JWF participated in the fifth meeting of the Roundtable on Financing Water held in the headquarter of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), located in Manila, Philippines, on 26-27 November 2019.
The Roundtable on Financing Water is a global public and private platform on the global scale to promote action to scale up financing for water. It has been jointly established by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Government of the Netherlands, the World Water Council and the World Bank. It conducts open dialogue and exchange opinions between key actors in the water and finance sectors about the need and priorities to ensure adequate financing for water and the opportunity for investment for water infrastructure, which is required for the enhancement of attaining water security and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This was the fourth roundtable to be organized since the first roundtable was held back in April 2017.
2．Overview of the Fifth meeting of the Roundtable on Financing Water
The fifth Roundtable became the first regional meeting, especially in Asia and the Pacific as the ADB hosted the meeting. The specific objectives of the meeting included the sharing of the experience, lessons learned and good practices from the region, and the identification of the range of financing instruments and approaches to mobilize commercial finance and scale up financing for water-related investments. It also included a discussion to promote engagement across the public and private sectors, especially from the finance community. Though the meeting was by invitation-only, there were roughly 100 participants in total from government organizations, financial institutions, international organizations, philanthropies, academia, NPO, consultants, and the ADB’s officials. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Sewage Works Agency/Japan Sanitation Consortium, and Japan Water Forum joined the Roundtable meeting from Japan.
The meeting was held over 2 days, with 8 sessions organized. On Day 1, the ADB first set the scene, sharing their outlook and key challenges, such as the rationale for the need for investment and financing capacities. This was followed by a presentation of case studies from private sector participation in water distribution and wastewater treatment in China, as an example of financing within the water value chain, in instances where there is no sovereign guarantee. In addition, the opportunities for financing, managing water-related risks by improving resilience and adapting to climate change, and landscape-based financing, including with a focus on the river basin, were shared and their challenges discussed. On Day 2, the themes discussed included the mobilization of commercial finance and risk management, with some specific country examples provided, as well as the cases to improve performance and creditworthiness of water and sanitation service providers. The session to introduce practical examples to increase financing flows for water-related investments in Asia followed. For example, JICA introduced the Phillippine Water Revolving Fund, which is the joint initiative between JICA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Japan Sewage Works Agency/Japan Sanitation Consortium introduced their financing wastewater management in Japan initiative.
During the panel discussion on Day 2, the participants of the least developed countries in Asia and the Pacific voiced their expectation that the expenditure of public funds would eventually be reduced through the emergence of Public-Private Partnerships and the privatization of water services. The practitioners, such as the ADB, advised them to study the negative aspects of such a transition and to examine the measures suited to the local conditions of their respective countries and municipalities. The participants of the Roundtable meeting also pointed out the problems of competition among the donor agencies and the emerging new issues related to various donor agencies’ expanding presence in developing countries with their own concepts of projects. They then emphasized the necessity of appropriate coordination among the donors for water infrastructure development and investment.
The discussions of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit to be held on 19-20 October 2020, will include financing for water, such as the new financing schemes that do not solely rely on the conventional public funds. These include for instance, the combination of financing and investment from the private sector in order to disseminate quality infrastructure in the water sector, which enables sound water cycle management in Asia and the Pacific, as referred to during this Roundtable on Financing Water. In order to overcome the challenges of financing for water in Asia and the Pacific region and to mobilise more finance, in addition to the participation of the Heads of State and Government, the participation of many private sector entities in the 4th APWS is necessary. Together, they can discuss the challenges that each of them faces and seek solutions jointly. Your further cooperation is greatly appreciated for the 4th APWS, wherein both the public and private sectors join to cope with the challenges faced by the water sector.
The Background documents of each session of the fifth Roundtable on Financing Water and the presentation documents used in the meeting are available from the following OECD homepage
▼OECD Website: Fifth meeting of the Roundtable on Financing Water▼
(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Manager)