Water and Climate Leaders

Water action is the best answer to climate change – Join us now

Invited by WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas and UN Water Chair Gilbert Houngbo, the “Water and Climate Leaders” aim to set and pursue an integrated global Water and Climate Agenda in support of sustainable development and national mitigation and adaptation actions. Their focus is on catalysing action through leadership and example.
The Panel will provide strategic guidance on integrating the water and climate agendas as well as maximizing synergies in designing and implementing actions to achieve SDGs 6 and 13 as well as to ensure effective climate action for adaptation and resilience.
The “Water and Climate Leaders” come together in a panel of eminent representatives of UN Members, civil society and the private sector


Mr. Emomali Rahmon

President, Republic of Tajikistan

Mr. János Áder

President, Hungary

Mrs. Hilda Heine

Past President, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Mr. Komi Sélom Klassou

Past Prime Minister, Republic of Togo

Mr. Han Seung-soo

Past Prime Minister, Republic of Korea

Mr. Carl-Hermann Gustav Schlettwein

President AMCOW; Minister, Republic of Namibia

Mr. Abdelkader Amara

Minister, Kingdom of Morocco

Mrs. Hannele Pokka

Professor; Past Minister, Republic of Finland

Mrs. Haydée Rodriguez

Vice Minister, Republic of Costa Rica 

Mr. Gilbert Houngbo

Chair UN-Water; President IFAD

Mr. Petteri Taalas

Secretary General WMO

Mr. Matthias Berninger

SVP Public Affairs & Sustainability BAYER

Mr. Howard Bamsey

Chair Global Water Partnership

Mrs. Lindsey Aldaco-Manner

World Youth Parliaments for Water

Mr. Ernest Gibson

UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change



The “Water and Climate Leaders” set and pursue an integrated global Water and Climate Agenda in support of national mitigation and adaptation actions  

Key messages:

  • Sustainable development requires integrated water, weather and climate solutions

  • Water information for saving lives is a global public good and must be freely accessible

  • Interational and intersectoral cooperation creates co-benefits for more resilience

  • Investing in effective long term solutions helps preparing our planet for the future 


The “Water and Climate Leaders” will:

  1. Based on inputs by the Advisors, develop and promote the transformative, action oriented Global Water and Climate Agenda
  2. Advocate for political actions at the highest UN and national levels;
  3. Inform the public on the main climate and water related challenges and possible integrative solutions;
  4. Guide the Water and Climate Coalition


  • Inaugural meeting was held on March 3rd, 2021.
  • “Water and Climate Leaders” at UN High Level Event on Water on 18 March 2021 in New York
  • High-level event at COP 26 and following COPs
  • Event in Planet Budapest Summit in November/December 2021
  • Event in World Water Week in Senegal in 2022
  • Event in Dushanbe Water Summit in 2022
  • Present the aspirations and benefits of an integrated global Water and Climate Agenda to the 2023 UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028, and define steps to synergize existing actions to support a common global Water and Climate Agenda.

Preliminary Elements of the toolbox that can be applied to catalyse water and climate integration

What needs to be done/the toolkit:

  • Access to knowledge and capacity building so that all stakeholders can act based on information through an education pact
  • Data and information criterion for funding and investment agreements
  • Effective narrative and communication – coherent and consistent main messages
  • Ensure wide communication
  • A global network for knowledge sharing
  • Technologies must be easily accessible
  • an integrated operational global water and climate observing system to connect existing observatories/data and fill the data gap (new data)
  • cooperation frameworks and blueprints in river basin scale adaptation planning and regionally coordinated
  • contributions to mitigate climate change through best practices in water(shed), food security and energy management – in 5 years
  • knowledge of benefits of regional plans/contributions – start now, stock take in 2025 and every 5 years from then
    water and climate benefit sharing models and bilateral and multilateral implementation agreements – start framework agreements in 2025, to be adjusted after stock takes
  • Promote data policies that support stakeholders in gaining required and actionable information-based on relevant data
    develop a blueprint for a multilateral approach to mitigation, resilience and adaptation
  • propose a mechanism to take stock on water development and to synchronize/integrate with Paris Agreement stock take.
  • Establish regional water and climate partnerships that bring together public sector and private sector to create regional lighthouse projects
  • Formulate the requirements for a human rights compliant mechanism to assess water under changing climate conditions
  • Mobilize political energy and stimulate bold choices in policy and finance to enable integrated policy and funding choice at the intersection of water and climate
  • Raising awareness about glaciers and their role for supplying societies with water
  • Declaring 2025 the year of preserving glaciers

Advisors Group

Advisors are the experts appointed by the members of the Panel to support the “Water and Climate Leaders”.

The Advisors support the Coalition and provide information for the Panel Members to advocate for urgent climate and water related action. They also serve as the custodians of the Matrix of action of the Coalition. They create impact through:

  1. Taking stock of the work of Coalition and its progress quarterly;
  2. Informing the Leaders on the Coalition`s progress regularly in preparation for the different international platforms of water and climate events like World Water Fora, World Water Weeks, COPs etc.
  3. Guiding the coalition to develop an effective matrix of action including priority action areas, based on feed-back from the “Water and Climate Leaders”;
  4. Advising the “Water and Climate Leaders” on priority investment needs;

Minutes of the Meetings