Water ChangeMakers take global stage at COP 26

The journey of our 2020 Water ChangeMakers came to a powerful end on 8 November at COP26, as they took to the global stage to present messages of urgency – and hope – to world leaders.

They delivered video messages during the Water ChangeMakers Forge Frontiers for Resilience event, held at the first ever Water Pavilion at COP26 which aimed to bring together the global water community to speak with one voice on climate action.

 Gold ChangeMaker winner, Billie Dumaliang, who is the Advocacy Officer & Trustee at the Masungi Georeserve Foundation in the Philippines, called on global leaders to ‘not forget’ those on the frontline of environmental activism including women, youth, indigenous communities and rangers. 

“The things that are destroying the forests are actually brought about by broken systems, damaged institutions and organised crime … it’s against these activities and opportunities that we need to stand up and stop them from destroying our forests in the name of progress,” she said.

 The GWP Water ChangeMakers’ journey began back in June 2020 with over 350+ submissions who became 78 semi-finalists and 12 finalists. The initiative was supported by more than 30 Partners.

 Billie’s ChangeMaker journey, The Masungi Georeserve story: Restoring forgotten watersheds through youth-led movements, has proven that youth can be effective agents for change in the most difficult and politically sensitive circumstances. Its holistic approach to dealing with ecosystems degradation led to concrete and cooperative actions for the restoration of forests and wetland.

 During the COP26 event, attendees were able to watch a video that highlighted the ChangeMakers’ incredible journey. The event also featured a dialogue on leadership  between GWP and UNFCCC.

 “GWP has been a partner with us from the beginning in trying to look at water and all aspects relating to water (such as) equitable use, quality, quantity, transboundary aspects (and) how, as we move into the future, we can make sure that all of the world can use water equitably and we reach a sustainable state,” said Youssef Nassef, Leader of UNFCCC’s Resilience Frontiers Initiative.

 Darío Soto-Abril, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of GWP, told participants that GWP’s work across regions has allowed for knowledge sharing and learning on water issues. He said more work needs to be done to support those who are innovating and creating solutions on the ground.

 “There are many ideas coming from within the communities and what they need is someone to believe and invest in them … this connection with investors is something we could do more of,” he said.

In addition to Billie Dumaliang's message, watch all the other Water ChangeMaker winners’ messages to COP26 and what it takes to build a climate resilient community: Jorge Werneck, Regulatory Agency for Water, Energy and Basic Sanitation of the Federal District – Adasa, Brazil, Rossana LandaFondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza A.C. (FMCN), Mexico, Maria Teresa Vargas RiosFundacion Natura Bolivia, Ashish Barua, Helvetas/Bangladesh and Zobair Hasan, DORP/Bangladesh, Indie Dinala, Zambia Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, Ministry of National Development Planning 

Thanks again to all Partners and Water ChangeMakers – let’s shine a light on bright ideas, discover the Water ChangeMaker stories at: www.waterchangemakers.org