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No. 8 (19) March 2003


3rd World Water Forum was held in period 16-23 of March in Japan, in 3 cities, located in basin of Biwa Lake and Yodo River – Kyoto, Osaka, and Shiga. About 12.000 inhabitants of Japan and 8.000 invitees from above 170 world countries took part in this forum organized by World Water Council and Government of Japan.

Enormous preparatory work all over the world has preceded this forum. Special web-site was opened, where except information about forum, press-releases virtual water conferences as well as database on project “Water Voice” were placed, preliminary discussions were conducted in many national and international organizations, where all stockholders on water problems and related prospects of global development were involved.

Due to sponsorship of Government of Japan and Asian Development Bank more than 30 representatives of region participated in forum: ministers and deputy ministers of water management and agriculture, and environment of region countries, governmental organizations and regional water organizations – ICWC, EC IFAS, SDC.

ICWC organized exhibition “Central Asia in the way towards water partnership” and actively worked in many forum measures. Opening ceremony of Day of Asia, conducted by President of International Fund for Aral Sea Saving, President of Tajikistan E. Rakhmonov, impressed greatly. President of Tajikistan has demonstrated background of initiated collaboration between Aral Sea basin countries, how they are developing and what assistance we receive from international sponsors.

Chairman of Forum National Preparatory Committee Mr. R. Hashimoto and President of World Water Council Mr. M. Abu-Zeid opened forum. Following persons greeted forum participants: Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, Prince of Orange Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. President of France J. Chirac addressed Forum delegates in videotape.

After opening ceremony the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize of giving ceremony was held. Prince of Morocco Moulay Rachid handed in prize to M. Abu-Zeid (Egypt) and J. Kelman (Brazil) “for contribution in water resources management and development”.

Further, during 6 days – from 16 to 23 of March – forum participants have opportunity to discuss problems on 351 sessions integrated in 33 themes and 5 regional days. Themes included set of sessions integrated according to some common feature: water and climate; water supply, sanitation and water pollution; water and environment; IWRM; water, agriculture, and food; water and poverty eradication; dams and sustainable development, etc. Sessions were also grouped according to “geographical” feature into regional days: Africa, Asia, and Oceania; America; Middle East and Mediterranean region; Europe.

On March 22-23 Ministerial Conference was held. There was discussion also divided into 5 directions: safe drinking water and sanitation; water for food and development; prevention of water pollution and conservation of ecosystems; poverty liquidation and risk management; water resources management and profit distribution. Conference ended by adopting Ministerial Declaration and “Portfolio of Water Actions”.

Objective of “Water Voice” project is collection of different opinions and ideas related water over the world including places without access to Internet. Collected ideas have served as basis for discussions on water problems’ solution.

During project implementation above 27.000 messages were collected from 2045 registered Messengers of “Water Voice” and 168 partner organizations from 147 countries of the world.

We have collected and set 133 messages in database of project “Water Voice” on forum server. On assessment results carried out by Forum Secretariat SIC ICWC Director V.A. Dukhovny, registered as Messenger of “Water Voice” has been included in 20 best Messengers of “Water Voice” and awarded with special prize. Chairman of National Preparatory Committee, ex-premier minister of Japan Mr. R. Hashimoto gave this prize.

Basic objective of virtual conferences organized on the threshold of Forum – discuss water issues and already “submit” Forum some proposals and decisions.

ICWC Scientific-Information Center opened virtual conference “Central Asia – towards integral partnership” on February, 20, 2002. This conference mainly aims to involve water experts and all, who concern Aral Sea basin problems, in water management process and partnership of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Many water organization of region, being budget ones, face troubles with connecting Internet and installing e-mail. Therefore, beside initiating active multilateral dialogue SIC ICWC experts assisted in setting in WWF-3 site messages coming from water experts of Central Asia.

Our conference exists 1 year, and already 100 messages from 43 persons from 9 countries were received. On results of complex estimates carried out by Forum Secretariat our conference takes 4 place in the world.

Within frameworks of Forum Day of Asia special session all devoted to Aral Sea basin problems was conducted on March 18, 2003.

Session “Cooperation in integrated water resources use in Central Asia: experience of the past and problems of the future” was organized by ICWC jointly with ADB and UN University. Beside above mentioned organizations representatives of IFAS, SDC, NGOs form Central-Asian countries, CIDA, Kyoto and Tokyo Universities took part in session.

Following officials took part in session: Vice-Premier Minister of Kyrgyz Republic B. Mambetov, Director General of ADB Division of East and Central Asia M. Tusneem, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Management of Kyrgyz Republic J. Bekbolotov, Rector of UN University H. van Ginkel.

Following officials presented key reports:

I. Kobori, Senior Adviser, UN University; S. Aslov, EC IFAS Chairman - «IFAS activity in Aral Sea basin»; A. Jalalov, First Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Management of Uzbekistan - «Effective water resources use in market economy conditions in Central Asia»; H. Tsusui, Prof. from Kinki University - «Japanese researches’ involvement in Aral Sea problems’ solution»; J. Bogardi, UNESCO - «UNESCO role in solution of the Aral Sea problems».

Session work was organized as 3 discussion panels:

1. Past experience and future opportunities of regional cooperation in water resources management in Central Asia; Chairman – Minister of Water Management of Tajikistan A. Nazy rov.

Following officials presented key reports:

A. Ryabtsev, Chairman of Committee for Water Resources of Kazakhstan - «10 years of experience in shared water resources management in the Aral Sea basin»; B. Mambetov, Vice-Premier Minister of Kyrgyz Republic - «Regional cooperation improvement in water resources management in the Aral Sea basin – needs and alternatives»; G. LeMoigne, international expert on transboundary water resources - «Involvement of donors in the Aral Sea basin issues: future tasks and opportunities»; M. Bromhead, Manager of Natural Resources Division, World Bank - «Strategic trends of ASBP and World Bank activity».

2. Integrated water resources management in context of the Aral Sea basin; Chairman – 1st Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Management of Kyrgyz Republic B. Koshmatov.

Following officials presented key reports:

V. Dukhovny, SIC ICWC Director - «Recent IWRM experience and problems in the Aral Sea basin»; D. McKinney, Texas University - «IWRM in context of basin water management».

3. Environmental issues in the Aral Sea basin; Chairman – 1st Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Management of Uzbekistan A.Jalalov.

Following officials presented key reports:

U. Shokirov, Minister of Environment Conservation of Tajikistan - «Environmental issues of the Aral Sea basin and role of different water users in their decision»; N. Ishida, Kyoto University, researcher - «Aspects of recent environmental changes in the Aral Sea basin»; O. Ataniyazova, Director of Experimental Medical Center, Karakalpakstan.

Session resulted in establishment of basic points of discussions by delegations of Central Asia states as statement:

«Time of analysis, crying, sympathy, and critiques has passed. It’s high time for real actions. It is necessary to create basis for peace, well-being, and improvement of environment, which should be transferred to next generation. We must make principal attempts:

1. Creation of mutual understanding, longing for consensus among all participants of water use, management, and conservation, “hydrosolidarity” instead of “hydroegoism” demand formation of appropriate political climate – both at international and national level, to disseminate principles of integrated water resources management at basin, national, and local levels.

2. Mutual understanding among all parties interested in fact that planning, management, and conservation of water resources can’t be grounded on temporary decisions: water penetrates in every point of society and environment, and we must reject everything that brings damage, rifts, and failures. Only properly balanced long-term decisions regarding future may increase activity in our situation!

3. Information network development not only at different levels of water resources management hierarchy, but also in environmental organizations and NGOs with broad communication network will open the window to the world for water users, water managers, and all stakeholders. Primary priority for such activity in region is contribution of donors.

4. Training and education should be concentrated on creation of knowledge and experience of targeted groups of expert-practicians as well as formation of traditional attitude to water as shrine for all CAR peoples beginning from the childhood.

5. International water right should be stricter and obligatory for fulfillment. Some principal provisions could be useful for solving international transboundary issues:

  • Ecologically permissible water use level in every basin;
  • Criteria of equitable water allocation;
  • Diplomatic status of regional water organizations.

6. Donors’ contribution in Aral Sea basin program is very important part of support of cooperation between states as well as dissemination of integrated water resources management. Broader involvement of local experience, priority in promotion of ecological projects would be good response for requirements of WWF-3.

We are greeting proceeding assistance of international community in such important areas as preparation and implementation of Aral Sea Basin Program-2, development of interstate agreements and building capacity of regional organizations.

Donors, in particular ADB, World Bank, USAID, CIDA, UN and others, manifested increasing interest to assisting Aral Sea basin states in deciding complex tasks of water resources management, their use and water-related issues to provide long-term political, economical, and social stability in region. Donors reached understanding about that basin countries should mobilize coordinated efforts at high political level to support regional cooperation, having taken real actions and financial responsibilities”.

In conclusion CAR Delegation expressed gratitude and presented souvenirs to ADB representatives and WWF-3 Secretariat for financial support of Central Asia Delegation.