water supplies making it too salty to drink.   
Currently 3.6 billion people live in an area of water scarcity where they struggle to get water for at least one month of the year. That figure is predicted to rise to 5 billion by 2050 – the equivalent of one person per second being added to water scarce areas between now and then. 
Research published by WaterAid last week found that the countries with the lowest levels of access to clean water get as little as 17 cents (13p) per person per year from climate finance to help them adapt their water services. Just 5% of global climate finance is currently spent on adaptation – despite a global commitment that finance should be split equally between mitigation and adaptation.   
The group was formed following a high-level roundtable hosted by WaterAid.  
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, WaterAid, said: “The more our climate changes, the more that already fragile supplies of clean water are at risk of disappearing completely. No-one can survive without clean water and no-one can thrive if they have to struggle to find it. 
“This morning’s roundtable showed a willingness to meet the challenge of making sure that everyone, wherever they live and whatever the weather, is able to rely on having safe water to drink, the most important defence against the impact of climate change.” 

  • Full list of organisations joining the working group are: Deloitte, Unilever, the Governments of Burkina Faso, Nigeria, the Netherlands and the UK, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation,, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, WRI, International Water Association, Lord Nicholas Stern and CCm Technologies.   
  • The Roundtable attendees were His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales; His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; Ania Grobicki, Deputy Director for Adaptation at the Green Climate Fund; H.E. Mr Bernard Fautrier, Vice-President CEO, The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation; Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO Sanitation and Water for All; Chilufya Chileshe, Regional Advocacy Manager, WaterAid; Sir David King, Honorary Executive Chairman, Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge; David Sproul, Global Deputy Chief Executive, Deloitte; His Worship, Eneas da Conceiçao Corniche, President, Maputo City Council; Gary White, Chief Executive Officer; Graham Wrigley, Chairman, CDC Group; Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Netherlands Government; Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, The Household of HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall; Joel Kolker, Program Manager for Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership, World Bank; Justin Mundy, WRI Senior Fellow and Special Envoy for Natural Resources, Sustainable Ocean Initiatives; Professor Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Executive Director, International Water Association; His Excellency Moctar Gado Sabo, Minister for Water, Niger Government; Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Institute; His Excellency Niouga Ambroise Ouédraogo, Water and Sanitation Minister, Burkina Faso Government; Pawel Kisielewski, Chief Executive Officer, CCm Technologies; Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever; Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, WaterAid UK;  The Honourable Minister Suleiman H. Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, Nigerian Government; The Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister of State, FCO, DFID, DEFRA, UK Government; Bernie Mensah, President of the UK and CEEMEA and co-head of Global FICC Trading, Bank of America.

For more information, please contact: 
Emily Pritchard, Global News Manager, [email protected]
+44 (0)7725 991201
Fiona Callister, Global Head of Media, [email protected]
Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552
[email protected]    
Notes to Editors: 


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage