Climate change poses significant and complex challenges for transboundary water basins worldwide. As climate change increases over the coming decades, transboundary cooperation on adaptation and resilience-building strategies is essential to advancing sustainable development and ensuring social and political stability for basin countries and their people. The impacts of climate change in the transboundary context extend beyond direct and immediate impacts on communities, ecosystems, infrastructure, and local or national economies.
In November 2015, the ISRBC signed Paris Pact on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Basins of Rivers, Lakes and Aquifers, a non-binding document calling for action on climate change adaptation in basins, and joined the family of more than 300 governments, international organizations, donors, national and transboundary basin organizations, local authorities, the civil society and companies worldwide which have signed the Pact.
In this regard and following the implementation of the pilot project Building the link between flood risk management planning and climate change assessment in the Sava River Basin (finalized in 2013), three projects for the Sava River Basin have already been implemented:
- Project Water – Food – Energy – Ecosystems Nexus Assessment in the Sava River Basin, implemented within the Programme of Work for 2013–2015 under the UNECE Water Convention (finalized in 2015) which has identified a menu of solutions to address specific intersectoral challenges and recognized many benefits of adopting a transboundary nexus approach in the Sava River Basin;
- Danube Water Nexus Project – Sava Case Study, implemented by the EC Joint Research Center (finalized in 2016) which has examined various water futures due to climate change and land use changes by political, demographical and economic factors,
- Project Water and Climate Adaptation Plan for the Sava River Basin (WATCAP), implemented by World Bank (finalized in 2015) which (i) assist stakeholders and decision makers in assessing and planning for the risks generated by climate change impacts on water resources;(ii) provide a basis for future plans and studies of adaptation to climate change impacts and (iii) stimulate cooperation and debate across the basin toward additional and more detailed studies on climate change impacts at the regional and basin scale.
- The climate change has also been addressed in the 1st Sava River Basin Management Plan where on the basis of national climate change policies and legislation, information on future trends based on the results of available studies, summary of major projects concerning climate change the suggestions for further steps regarding climate change in the second planning cycle of the Sava RBM Plan have been provided.