The 3RD Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) Strengthens Multi-Stakeholders Approach To Achieve Water Secure World

Water is the interconnector of all other sectors; Therefore, it is not possible to support sectors development without understanding the role of water as one of the important development foundation. As important as it is, water is still considered as social goods and do not have value by development actors. This condition has created a very complex challenge for the development of water sector itself. In Asia Pacific region, the complexities of water challenges then urged the establishment of The Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) in Asia Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) was initially proposed by the participants during the 4th World Water Forum (WWF) Regional Preparatory Process that was coordinated by Japan Water Forum (JWF). At the 4th WWF,, regional documents coordinated by JWF and 5 sub-regional coordinators (Korea Water Forum, Global Water Partnership, (GWP) Southeast Asia, GWP South Asia, GWP CACENA, and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC)) together with regional water stakeholders reported on the Asia-Pacific region’s formidable water related challenges. Asia-Pacific countries are closely related through water and its many phenomenon. Water supports Asia-Pacific lives and livelihoods, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and the economic benefits agriculture, fisheries, industry, transportation and commerce; However, water also brings hazards and has faced variety of challenges. This situation had proven the need of strong integrated efforts and partnership among water-related stakeholders from all element at all level. Based on this report, on the Asia-Pacific Day at the 4th WWF, the first establishment of the APWF was announced in September 2006.[1]

Referring to the urgency of the importance of a forum to facilitate stakeholders in water resources, APWF facilitates the bi-annual summit known as the Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS). The first APWS was held in Japan in 2007, which was focusing on Water security and its Commitment and Leadership. The second APWS was held in Thailand in 2014, with Water Security and Water-related Disaster Challenges as its focus theme. The recent third APWS was held in Yangon, Myanmar, on the 11-12 December 2017 focusing on Water Security for Sustainable Development.

The objectives of the 3rd APWS are: (i) to set out a course for the sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region with a perspective of water; (ii) to provide and share concrete actions, solutions, innovation towards transboundary; and (ii) multi-partnership cooperation for integrated water resources, water-based economy and implementation globally agreed agendas. All series of Asia-Pacific Water Summit which has been conducted since 2007 aimed and focused on integrated partnership among high level panel and water experts on water security to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) 6: Water & Sanitation for All - Ensure Availability Sustainable Management of Water & Sanitation for All,  also SDGs 17: Partnership for The Goals - Strengthen the Means of Implementation and Revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development across Asia-Pacific regions.

In the 3rd APWS, Global Water Partnership provided significant contribution through the session of Working Together: Multi-Stakeholders Partnerships for Regional Cooperation. Specifically for GWP-Southeast Asia contributions, H.E. Watt Botkosal (Chairman of GWP SEA) delivered the challenges and way forward of Multi-Stakeholders Platform (MSPs) of The Mekong River Commission. In addition to that, Myanmar Water Partnership also presented Myanmar’s MSPs experience delivered by Dr. Zaw Lwin Tun (Chair of Myanmar Water Partnership).

In different session of Improving Sanitation and Wastewater Management, GWP Southeast Asia contribution was represented by Fany Wedahuditama (Regional Coordinator of GWP-SEA) as one of the panelists.

In overall, the 3rd APWS has once again shown the world the importance of water and how working together is the new normal. No organization can work alone as the challenges build up even stronger with the rapid climate change situation. Through a strong multi-stakeholder partnership approach and forums like APWF, GWP, and many other important forums, we could strengthen the commitment and achieve a water secure world.