The United Nations Climate Change Conference - COP23 in Bonn, Germany

What a positive change and development regarding the importance of water. At the climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, water was denied being a subject of climate change. The advocates for this essential element were not even admitted to the conference. At COP23 in Bonn, a full day, Friday November 10th, was dedicated to water! “Climate is water” was the motto of the buttons which were distributed, a motto which was further explained: Water connects all sectors of climate – from energy and forests to agriculture and tourism.


President of Soroptimist International and the Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) Mariet Verhoef-Cohen can be proud of having been a major contributor in achieving this breakthrough after convincing all agents of change and activating her competence, energy and resilience in the field of water.


Last year, during COP22 in Marrakech, another most important framework for action was launched: WASAG, the Water Scarcity in Agriculture Platform. “Women are the most impacted by climate change, but they are also the basis of sustainable behavioral change in climate adaption and mitigation”, said Mariet addressing her colleagues, among them Representatives of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN).


All partners in the energy, water and agriculture sectors underlined the interconnection between climate and water and required integrated solutions. What is urgently needed is the interlinkage between governments, the private sector, communities, academia and all other stakeholders to exchange data in the first place to get an overview what have been best practice  methods, appropriate to be imitated all over the world.


A very important point Mariet insisted upon is financing. “There have to be major investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and services, among others, to support low-carbon energy.” “Every dollar invested in water and sanitation saves four dollars from being spent on public health and furthers cost effectiveness and therefore supports financial commitments to create resilient societies and secure ecosystems.”


It was a challenge and a pleasure to work together with Mariet on her immense engagement for “women and water” or “water and women” in the context of COP23 in Bonn. It was only through her „water contacts“ that I got the accreditation for this important climate change conference in my hometown.


Kathy's Signature

Kathy Kaaf

Soroptimist International of Europe-President 2011-2013



COP23: Mariet Verhoef-Cohen on how water connects (video)