Are we on the same page? What COP26 taught us about sectoral alignment in the global water-climate policy space

Sarah Hartman*, Kate Cullen, Mary Hingst, Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, Isabel Jorgensen, Zoe Kanavas, Tessa Maurer, Nayyer Mirnasl, Sodiq Oguntade, Sana Sherif, Mary Sluder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Water has quickly risen to become a top concern within the global climate-change policy community due to its intrinsic value in all aspects of life. At COP26, the inaugural Water Pavilion highlighted the need to consider water when addressing climate change and provided dedicated space to discuss integrated climate-water responses to climate change. This event invited representatives from across water sectors to come together and discuss the most pressing issues facing the global climate-water policy community.

Since COP26 provided the first intentional intersection of climate and water policy, our analysis focused primarily on the discourses this event highlighted and further solidified. To do this, a team of all graduate student researchers analyzed over 85 hours of event discussions and presentations. The team used a mixed-methods qualitative approach that blended statistical analyses of transcripts in Python and description-focused content analysis with Dedoose Software. Through this, we identified overarching key themes and assessed how various agents talk about cross-cutting themes that transcend international water and climate policy. One of the major themes that emerged was the call for cross-sectoral collaboration. In order to promote such collaboration, actors from all sectors must agree on the issues and how to best design effective solutions. We further analyzed whether or not cross-sectoral collaboration is occurring by looking at the primary discussion points from each sector (i.e., private, government, NGO). Our COP26 analysis provides a baseline to interpret the differences between dominating sectors, actors, and prioritized themes between COP26 and COP27. Ultimately, our work aims to determine whether or not the global water community is progressing toward becoming a collaborative and cohesive unit, as outlined by the participants of COP26 as an essential step in tackling water security and climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes
EventAmerican Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2022 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202216 Dec 2022


ConferenceAmerican Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2022
Abbreviated titleAGU 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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