The Fourth Asia-Pacific Water Summit (4th APWS), convening under the theme, “Water for Sustainable Development—Best Practices and the Next Generation,” opened in Kumamoto City, Japan, with in-person and virtual participation.
During the opening ceremony, Yoshiro Mori, President, Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), welcomed participants to the 4th APWS. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister, Japan, hailed the summit as an important opportunity to unite efforts for sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a video message, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, called for prioritizing financing to improve water management, better cooperation to enhance resilience, and accelerated action.
Kazufumi Onishi, Mayor of Kumamoto City, expressed pride in the city’s groundwater quality, which, due to historic lava flows, provides its people with “mineral water from the tap.”
In a keynote speech, Emperor Naruhito said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have rallied the global community to meet international development goals, but lamented that the water-related goals will not be met without considerably increasing efforts in this area.
Heads of State and Government Meeting
Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida presented the Kumamoto Declaration, pledging Japan’s support, including through sharing advanced technologies for improved water management in dams, sewage systems and agriculture, as well as financial assistance of ca. 500 billion yen over the next five years. He also called for the region to “speak with one voice” against Russia’s “outrageous invasion of Ukraine.”
Changhua Wu, APWF, read out the Kumamoto Declaration and called on the 4th APWS to address barriers, breakthroughs, opportunities, and ways forward for reform and improvement of the water sector in the three areas of governance, finance, and science and technology.
Heads of states and government adopted the Declaration, and presented country experiences in water resource management.
Parallel sessions were held on:
- Water and the environment: from source to sea, discussing the importance of the hydrological water cycle for nature and human societies.
- Water and disaster/climate change, which presented joint work of national and international organizations to address end-to-end efforts on water and climate change adaptation.
- Water supply, highlighting the need to improve governance and integrity, and the promotion of tariff models supporting sustainability and affordability of water.
- Innovation by youth, addressing how to meaningfully, intentionally, and purposefully engage youth to drive projects contributing to meeting the SDGs.
- Wastewater management, which discussed the need for well-organized governance, as well as investment through public-private partnerships, based on principles such as “polluter pays” and full cost recovery.
- Water, poverty and gender, which took up gender-inclusive and poverty reduction policies and initiatives related to governance, science and technology, and finance to address water security and risk resilience.
A special session showcasing model initiatives utilizing science and technology for governance and ways of promoting quality-oriented societies was also held.
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