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2018年04月11日

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【JWF News Vol.162】 The 8th World Water Forum in Brazil - More Than Two Decades Later

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【JWF News Vol.162】The 8th World Water Forum in Brazil - More Than Two Decades Later
April 11, 2018

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◇Contents◇

・Foreword The 8th World Water Forum in Brazil - More Than Two Decades Later

・Report of the JWF's involvement in the 8th World Water Forum, Brazil
- APWF coordinated and led the Regional Process of the Asia and Pacific Region in the 8th World Water Forum
- 5th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Awarding ceremony held at the 8th World Water Forum
- JWF's involvement in the 8th World Water Forum Thematic Process
- Japan Pavilion at the 8th World Water Forum

・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum
- Darvish Yu Water Fund: 12th project started!

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・Foreword The 8th World Water Forum in Brazil - More Than Two Decades Later
By Kotaro Takemura, Chair of the Japan Water Forum

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The 8th World Water Forum in Brazil
The 8th World Water Forum was held in Brazil. On March 19, the opening ceremony was carried out grandly with attendance of H.I.H. the Crown Prince of Japan. At the ceremony, H.I.H. the Crown Prince expressed his congratulations for the forum to be held in cooperation with many people around the world.

At the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters, held that afternoon, H.I.H. the Crown Prince delivered a keynote speech entitled “Water to Bring about Prosperity, Peace and Happiness”. As the title implied, he lectured that water is the foundation of peace based on the history of Japan. This made a profound impression on participants from all over the world.

In the morning of March 20, H.I.H the Crown Prince visited the Japan Pavilion. He keenly listened to explanations by exhibitors and asked questions. He talked closely with students who came from the Ongagawa River basin in Kyushu, Japan and encouraged exhibitors who had come all the way to Brazil to join the event. That afternoon, he participated in some thematic sessions of interest, and listen seriously to the global water challenges.

I participated in the forum as secretariat of the APWF and management chief of the Japan Pavilion.

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
This was my second visit to Brazil. The first visit was in 1992, to take part in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first large-scale international conference where heads of state, leaders of governments and companies, researchers, NGOs and civic groups got together to discuss how to protect the global environment.

At that time, I was a director of dam construction for the River Bureau in the Ministry of Construction (today’s MLIT). The purpose of my trip to Rio de Janeiro was to explain the necessity of the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage project. But I was also there with another task in mind.

In those days, there were many radical civic groups who were against development. Some took direct action, such as occupying the international conference hall. Media reports said that groups against the construction of Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage would attend the Rio Summit. If they were to take direct action in the conference hall against the construction of the barrage, I would have to express my opinion as a responsible official. Though it was unpredictable what might happen, I headed for Brazil. To be honest, I had no time to think about the environment.

I, however, experienced a major shock when I arrived at the summit.

The Surprising French Delegation
Every nation had sent an official delegation to the Rio Summit in Brazil. Among these, I was rather surprised to see the French delegation. It was composed of government organizations together with civil groups. I could not believe that government organizations, NGOs and civil groups had formed a team and were working together. In those days, Japanese environmental groups were usually hostile towards government organizations.

The Japanese delegation was composed only of government officials, representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Environment Agency, the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Though it was a government delegation, it was kind of a ragtag team, representing virtually divided ministries. The ministries had consulted each other about scheduling, but had never worked out the details together. It was unimaginable for government organizations and civil groups to work together and discuss how to develop solutions in preparation for the conference. I thought, “What an unusual country France is!”

After returning from Rio de Janeiro, we struggled with the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage project. To use an analogy, we were boxed into a corner, and on the ropes. Many in the ministry worried that the River Bureau might break up. Then the river administration of Japan began gradually to transform itself.

The Evolution of River Administration
With the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage project, technical and environmental data were gathered and made public. Open round-table talks were held several times, surrounded by TV cameras. All observation data was made public.

In 1997, the River Law was drastically revised. In Article 1, the words “conservation of the environment” were included. This did not refer to environmentally-friendly river works, but to conserving the natural environment itself. On sites of river management across Japan, governments became actively involved in environmental conservation activities together with local residents.

Another eye-catching principle of the revised River Law was a new system: heeding the opinions of local residents in developing a long-term river planning. Until then, only river administrators had been involved in river planning. It was now stipulated that the government had to conduct hearings involving diverse stakeholders, including local residents.

Japan’s domestically-oriented river administration began to pay attention to international trends, taking part in the triennial World Water Forum. In 2000, officials involved in river administration were sent to the 2nd World Water Forum, held in the Netherlands. In 2003, the 3rd World Water Forum was held in Japan. In the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico, a Japan Pavilion was built for the first time. Since then, a Japan Pavilion has been present in the 5th Forum in Turkey, the 6th in France, the 7th in South Korea and the 8th in Brazil.

Ministries, companies and NGOs participated in the first Japan Pavilion in Mexico. However, the exhibition spaces were divided from each other by partition walls, like terrace-style houses. The image of the French delegation to the Rio Summit came to my mind while I was working on the management of the pavilion.

Therefore, I proposed to remove the partitions in the next Forum and that central government, local governments, universities, private companies and NGOs all unite to operate the Japan Pavilion. This style continued in the 8th Forum in Brazil.

Stakeholders
At international conferences on water, it is always insisted that all stakeholders should be involved in solving water problems. Though this a nice idea, it is really difficult to carry out. The origin of the word “rival” is “river”. I have never heard of water-related stakeholders getting along well. Because of this, we must adopt the principle “Involvement of all stakeholders” to solve water problems. The Japan Pavilion embodies this principle.

Eighty seven organizations from nineteen countries participated in the Expo and Fair at the 8th World Water Forum. There were no other pavilions arranged like the Japan Pavilion. It was unique. I hear that the Japan Pavilion was very popular. It was noisy, but that’s because multiple organizations flocked there and made it lively.

In Japan, the Basic Law on the Water Cycle was enacted in 2014. It aims to solve water problems in river basins through the involvement of all stakeholders in the watershed council. The improvement of legal systems has just begun. But the Japan Pavilion at the World Water Forum showcased a future in which water issues are being resolved.

When Japanese society catches up with the future portrayed in the pavilion in both name and reality, Japan will be able to contribute to the resolution of global water issues as a leader.

More than two decades after the Rio Summit, Japanese government officials involved in water administration and other water-related stakeholders have evolved into true leaders of global water society. I have witnessed and experienced this evolution. Therefore, I can speak of it with confidence.

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・Report of the JWF's involvement in the 8th World Water Forum, Brazil

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- APWF coordinated and led the Regional Process of the Asia and Pacific Region in the 8th World Water Forum

The 8th World Water Forum, co-organized by the World Water Council (WWC) and Brazil, took place in Brasilia, Brazil from 18th to 23rd of March 2018. This was the first time the event organized in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF, Secretariat: Japan Water Forum) joined the 8th World Water Forum as a regional coordinator of Asia-Pacific region. It was our fourth opportunities to take the prominent roles in Regional Process of the World Water Forum since the 5th World Water Forum.

Prior to the 8th World Water Forum, APWF and its partner organizations had produced the Asia-Pacific Regional Process Report.

During the 8th World Water Forum, APWF led and co-organized the 7 regional thematic sessions (Climate, People, Development, Urban, Eco-system, Finance, and Central Asia Sub-Regional Focus) together with its thematic leaders.

In addition, the APWF organized the Synthesis Session of Asia-Pacific Regional Process under the framework of Special Session, titled "Upscale Innovation for a Water-Secure Asia and the Pacific: Synthesis of Asia-Pacific Regional Process". It was discussed the challenges in the path of upscaling innovation toward wellbeing for all and the achievement of water-related SDGs and opportunities to overcome them through efforts strengthen leadership, capability and innovation in policy, Institutions, processes and systems, as well as education.  

▼Asia-Pacific Regional Process Report▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/8thAP_0.pdf

▼Outline; Asia-Pacific Regional Process Synthesis Session▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/8thAP_Syntehsis_s.pdf

(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Manager)

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- 5th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Awarding ceremony held at the 8th World Water Forum

The Kyoto World Water Grand Prize (“the Grand Prize”) is the prestige international award that recognizes grass-roots organizations of developing countries for their outstanding accomplishment in solving water issues.

During the Closing ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum, "Charité Chrétienne pour Personnes en Détresse (CCPD)", that was chosen out of 144 applicants from the world after careful screening, received an award of 2,000,000 JPY from the representatives of the co-organizers and sponsors.
CCPD has demonstrated splendidly in their projects involving with community people from the initial stage to completion, which was highly evaluated by the committee and Japan Water Forum.
CCPD will carry out the project funded by the prize money from May 2018 to July 2019 in Togo, aiming to solve water issues in the country.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/2018/0410/?p=8001

(Reported by Akie Gunji, Manager)

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- JWF's involvement in the 8th World Water Forum Thematic Process

Japan Water Forum has been actively engaged in the thematic process of the 8th World Water Forum. It took a leading role of session coordination of "Involving All Through a Stakeholder Driven Process" and also made a significant contribution to the different sessions under the theme of "CLIMATE", "DEVELOPMENT", "URBAN", and "SHARING" by sharing Japan's experiences.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/2018/0410/?p=8223

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Deputy Director)

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- Japan Pavilion at the 8th World Water Forum

Japan participated in the 8th World Water Forum EXPO and showcased a wide range of Japan's technologies and efforts towards achieving the SDGs and sound water cycle management. The Japan Pavilion has been organized by the government of Japan in cooperation with Japan Water Forum. A total of 22 Japanese organizations joined the Japan Pavilion from governments, private sector, academia, and civil society and they have attracted a great number of visitors over the duration of the event.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/2018/0410/?p=8192

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Deputy Director)

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・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum

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- Darvish Yu Water Fund: 12th project started!

The 12th Project supported by the Darvish Yu Water Fund is now ongoing in Charsadda district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Northern Pakistan.
In the project area, floods are occurring constantly. The water flow into existing wells, therefore; the wells are prone to be contaminated by the water. The local people lack of safe water in the area.

By constructing new wells in the area, 404 people, 50 households will be able to access safe water source.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/2018/0406/?p=7925

(Reported by Akie Gunji, Manager)

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▼JWF News Achives▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/news_en/newsletter_en

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JWF News Vol. 162 / April 11 2018
Japan Water Forum

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