4th WORLD WATER FORUM: LOCAL ACTIONS FOR A GLOBAL CHALLENGE
The World Water Forums were started on the decision of the World Water Council in 1997. The first Forum in Marrakech aimed to attract the attention of the world community to growing of water crisis on a global scale, the second Forum in the Hague in 2000 formulated a Water Vision for the whole globe as well as for individual continents and regions, the third Forum in Kyoto was dedicated to transforming the vision into a world action plan. Finally, the Forum held on 16-22 March in Mexico City at the Banamex Exhibition Hall brought together the participants under the motto: Local Actions for a Global Challenge.
The Forum included several directions: a technical session program; a ministerial conference; children’s platform: succession of generations; contests of journalists and films; and a large exhibition. Scientific-practical sessions were organized on thematic and continental principles: each day was dedicated to presenting one of the continents and discussing thematic aspects on the following program sections: water for development, integrated water resources management, water for food, water and environment, risk management. 25-33 sessions were held each day in three time stages on each of the directions. More than 20,000 people from 149 countries of the world took part in the Forum.
The Forum was a democratic platform for exchanging opinions and decisions being implemented in the field of water and water relations for different organizations and stakeholders from various countries and regions. It presented its tribunes to all – from Canada and Brazil, rich in water resources but demonstrating their actions for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and rational water use, to countries with extreme water deficit such as the Middle East countries having less than 300 cubic meters of available water resources per capita a year. Holland demonstrated its experience and progress in centuries-old struggle and victory over floods and marine natural disasters regardless of that a half of the country is much lower the sea level, while the world leader USA repented of sins and mistakes resulting to 100-billion losses from hurricane Katrina and flooding of the Mississippi delta. The world is full of contrasts, their lessons enable countries and regions to find right solutions in water resources.
The main outcomes of the previous Forum were reflected in the results of the thematic days, presented summarizing continental documents reviewing and evaluating local actions:
- water should be considered as a basis in all aspects of sustainable development, including struggle against hunger and natural disasters, rural and agricultural progress, providing population with water supply and sanitation; it should be necessary to include water policy in national priorities and assist local authorities;
- IWRM is a principal direction of water survival, ensuring broader involvement of stakeholders and organization of public-state partnership in water supply, sanitation and food security;
- building and development of local capacities for future development, including training, information technologies and systems, preparation of specialists, establishment of knowledge bases, participation of women have a principal importance for long-term sustainability of favorable water environment and water supply systems;
- the need for rapidly increasing capital investments and funding operational activity causes urgency to search sources and forms of additional financial resources to close a gap between their required and actual values, and broadly use an initiative of water users in reducing water costs per unit;
- lessons of water-related disasters over the last years and a successful experience in preventing them in separate countries show that costs for prediction, prevention, preparation, risk assessment, public warning and training in skills to control are much lower than for elimination of consequences;
- climate change is becoming more apparent in rise of frequency and scope of extreme situations that should be taken into account in planning water programs and measures.
On the Day of Asia, former Prime Minister of Japan Mr. R. Hashimoto declared a launch of an Asian-Pacific Water Forum that was supported by a number of ministers of the states in the region. In particular, thanking the United Nations for supporting the initiative of President E. Rakhmanov of Tajikistan on declaring the ongoing decade a Decade of Water for Life, Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources of Tajikistan A.A. Nazirov emphasized the role of cooperation between Central Asian countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The Ministerial Platform was dedicated to discussing a number of principal directions of water policy: funding water projects, building and maintaining capacity for development, water relations governance and its decentralization, technology transfer and water efficiency improvement, water monitoring and mechanisms, water and environment. The results of discussions were brought to a Ministerial Declaration.
The CIS were poorly presented at the Forum: the delegation of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia (ICWC) consisting of 19 people and the delegation of the International Fund for the Aral Sea Saving (IFAS) consisting of less people, two representatives from Azerbaijan, three representatives from the Russian Federation at the head of Mr. R.Z. Khamitov and one representative from Belorus. Of more than 100 sessions, only two ones were dedicated to water problems in Central Asia. Some issues related to the situation in the CIS were touched upon, in particular at the session on development and maintenance of water infrastructure, which noted catastrophic reduction in capacities of irrigated lands in Eastern Europe and the CIS: because of reduction not only in investments, but also in maintenance costs by 6-8 times that affected the operational capability of all water and irrigation systems. At the same time, specific achievement of Central Asian countries in implementation of IWRM (Kazakhstan, pilot projects in the Fergana Valley within the territory of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), development of infrastructure (Turkmenistan) and others were noted. The participation of leaders of water agencies in Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the Forum is pleasant, but it is a pity our fundamental and sectoral sciences and practices having large experience, peculiar approaches and achievements were presented at the Forum very poorly.
The day before this remarkable event in Mexico City, a General Meeting of the World Water Council took place, which outlined a new strategy for activities of the WWC and selected new membership for the Council Board. Loic Fauchon became President of the Council. Prof. V.A. Dukhovny, Vice President ICID, was selected as member of the World Water Council Board; Dr. P. Umarov, Director of the ICWC Training Center, was appointed his alternate. It was decided to hold the 5th World Water Forum in Turkey in 2009.
During the Forum, a meeting of the INBO took place, where it was declared that a center of this organization would be established in Moscow for Russian-speaking segment.
Prof. V.A. Dukhovny,
ICID Vice President,
World Water Council Board Member
4th WORLD WATER FORUM
SESSION “IWRM AS A BASIS FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL ASIA”
The session “IWRM as a Basis for Socio-Economic Development in Central Asia” initiated by the Scientific-Information Center ICWC and GWP CACENA by order of ICWC took place on 18 March 2006.
Vice President ICID, Director SIC ICWC Prof. V.A. Dukhovny and Secretary General ICID Prof. M. Gopalakrishnan delivered opening addresses.
The session was organized in the form of two panels, which were based on local actions implemented in the region.
Panel 1: Testing practical ways for introducing the IWRM concept into Central Asia in terms of pilot projects
Chairman: Dr. Vadim Sokolov, Chairman GWP CACENA
- Dr. Anatoliy Ryabtsev, Chairman, Committee for Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Kazakhstan
- Mr. Salimjan Dusmatov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Republic of Uzbekistan
- Prof. Yarash Pulatov, Director, NGO “Water”, Republic of Tajikistan
- Mrs. Eline Boelee, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia
Themes for discussion and results:
A number of the ongoing pilot projects represent a good basis for practical measures in reforming water management. The following projects are considered: (1) “IWRM in the Fergana Valley” funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and being implemented by the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan; (2) “Feasibility Study of IWRM in the Amudarya and Syrdarya Lowlands” funded by the US State Department and being implemented by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; (3) “National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan” funded by the Norwegian Government with the support of the UNDP and GWP CACENA; (4) “Acceleration of 2005 IWRM target implementation in Central Asia” funded by the UNEP’s Center for Cooperation on Water and Environment (UCC-Water) in close cooperation with the GWP CACENA.
Based on these projects, the following issues were discussed:
- role of the National Plan in implementing IWRM
- legal, institutional and managerial tools for IWRM
- defining the importance of public participation in IWRM
- socio-environmental peculiarities of IWRM in river lower reaches
- role of donors in implementing IWRM
- inter-sectoral and inter-level coordination
The real progress made in reforming water resources management in Central Asia will be presented, based on the results of the mentioned pilot projects, including organizational, institutional, technical and other measures under conditions of satisfactory financing and capacity building.
Panel 2: Stakeholder dialogue on directions of future water resources development in Central Asia
Chairman: Mr. Abdukokhir Nazirov, Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources, Republic of Tajikistan
- Mr. Begench Mommadov, Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Turkmenistan
- Dr. Malika Ikramova, Central Asian Scientific-Research Institute of Irrigation (SANIIRI), Republic of Uzbekistan
- Dr. Galina Stulina, leading specialist in climate change, Project “Addressing water scarcity and droughts in Central Asia induced by climate change”, Republic of Uzbekistan
- Prof. Nariman Kipshakbayev, Director, Kazakh branch of SIC ICWC
- Mr. Valeriy Syundyukov, President, Association “Kazakhstan Su Arnasy”, Republic of Kazakhstan
Themes for discussion and results:
- Issues of transboundary water management in Central Asia
- Central Asia Regional Water Information Base
- Climate change: case study of the Aral Sea basin
- Problems of the Aral Sea and Priaralie: ecological profile stabilization
- Water-energy problems in the Aral Sea basin.
During this discussion, the following important results were achieved: future development scenarios for each of the countries and the whole region with respective orientation to stable water supply; equitable water resources distribution among subbasins under considerable reduction in non-productive losses; introducing democratic water resources governance principles through the participation of all the stakeholders; solving of social issues related to equitable water distribution especially drinking water; solving of environmental issues related to economic activity; and finally, improving the productivity of water and land resources.
Mr. Hideaki Oda, Secretary General of the Japan Water Forum, delivered a closing speech.