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Report of the side event at the First Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment on 7th September, 2017, Bangkok, Thailand in preparation for the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit September 15, 2017

Report of the side event in Bangkok

Background

Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO) was appointed a lead organization of the session on ´IWRM´ at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (3APWS), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was also appointed a lead organization of ´Financing´ at 3APWS. Both NARBO and ESCAP have stressed the necessity of investment to IWRM and water-related infrastructures which enable members to implement IWRM in the field to improve water security in Asia. At the same time, Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) secretariat is enhancing the publicity activities of 3APWS. Holding the side event by making use of the Ministerial Summit on the Environment is a timely and reasonable opportunity to prepare for the 3APWS. Based on these backgrounds, NARBO, APWF secretariat and ESCAP agreed to hold the side event titled ´Impactful Investments in Water-Efficient Infrastructures : Inputs to the 3rd APWS´ on 7th September, 2017 as one of the side event of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment in Bangkok, Thailand.

Outline of the side event

The side event on ´Impactful Investments in Water-Efficient Infrastructure: Inputs to the 3rd APWS -´ was chaired by H.E. Mr. U. Ohn Winn, Union Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation of Myanmar, and approximately 60 delegations from member states of ESCAP, International Organizations, and NGOs joined. At the opening, H.E. Mr. U. Ohn Winn welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of the leadership and commitments to address water issues and announced the 3APWS and invited all of the participants to the summit. Then, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of ESCAP and Under-Secretary General of United Nation was invited to deliver her key note statement. Dr. Akhtar told that although the economic, social and environmental potential for investments on water related SDGs is considerable, Asia-Pacific region is receiving only ten percent of the requirements for infrastructure. Dr. Akhtar stressed the necessity of an exponential increase of efficiency in the distribution of investments to ensure impacts in all three dimensions of sustainable development. Dr. Akhtar concluded the speech, by summarizing that the leadership of governments and municipalities in framing policies and in attracting the impactful financial schemes is crucial and then stressed the necessity of strengthening the integrated water resource management (IWRM) processes and consultations at inter-disciplinary levels in fostering the decentralized financing systems and in utilizing the co-benefits of networking among practitioners.

Following Dr. Akhtar´s speech, Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP moderated the discussion and summarized lessons learnt from the region. Firstly, H.E. Mr. Yeshy Droji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan shared the experience of IWRM with the analysis of current water situation in Bhutan. H.E. Mr. Yeshy Droji mentioned that Bhutan had established ´NATIONAL INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT PLAN 2016´ and RBO in the Wangchhu Basin and stressed investment to create and implement practical and appropriate approach through international network.

Secondly, Mr. Khamphanh Nanthavong, Director General, Pollution Control Division, MONRE, Lao PDR offered a speech and shared the importance of IWRM activities based on ´National Natural Resources Strategy´ and ´the 8th national socio-economic development plans of the government 2016-2020´ in Lao PDR. Mr. Nanthavong emphasized the necessity of more investment in strengthening institutional capacity and governance, financial framework and creation of applicable and appropriate methods from regional experience on water management to achieve goals and targets on water in SDGs.

Thirdly, Mr. Saroj Srisai, Assistant Director / Head of Environment Division, Sustainable Development Directorate, ASEAN shared the importance of the activities on water under ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Framework. Mr. Srisai introduced the major projects on water based on the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on Water Resources Management and stressed the importance of regional cooperation and collaboration through network.

Lastly, Mr. Hideshi Sasahara, Director, Water Resources Engineering Department, JWA and Deputy Secretary General, NARBO shared the commitment of NARBO by introducing ´Voice of Asian Water Management Practitioners´. Mr. Sasahara stressed the necessity of cooperation in the region and that sharing information on low cost technology is crucial for effective water management by introducing some case studies in Asia.

Mr. Zahedi invited Mr. Nobuyuki Ichihara, Director, Japan Water Forum (JWF) to the discussion. Mr. Ichihara introduced the achievements of Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) and invited us to the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit which will be held from 11th to 12th December, 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar.

Finally, Mr. Zahedi invited Mr. Hans Dencker Thulstrup, Senior Programme Specialist, Water and Environmental Sciences, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific to the discussion through WebEx. Mr. Thulstrup shared the analysis of current water situation, especially focusing on transboundary water management and stressed the importance of international networks and organizations which provide various types of platforms to launch and stimulate transboundary initiative by showing UNESCO International Hydrological Programme. Mr. Thulstrup also highlighted the necessity of complementary consideration of "Soft" infrastructures which consisted of knowledge and data mobilization sharing infrastructure and the role of IWRM in development of "Soft" infrastructure.

Mr. Zahedi summarized the discussion, in that we had agreed to the importance of making policies to ensure water-efficient infrastructure, to calculate the impacts of the investment schemes for sustainable development and to incentivize the localized financing system with water bonds and better resources distribution.

H.E. Mr. U. Ohn Winn invited all to the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit and closed the conference.
More information about t the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment with side event is available at the following website:
http://apministerialenv.org/
http://apministerialenv.org/side-events
https://twitter.com/UNESCAP

Report of the side event in Bangkok

Way Forward

Further discussions based on the Shared discussion points and summary of the side event will be held to create the proactive and concrete message for the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit by NARBO, ESCAP and UNESCO with cooperation organizations, and case studies to support the message will be explored. NARBO is now developing "Sequel IWRM Guidelines" of which theme is "Appropriate and Applicable Approach (3A)", and we've received over 10 case studies from NARBO member organizations. These case studies will support the message to the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit. Our message supported by case studies will be incorporated into the summary document of the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit.

NARBO will convene the session on IWRM with UNESCO at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit on 11 December, 2017. All of NARBO members are eligible to join NARBO's session. Detailed information about the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit will be delivered to all of you soon. Please wait for further information. We look forward to seeing you in Yangon.

Programme and materials

Time Event Remarks
12:30-13:00 Lunch
13:00-13:05 Opening
Chaired by H.E. Mr. U. Ohn Winn, Union Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation of Myanmar
13:05-13:10 Statement by ESCAP
- Dr. Akhtar, Executive Secretary of ESCAP and Under-Secretary General of United Nation
13:10-13:55 Discussion
Moderated by Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP
- H.E. Mr. Yeshy Droji, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan
- Mr. Khamphanh Nanthavong, Director General, Pollution Control Division, MONRE, Lao PDR
- Mr. Saroj Srisai, Assistant Director/Head of Environment Division, Sustainable Development Directorate, ASEAN
PDF
- Mr. Hideshi SASAHARA, Director, Water Resources Engineering Division, Japan Water Agency, Deputy Secretary General, NARBO
PDF
[Discussants for Intervention]
- Mr. Nobuyuki Ichihara, Director, Japan Water Forum / APWF secretariat
- Mr Hans Hans Dencker Thulstrup, Senior Programme Specialist, Water and Environmental Sciences, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (WebEX)
PDF
13:55-14:00 Closing

Report of the side event in Bangkok