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2020年05月20日

ニュースレター

【JWF News Vol. 187】The 2nd Joint Steering Committee of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit

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【JWF News Vol. 187】The 2nd Joint Steering Committee of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit
20 May 2020

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◇ Contents ◇

・Forward Reconstruction of Sustainable River-basin Communities

・Report from the Japan Water Forum
- The 2nd Joint Executive Committee (JEC) Meeting of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit
- JWF Fund 2019 Completed!
- JWF Fund 2018 follow-up Completed!

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・Foreword Reconstruction of Sustainable River-basin Communities
By Kotaro Takemura, Chair of the Japan Water Forum

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Postponement of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS)
Currently, the entire world is fighting against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We must remain alert, though it is said that the northern hemisphere has passed the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 13th May, 2020, a web conference meeting of the 2nd Joint Executive Committee (JEC) of the 4th APWS was held. Sixteen members attended. They discussed the postponement of the 4th APWS, originally to be held in Kumamoto this October, and on future measures of the 4th APWS.

The APWS is a platform where top decision-makers from the region hold discussions and exchange opinions regarding the achievement of a sustainable society. Extensive preparations and favorable circumstances are required if we encourage the heads of state and government to participate in the 4th APWS. All JEC members concurred with the postponement as it is appropriate decision to organize more a meaningful 4th APWS in the future.

With regard to future measures, the JEC members gave us many constructive opinions. The most impressive one was that the current COVID-19 pandemic was a disaster that humankind as a whole has to tackle, rather than just a problem of public health. Another significant point made was that local governance and local communities were as important as partnerships between countries and organizations.

Declaration of a State of Emergency
On 16th April, 2020, a state of emergency was declared across Japan. It is aimed at minimizing the movement of people within the country. It also stipulates that those living in the metropolitan Tokyo area are requested not to return to their hometowns. The medical capacity in rural areas is so small that the spread of the virus could trigger the collapse of local medical systems.

We had never imagined that the day would come when we would call on family members and relatives living in cities not to return to their hometowns. Today’s rural areas suffer from shrinking and aging populations because the young generation has left for the city. The path to modernization of Japan was the process of concentrating power and knowledge in urban areas. In other words, the modernization of Japan means the collapse of river-basin communities built in the Edo period.

River-basin Communities in the Edo Period and the Collapse of River-basins in Modern Times
The Japanese archipelago is divided by straits and mountains. Numerous rivers flow down from the mountains that form the country’s backbone. An important unit of Japanese topography is the river basin. The figure shows a basin-based map of the Japanese archipelago.

nl_vol.187_en
Figure

In 1600, after winning the Sekigahara War, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Edo, confined each daimyo across Japan to a river basin. Instead of expanding outward, communities confined to each basin spent most of their energy on developing their particular basin. This generated wealth and helped communities prosper. Local populations gradually established strong river-basin communities.

In 1872, the first whistle of a locomotive was heard at Shimbashi Station. The railway ran across the Japanese archipelago, which had hitherto been divided by river basins. All the railways ran towards Tokyo.

Many young people across Japan took trains bound for Tokyo. People gathered in the metropolis, started businesses, exchanged ideas, established a parliament, and transformed Japan into a modern country. The Japanese people didn’t hesitate to abandon their basin-based communities and concentrate in Tokyo. In this way, modernization caused the collapse of basin communities.

A Sustainable Japan into the Future
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly showed the risk of over-concentrating our population in Tokyo, not only because of the risk of infection. Tokyo cannot sustain itself regarding food, water resources, energy, and waste treatment. It is barely surviving with the help of other regions of the country.

In order to build a sustainable, safe, and comfortable country over the next 100 years, it is necessary to shift from over-concentration in Tokyo to decentralization into river basins across Japan, linking the basin communities together. The Japan Water Forum is considering ways of rebuilding river-basin communities and will work towards this.

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・Report from the Japan Water Forum

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- The 2nd Joint Executive Committee (JEC) Meeting of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit

The 2nd JEC meeting of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) took place on 13 May, 2020 via web conference with the participation of 16 JEC members from Japan and overseas including two Vice-Chairs, Dr. Norihito Tambo, (former President of Hokkaido University and President of River Center of Hokkaido) and Mr. Kazufumi Onishi (Mayor of Kumamoto City). The agenda included ways of reflecting lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis on the outcomes document and the structure of the thematic sessions of the 4th APWS. 
The JEC members gave the secretariat of the 4th APWS various constructive comments and suggestions to ensure the fruitful results and the smooth implementation of the 4th APWS that was unfortunately postponed due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Vice-chair Dr. Tambo made a proposal to the members to organize several additional JEC meetings by web conference or in face-to-face format prior to the 4th APWS. The secretariat will arrange the meetings after checking JEC members’ schedules and assessing the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 carefully.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/policy_recommendations/apws/2020/0519/?p=13283tag=en,rep_en

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Director)

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- JWF Fund 2019 Completed!

The JWF Fund was founded in 2005 and is operated solely by the Japan Water Forum (JWF), which aims to support selected grass-roots organizations in developing countries that have been addressing local water-related issues. Every year, the JWF publicly seeks out projects to support. Those adopted after due assessment are eligible for funding of up to 1,000 USD per project. The JWF Fund is based on JWF membership fees and donations from general contributors.

Under the JWF Fund 2019, seven projects in six countries were selected out of 302 projects submitted by 36 countries.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2020/0519/?p=13329tag=en,rep_en

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Director)

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- JWF Fund 2018 follow-up Completed!

Our priority is placed on responding to the issues and needs of the field in an efficient and effective way.
Since 2015, we have been carrying out follow-up observations one year after the completion of projects in order to understand changing issues and needs.

In FY 2019, the fifth year since we started our follow-up observations, we asked five grass-roots organizations in the Lao PDR, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Uganda (2 projects) that had been granted the JWF Fund 2018 to conduct follow-up observations. We received consent from the organizations in all the locations except the Lao PDR. With this cooperation, we have been able to conduct our one-year follow-up observations.

▼Malawi▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2020/0520/?p=13413tag=en,rep_en

▼Sierra Leone▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2020/0520/?p=13411tag=en,rep_en

▼Uganda▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2020/0520/?p=13415tag=en,rep_en
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2020/0520/?p=13409tag=en,rep_en

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Director)

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JWF News Vol. 187 / 20 May 2020
Japan Water Forum

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