Russia-India-Sri Lanka Trilateral Dialogue-: Impact of Climate Change on Marine and Fresh Water Resources and Combating Water Pollution

Date:   Fri Jul 30, 2021 - Fri Jul 30, 2021 , Contact:   events@asianconfluence.org

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Concept Note:  

It is now over 100 years since ‘global warming’ was officially discovered. The pioneering work in 1896 by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, and the subsequent independent confirmation by Thomas Chamberlin, calculated that human activity could substantially warm the Earth by adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere.The global warming has direct correlations to the climate change. The discourse on the climate change has acquired renewed interest with transcending national boundaries in the recent past. The magnitude of the problem demanded a multilateral approach which culminated the establishment of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One of the key milestones reached by the global community has been the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2016. The Earth is experiencing unnatural atmospheric warming that is leading to changes in climate and a host of mostly adverse side effects for humankind and the ecosystems upon which we depend for our wellbeing. It has been established that climate change is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century, and increasing evidence of present and anticipated impacts of climate change highlight the need for action. According to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, the Earth’s average surface temperature increased 0.6 ± 0.2°C in the 20th century. This trend is expected to persist, with an increase of 1.4 to 5.8°C by 2100. Even with “best case” mitigation efforts, some climate change cannot be avoided due to the inertia of the global climate system. 

  It is also predicted that the warming will vary by region and be accompanied by significant changes in precipitation patterns as well as changes in the frequency and intensity of some extreme events. Average global sea levels are projected to rise between nine and 88 cm by 2100, with implications for the 50 to 70 per cent of the world’s population currently living in low-lying coastal areas. The probability of large-scale and irreversible impacts, such as the collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the slowing (or shutting down) of the Atlantic Ocean conveyor belt, is expected to increase with the rate, magnitude and duration of climate change. According to the recently released report on 'Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update for 2021-2025' by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), there is about a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years-and these odds are increasing with time.5 

  The impact of the climate change will be felt throughout the globe without any discrimination. Impact on Water Resources Debate about global water scarcity and food security has intensified in recent times, and precise estimates of future water and food demand are elusive. Climate change is adding another layer of complexity. The global human population may hit a record 9 billion people by 2050. The much-needed increase in food production is not forthcoming. Crop yields are not increasing fast enough either. Instead, limits are faced due to carrying capacity in some areas of the world.6 The fisheries and aquaculture sectors are a vital source of livelihoods, nutritious food and economic opportunities, and have a key role to play in meeting this challenge.

  Conservation of marine ecology as well as fresh water ecosystems and combatting pollution are key factor in adaptation to Climate change and global warming. In many parts of the globe, fresh water resources are being polluted and diminished with urbanization and unscientific waste management. Factors such as marine water pollution, marine plastic debris, loss of marine life, and unwelcome changes at the fragile estuaries which is home to immense bio diversity are a great cause of concern. Holistic management of water resources to conserve natural eco-systems and combating marine pollution, is a key pre-requisite to meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and dealing with climate change.

 There is a great need now for sharing of global best practices, use of both indigenous and modern technologies and citizen participation to combat the looming problem. With a view to create better understanding and to explore collective response to the matters raised above, the Russian International Affairs Council, the Pathfinder Foundation and the Asian Confluence decided to conduct a dialogue focusing on best practices from the three countries. The trilateral dialogue will address the following issues: 

1. Current status of the climate change, 

2. The impact of climate change and pollution on marine and fresh water resources, 

3. Cooperation on adaptation and mitigation to in the context of water resources.

4. Sharing of best practices between Russia, India and Sri Lanka on addressing. the climate change challenge