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【JWF News Vol. 224】January 2023  A mountain of challenges to tackle in 2023

JWF News ❘ 18 January 2023
◇ Contents ◇
・Foreword A mountain of challenges to tackle in 2023
・Report from the Japan Water Forum
 - Darvish Yu Water Fund: Completion report of the 15th Project in Nepal
 - UN Groundwater Summit: the outcome of the side event about groundwater management in Asia and the Pacific

・Foreword A mountain of challenges to tackle in 2023
By Dr. Kotaro Takemura, Secretary General of the Japan Water Forum

At the start of the New Year
 At the start of 2023, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Just as I said at the beginning of last year, I feel hesitant to express my congratulations because the COVID-19 pandemic, which began two years ago, is still causing suffering. I hope that the pandemic comes to an end, enabling people to enjoy gatherings and events freely and safely as early as possible this year. However, COVID-19 or not, we have a mountain of challenges to tackle.

Presenting the Kumamoto Declaration at the UN 2023 Water Conference
 On April 23 and 24, 2022, the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit was convened in Kumamoto, Japan. The Kumamoto Declaration is a compilation of speeches delivered by heads of states and governments from the Asia-Pacific region on the resolution of water problems. It is the JWF’s mission to disseminate the Kumamoto Declaration to the world.

Several important opportunities for discussing the Kumamoto Declaration are coming up, including the UN Water Conference. From March 22 to 24, leaders from the Asia-Pacific region will surely deliver impassioned speeches there, just as they did at the Kumamoto summit. The Japan Water Forum will continue to promote the Kumamoto Declaration at a variety of other international conferences throughout the year.

Participation of youths in the UN 2023 Water Conference
 At the water summit in Kumamoto, high school students from the Kyushu region produced and presented three-minute videos. Participation of the youths injected a fresh spirit into the meeting and was a significant opportunity for inter-generational exchange. The Japan Water Forum called on high school students to submit videos as a way of facilitating youth activities. There were twenty submissions from across Japan. We intend to show these videos at the UN 2023 Water Conference. In the run-up to this, we are holding an online symposium with youths from throughout Japan on February 4th. Accordingly, the results of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit will ready to be presented to the world.

A new challenge: Administrative reform to transfer water supply management 
 Last year saw an important milestone in water administration in Japan. It was decided that water administration, currently under the control of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, will be transferred to other administrative bodies. From 2024, water quality control will be placed under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment, and responsibility for water supply will be transferred to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

 As far as I have experienced, this is a revolutionary change in water administration. The MLIT will take over responsibility for all water supply programs in every municipality across Japan.

  In the future, the MLIT will be responsible for supplying inexpensive and clean water to the Japanese public by supervising water supply operators, and providing equitable river management administration to all water users for agriculture, industry, and power generation.  

With these changes in water administration, the JWF’s long-sought-after goal of cross-sectional cooperation in water administration will become a reality. The JWF will continue to exchange knowledge and opinions with people from a wide range of areas in order to improve cross-sectional cooperation.  Through this process, we intend to make consistent efforts to contribute to the achievement of a sound basin water cycle based on water control for safe and secure water use.  We have numerous problems surrounding the achievement of a sound water cycle. I believe that the best way to contribute to the resolution of global water challenges is through constant efforts to establish a sound basin water cycle. We look forward to your continued support and cooperation.    

・Report from the Japan Water Forum

– Darvish Yu Water Fund: Completion report of the 15th Project in Nepal

In March 2007, Darvish Yu, a member of the San Diego Padres Major League baseball team, established the Darvish Yu Water Fund in collaboration with the Japan Water Forum to supply safe and clean water to those in need in developing countries. Since then, he has contributed to the fund by donating JPY 100,000 for every one of his winning games during the regular season.
So far, the Fund has subsidized 15 projects in 11 countries.

This project was implemented in a school where the existing water supply system had deteriorated, preventing students from practicing good hygiene and subjecting them to water-related diseases. The project improved inclusive access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. It also improved the hygiene behavior of students, teachers, and the wider community.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼

(Reported by Tabata Miyo, Manager)


– UN Groundwater Summit: the outcome of the side event about groundwater management in Asia and the Pacific

The UN Groundwater Summit was held at the UNESCO HQ in Paris on 7-8th December 2022. It is the first summit that the UN has focused on groundwater. UNESCO and International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) co-organized the conference. Before the main conference, the official side event was organized on 6 December 2022. I organized a side event focused on groundwater management in Asia and the Pacific. I introduce the outcomes below.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼

(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Chief Manager, Japan Water Forum)

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JWF News Vol. 224 / 18 January 2023
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