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APWF Co-organized the 5 sessions in the Stockholm World Water Week 2023 “Enhancing Local Resilience through Water-Culture-Innovation Nexus”

Introduction of the Outcomes of the Sessions

The Stockholm World Water Week 2023 took place from 20 to 24 August 2023 in a hybrid format of the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Center and online. The overarching theme for this year was “Seeds of Change: Innovative Solutions for a Water-Wise World.”

According to the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the conference’s secretariat, 15,000 participants from 192 countries engaged in the conference, attending either in-person or virtually. Among these attendees, 73% were first-time participants, and 41% were young professionals.

Aligned with the 2023’s central theme, the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) co-hosted the five sessions and collaborated with the diverse organizations below.

1. Enhancing Local Resilience through Water-Culture-Innovation Nexus

2. Quest for the Holy Grail: accelerating investment in water 

3. Adapting to Climate Change: Innovative Approaches to Water Governance

4. Breaking with Business as Usual: Sanitation Innovations in the Asia-Pacific

5. Collaborate to Accelerate: Innovating for future-focused water security

The following is a concise summary of the outcomes derived from these collaborative sessions.

As of this November, all conference sessions are available for free viewing on YouTube. We trust that you will find these resources valuable.

  •  Enhancing Local Resilience through Water-Culture-Innovation Nexus
  • 21st August 11:00 am – 12:30 pm CEST  (Hybrid)
  • Conveners: APWF, UNESCO multisectoral Regional Office for East Asia, Asian Development Bank (ADB), GWP CACENA, International WaterCentre

In this session, distinguished speakers presented evidence-based practical and intellectual case studies from India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Malaysia, the Aral Sea, and the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa, Japan) about Water-Culture-Innovation Nexus that is how people manage their water resources, their adaptation to the environment in which they live, and innovations to improve greater efficiency, protection, and sustainability in water environments, and how such nexus would enhance resilience.

In this session, H.E. Dr. Ir. M. Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of Public Works and Housing, Republic of Indonesia, kindly delivered the Opening Remarks for this session. He firstly pointed out that while the Heads of State Governments and high-level experts and practitioners pledged to commit to Sustainable, Resilient, and inclusive societies in Asia and the Pacific during the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in April 2022, current approaches pose a risk not to meet any international water-related goals. He highlighted the importance of evaluating and improving water resource management strategies and advocated for enhancing local resilience through the water culture and innovation nexus. He underscored the significance of understanding and integrating local cultural values in managing water resources, especially in facing population growth, demography shifts, global changes, and climate change. Considering that two-thirds of global water-related disasters occur in Asia and the Pacific, we must leverage indigenous knowledge to manage water resources effectively. Calling for cross-sectoral cooperation, He emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary decision-making processes transcending national, regional, and cultural boundaries. The nexus of water, culture, and innovation is essential for positive impacts on food, energy, urban development, and regional peace. He then proposed to develop a roadmap addressing the nexus of water, culture, and innovation for countries and communities in the region. He introduced the upcoming 10th World Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia, on May 2024, which would be an opportunity to showcase Bali’s unique Hindu-based water management system. He invited active participation in thematic, regional, and political processes of the 10th World Water Forum.

In panel discussion among the speakers and audiences, we discussed how one can create a holistic approach that leverages both the latest technological advancements and the collective wisdom of communities, ultimately enhancing the overall effectiveness of disaster risk reduction efforts by integrating water culture and innovation into an early warning system and the other hard and soft measures. We highlighted that we need to understand better the nexus of water-culture-innovation for countries and communities in the region, particularly the role of culture in our present and future early warning and hydrologic solutions. We also discussed how best to utilize the well of wisdom in our region and deliver recommendations for actions to decision-makers in the region for culturally informed water innovations. We then discussed how we can adopt IWRM, using water culture information on each local scale, and find a practical approach.

The speakers underscored the necessity of constructing a multidisciplinary approach. This approach encompasses global scientific knowledge, innovation, and technological solutions tailored to address water-related disasters while respecting indigenous water knowledge systems in Asia-Pacific. Furthermore, the discussions emphasized integrating tangible and intangible aspects into regional solutions for water-related challenges in Asia and the Pacific.

The ensuing panel discussion delved into the imperative for facilitators to facilitate harmonizing global science, local science, and indigenous wisdom within water resources management and disaster risk management. Integral to this pursuit is recognizing the need for cohesive guidelines to navigate diverse entities’ challenges.

Session video

(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Chief Manager)

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