UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 
Bangkok, Thailand, 27 - 28 October 2003

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 Highlights for Monday, 27 October 2003

The CSD Regional Implementation Meeting for the Asia and Pacific region opened today at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants heard panel and multistakeholder presentations providing a regional overview on the state of implementation in water and sanitation, and exchanged national and regional experiences and lessons learned. Break-out sessions also took place focusing on regional experiences in the Asia, Central Asia and Pacific regions.

Above photo L-R: JoAnne DiSano, Director for UNDESA’s Division for Sustainable Development Robert England, UNDP Resident Coordinator, Surachai Sasisuwan, Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Keiko Okaido, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, Toru Shimizu, Japan, Ravi Sawhney, Secretariat.




Opening plenary:

Left photo: Keiko Okaido, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, said this meeting seeks to identify major achievements, constraints, and opportunities in the implementation of the internationally-agreed goals relating to water, sanitation and human settlements.

Right photo: JoAnne DiSano, Director for UNDESA’s Division for Sustainable Development, highlighted the key role of national, regional and subregional input in the success of the WSSD, and briefed participants on the outcomes of CSD-11 relating to the Commission’s new programme and organization of work.

Left photo: Surachai Sasisuwan, Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, outlined Thailand’s efforts to address the key challenge of increasing village water supply, highlighting, inter alia, the importance of improving water governance, participation and decentralization, and monitoring performance. 

Right photo: Robert England, UNDP Resident Coordinator, recommended that UN agencies support national efforts in implementing MDG goals and WSSD outcomes, and that governments incorporate water and sanitation issues in their poverty reduction strategies.

In a video statement, CSD-12 Chair Børge Brende, Norway’s Minister for Environment, said the regional conferences are prerequisites for engendering a productive debate on reaching the MDG targets and for identifying the obstacles in, and regional contributions to, delivering better water supply, sanitation and living conditions.

Election of Officers:

Delegates elected Aybi Siddiqi (Bangladesh) and Toru Shimuzu (Japan) as Co-chairs, and Adi Sarwako (Indonesia) as Rapporteur by acclamation.

Left photo: Delegate from Lao People's Democratic Republic nominating  Bangladesh, Japan and Indonesia as officers of the meeting.

Right photo (center): Chair Aybi Siddiqi (Bangladesh) being assisted by Ravi Sawhney (left) and David Jezeph (right) of the Secretariat.

Regional Overview of State of Implementation on Water and Sanitation:

Right photo: David Jezeph (center), Water Resources Division of UNESCAP, reviewed the water supply and sanitation situation in South, Southeast and Northern Asia, noting that the region is home to three of four of the world’s most populated countries and contains the most eroded lands, most polluted cities, and majority of the world’s population without access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Bulat Yessekin (left), Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC), reported on progress reached in the implementation of Agenda 21 in Central Asia, highlighting the key challenges of improving governance, building capacity of governments and civil society, and creating effective partnerships.

Presenting on the Pacific Island States, John Low (right), Independent Consultant, noted the special challenges faced by island countries in managing the water sector, highlighting their small size, natural vulnerability, and limited human and financial resources.

Left photo: Dulal Biswas,  representing the Youth underscored the importance of enhancing employment opportunities in the water supply sector and described the key challenges of safe water supply in Bangladesh.

Right photo: Arthur Regis Barrit, representing trade unions said the unions address health and occupational safety issues related to water and sanitation.

Left photo: Mrinal Kanti Tripura, representing indigenous peoples recommended providing financial resources to, and improving participation of, indigenous peoples in the implementation process and partnerships and paying greater attention to cultural diversity in the implementation efforts.

Right photo: Elenita Daño, representing NGOs called for: effective participation of the communities and key stakeholders in addressing the concerns related to water and sanitation issues; focus on preventive holistic water management approaches incorporating risk-reduction strategies; and the recognition of the linkages between water and sanitation and other sectoral policies and issues, including food security.

Exchange of National and Regional experiences and lessons:

Left photo: Seiya Kinoshita (Japan), presented on the outcomes of the 3rd World Water Forum Ministerial Conference, highlighting the PWA, a compilation of over 500 actions submitted by countries and international organizations.

Right photo: Kazuya Kumagai (Japan), also outlined the draft Partnership Project Plan of Water Environment Partnership in Asia, designed to promote integrated water management planning.

Bangladesh presented on the recent national focus in sanitation, describing successful efforts to replace unhygienic latrines and clean dirty water bodies.

India discussed the challenges in water supply management in urban and rural areas, noting the importance of, inter alia: promoting private sector participation, user charges, and demand-driven approaches; addressing the issue of low drinking water quality; scaling-up of water management reforms; and linking water supply and sanitation problems to the issue of human settlements.

China presented its national assessment report on progress in sustainable development in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements, outlined the country’s major achievements and expressed the country’s commitment to regional and international cooperation on water issues. 

Australia described its approach to sustainable water management incorporating, inter alia: integrated water reform framework; financial assistance to on-the-ground initiatives; strategies to balance environmental and water requirements; water management planning processes; water access entitlements; water trading; private sector participation; and community education.
Iran outlined its plans for sustainable water management, inter alia: integrated demand-driven water management; greater efficiency of water use in agricultural sector; the stabilization of ground water withdrawal; ecosystem approach to water resource development; strengthened role of women in water affairs; and the use of water pricing strategies, environmental impact assessments, and risk management approach.

Left photo: The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) presented on the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment, and discussed the challenges of urban water management in Asia.

Right photo: Malaysia noted challenges in demand-side management, highlighting the need to construct new capital works and reduce non-revenue water losses.

Break-out sessions:

The Asia group (above) was chaired by R.S Prasad (India) and rapporteured by Mushtaq Ahmed Memon (IGES). On steps taken to promote effective IWRM and water use plans, several countries, including Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, and Thailand outlined actions and reforms taken at the national, river-basin and local levels.

Photo Below L-R: Central Asian break-out group and the Pacific break-out group

Above photo: Pulatkhon Umarov (Uzbekistan), outlined the key points addressed during the break-out session.

Above photo: Rapporteur Mushtaq Memon (IGES) briefed delegates on the responses of each country to the questions posed.

Above photo: Kumaras Kalim (Papua New Guinea), Rapporteur for the Pacific region break-out session, presented the outcome of the session�s discussion, focusing on the Pacific island States. On steps taken to promote effective IWRM and water-use plans, she said the WSSD and 3rd World Water Forum were milestones for the Pacific islands for identifying and prioritizing steps toward IWRM, and for establishing proper legislation and mechanisms to this end.

Links to further information:  

*UN Division for Sustainable Development Regional Implementation Meetings:


*ENB summary of CSD-11

*ENB coverage of WSSD

*ENB coverage of previous CSD sessions
*Linkage's Portal to the Johannesburg Summit 2002

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