World Water Week in Stockholm: Summary of the 4 Asia Focus sessions
The World Water Week in Stockholm (SWWW) 2019 was organized at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden from 25th to 30th August, 2019, under the theme “Water for Society: Including All”. 4,000 participants, 1,196 organization of 127 countries joined the SWWW 2019.
|Outside of the Tele2 Arena||Inside of the Tele2 Arena|
Japan Water Forum, as the Secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) and the overall coordinator of the Asia Focus Session of the SWWW, co-organized the four Asia Focus sessions in terms of water cycle management, rural water and sanitation, governance and finance in SWWW 2019 with the partner organizations of the APWF, etc. In addition to these four sessions, a showcase event was co-organized with Asian Development Bank (ADB), OECD, and the APWF to familiarize the audience with the upcoming ADB’s flagship publication: Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2020.
In order to present the regional pathway from the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (3rd APWS) in Yangon to 4th APWS in Kumamoto City in advancing water security and sustainability, APWF and its partners such as the Asian Development Bank, etc, introduced the best practices in the region, discussed the steps to achieve the SDG6 and the other water-related SDGs targets, as well as the achievements and remaining gaps in line with this Year’s SWWW theme. Materiality, Connectivity, and Scalability were three important dimensions that guided the discussions.
We also discussed the opportunities and challenges of planning and implementing policy measures to address water challenges at river basin levels, scaling up good practices to maximise impact while remaining inclusive, using case studies from across the region. Although the cases of innovative financing have been increasing in Asia, public finance is still needed to support addressing the last mile in the region.
All sessions highlighted the critical role of political leadership in shaping sustainable policies and implementing the practice, selecting the best available appropriate technologies and implementing practice on the ground, and monitoring the impacts.
The outputs will be reflected in the thematic design and declaration documents for the 4th APWS in Kumamoto City of Japan, October 19-20, 2020.
List of the 4 Asia Focus Sessions and a showcase event
1. Water cycle management towards water security in Asia and Pacific (27 Aug 2019)
Session overview, conclusion, and the presentation documents:
This session shared the opportunities for planning and implementing policy measures to address water challenges in the region’s diverse geographical and hydrological contexts and scales. The focus was placed on demonstrating water solutions based on evidence and knowledge drawn from science as well as local knowledge towards fulfillment of the targets under SDG6.
In an interactive panel discussion, speakers presented case studies and discussed the practical steps needed to scale up initiatives to maximize impact while remaining inclusive.
In conclusion, this session highlighted the importance of political leadership in shaping sustainable policies, selecting the best available appropriate technologies and implementing practice on the ground, and monitoring the impacts. It also emphasized the necessity to strengthen coordination and cooperation among multi-stakeholders in water and associated sectors and to develop the complementary measures to enable transitions. Participants stressed the need to understand and engage those on the losing side of given water-related decisions, the poor and the vulnerable when addressing trans-boundary water issues. At its core, sustainable water cycle management is about how to address and engender changes in human behavior, and about understanding customs and culture – rather than seeking technological solutions alone.
2. Inclusive Asia-Pacific Rural water and sanitation: Pathways to the SDGS (27 Aug 2019)
This session shared the challenges of raising necessary resource and providing support to the disproportionately large numbers of vulnerable people living in rural areas in Asia, and discussed the solutions to be applied to overcome these difficulties. The speakers highlighted the importance of the trust building, partnerships, digital technologies and the roles of local leadership in collection of data, assessing and understanding the situation and conditions, monitoring, and developing societal platforms to share knowledge and experiences together with the capacity building as the pathways of scaling up best practices In the panel discussion, the speakers and audience discussed the circumstances which help or hinder the application of the innovative approaches to achieve the objective of including all in line with the case studies of the presenters. In conclusion, the speakers and audience confirmed the importance of understanding the context and vulnerability of each rural community by assessing the local situation and developing appropriate responses to target the last mile through community involvement and empowerment with necessary technical and financial support so that no one is left behind.
3. Asia Focus: Strengthening Governance to address Asia’s water challenges (28 Aug 2019)
Session overview, conclusion, and the presentation documents:
This session discussed to improve governance in the water sector such as measures to improve integrity of water utilities by tackling corruption, reform of institutional architectures, governance to address disaster risk management through the provision of proven scientific knowledge and dialogue, and the experience of adapting the Asian Development Bank’s proposed framework and methodologies of Asian Water Development Outlook 2020 to Thailand.
In the interactive panel discussion that followed the presentations, speakers and the audience reflected on the challenges faced to improve water governance and scale up good practices and ways to overcome them. These included innovative uses of data, reforming institutional architectures, building capacities at scale and the development of partnerships in water utilities, river basin committees, and disaster risk management offices, and the multi-stakeholders in water and the other sectors.
4. Asia Focus: Inclusive Financing for Water (28 Aug 2019)
5. Water Security for All: Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2020 (29 Aug 2019)
|1. Water cycle management towards
water security in Asia and Pacific
|2. Inclusive Asia-Pacific Rural water
and sanitation: Pathways to the SDGS
|3. Strengthening Governance
to address Asia’s water challenges
|4. Inclusive Financing for Water|
(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Manager)