Report of main proceedings for 18 March 2003

3rd World Water Forum

On Tuesday, delegates to the 3rd World Water Forum (3WWF) attended the Joint Ceremony of Osaka Day and Water and Cities, which was followed by dialogues on Water and Information, Groundwater, and Public Private Partnerships. In Kyoto, participants heard presentations and wrap-up plenaries on Water, Nature and Environment, Water, Food and Environment, and Water and Transport. The Youth World Water Forum was held, and the Regional Day addressed water issues of the Americas.


The 3WWF in Osaka opened with a traditional drum and puppet performance and a greeting from Rytaro Hashimoto, Chair of the 3WWF National Steering Committee, in which he related the themes of the meeting to the city of Osaka. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, President of the WWC, highlighted inadequate and unsafe water as a bottleneck to development and noted the need for public private partnerships (PPPs). Ramos Fidel V, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, emphasized the need for cooperation, and compensation for those impacted by infrastructure development. Fusae Ohta, Governor of Osaka Prefecture and President of the Osaka Committee of the 3WWF, highlighted the shared water resources of the three cities hosting the Forum. Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT, stated that resolving water issues is key to developing sustainable human settlements. She said that cities are the engines of economic growth and depend on clean water. She urged participants to identify action issues for incorporating into the Ministerial Declaration. Regarding PPPs, one participant noted that water cannot simultaneously be a commodity and a human right.


WATER AND NATURE INITIATIVE: THE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH TO BASIN MANAGEMENT: This session was chaired by Achim Steiner, IUCN, and convened by IUCN. Ger Bergkamp, IUCN, introduced IUCNs Water and Nature Initiative, which promotes an ecosystem approach to sustainable water management of river basins and catchments. The approach embraces the principles of equity, efficiency, sustainability, legitimacy, accountability, and subsidiarity, and engages stakeholders in decision-making and the building of coalitions.

Dipak Gyawali, Nepalese Minister of Water Resources, remarked on several strategic objectives for ecosystem management in river basins and encouraged communities to be partners in conservation. Noting that ecosystem considerations are often inadequately addressed, Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy, remarked on the concept of ecological sustainability and stressed the need to improve ways of knowledge sharing.

Lucy Emerton, IUCN, presented on water-based ecosystem service payments, emphasizing that ecosystems generate multiple benefits and savings for water supply and quality. She suggested considering ecosystems as "water infrastructure" that can be valued. S. Parasuraman, ActionAid, presented a social perspective on a wetlands biodiversity conservation project in four Southeast Asian countries. He focused on capacity building as an opportunity to integrate peoples views into the project.

Julius Sarmett, Pangani Basin Water Office, outlined an example of coalition building for integrated river-basin management (IRBM) in Tanzania. He noted lessons learned, including that coalitions take time to build, that coalition building is continuous, and that physical interventions are necessary. In summary, Chair Steiner said the presentations challenge existing paradigms of water use and management. He questioned whether the ecosystem approach offers a real step forward or whether it is simply a way for the environmental community to "frame" the sustainable water resources development debate.

FRESHWATER AND COAST A MISSING LINK IN INTEGRATED WATER MANAGEMENT: Organized by the UNEP Global Programme of Action (GPA), UNEP Collaborating Center on Water and Environment (UCC-Water), and University of Delaware, this session was chaired by Martin Adriaanse, UNEP-GPA.

Torkil Jnch-Clausen, GWP, highlighted the link made between IWRM and integrated coastal and river-basin management (ICARM) at the WSSD and introduced the GWPs IWRM ToolBox. Stephen Olsen, University of Rhode Island, noted that coasts are the primary human habitat and underlined similarities between river basin and integrated coastal zone management. He stressed the importance of enabling conditions and behavioral change. Niels Ipsen, UCC-Water, illustrated cases of integrated freshwater and coastal management, noted the lack of examples of successful large-scale practices, and presented recommendations from a recent workshop on Linking Management of Catchment and Coastal Ecosystems held in Songkhla, Thailand. Martin Adriaanse identified guiding principles of ICARM, which include: identifying and prioritizing issues, analyzing cause and effect between river catchment and coastal areas, defining problems, securing political commitment, ensuring an enabling environment for management, and educating and engaging stakeholders.

Discussion: Panel Chair Biliana Cicin-Sain, University of Delaware, noted that although there has been a growth in coastal management systems, these are still small-scale and in the planning stages. She illustrated efforts to get oceans, coasts and islands on the global water agenda, and highlighted the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands. Jnch-Clausen noted that coasts are currently not mentioned in the draft Ministerial Declaration and urged including them. Participants agreed to forward recommendations from the Songkhla workshop to ministers, with an added mention of small island developing States.

WRAP-UP PLENARY: This session was chaired by Achim Steiner. Ruhakana Rugunda, Ugandan Minister for Water, Lands and Environment, said that poverty alleviation is the "number one" environmental goal for African countries. He stressed the need to increase awareness and understanding of the economic value of wetlands goods and services. He said there is a need to ensure that global environmental issues and decisions receive adequate attention at the national and regional levels, and that environmental and economic development are mutually reinforcing. Louise Fresco, FAO, stressed that food needs are not negotiable and called for an integrated approach to rural and agricultural development. She said there is a need to "think globally and re-invent locally," and to learn lessons from countries applying integrated approaches to water use in the agricultural sector. Per Bertilsson, GWP, stressed balancing the needs of people, environment and economic development through the use of IWRM. He noted the importance of the WSSDs target for the development of national IWRM and water efficiency plans by 2005. He stressed the significance of multistakeholder partnerships and the need to create neutral platforms for solving problems and defining common solutions.

Jennifer Moore, Environment Canada, said that decision making must be based on a clear scientific understanding of how and why ecosystems are changing, and how to respond to these changes. She noted the need for good governance, transparency, participation and community empowerment. Takehiko Ohta, Japanese Water and Forest Committee, said that the conservation of forests in catchments is one of the most important issues facing national decision makers. He called for a worldwide approach to address indiscriminate logging and the conversion of forests to other land uses. He reported on the Shiga Declaration on Forests and Water, highlighting, inter alia, the promotion of forest management, and the enhancement of water conservation functions of forests.

Yosuke Yamashiki, Kyoto University, reported that several sessions had addressed climate change in Africa, river basin pollution, and the impacts of sewage discharge on rivers. Faizil Parish, Global Environment Center, reported on the session dealing with the integration of biodiversity, wetlands and water management, and said that there is a need for a paradigm shift towards multistakeholder and cross-sectoral approaches to implementing river basin management. In his closing statement, Chair Steiner said that many rivers are drying up due to "ignorance," poor oversight and inappropriate decisions, and noted that 3WWF has provided an invaluable opportunity for participants to learn from the experiences of others.


OPENING PLENARY: This session organized by the GWP was chaired by Margaret Catley-Carlson, GWP. Prince of Orange Willem Alexander of the Netherlands said that the current water crisis has arisen from poor governance and noted the need for legal and regulatory frameworks that are transparent, effective and financially sustainable. Yoshitsugu Kunimatsu, Governor of Shiga Prefecture, stressed the need for water conservation, stakeholder participation and financial mechanisms. Yang Zhenhuai, Chinese National Peoples Congress, highlighted governance reforms in China, including measures for eliminating the negative impacts of water projects, improving the safety of dams, and the resettlement of dam-affected communities. Alvaro Umaa, UNDP, said weak institutions disadvantage the poor, particularly women. He highlighted the importance of community-based responses and involving all stakeholders, and appropriate financial mechanisms.

Ravi Narayanan, WaterAid, said that addressing corruption is necessary for good governance, along with ethical leadership, reliable and updated information, mechanisms for dialogue, discussion and conflict resolution, and connected decentralization. Alan Hall, GWP, presented the draft theme statement. It calls on the donor community to commit an increased percentage of their funds, and urges governments to prepare IWRM plans by 2005, strengthen their capacity for sustainable water management, and prepare simple and clear legal and regulatory frameworks.

Discussion: Many participants questioned the legitimacy of 3WWFs water and governance process. Discussants also remarked on the influence of privatization and trade negotiations on sound water management.

DIALOGUE OF EFFECTIVE WATER GOVERNANCE: Torkil Jnch-Clausen, GWP, chaired this session of presentations by GWP representatives. Peter Rogers remarked that water governance can be effective even when not based on democratic principles. He expressed a need for property rights with minimum guarantees for disadvantaged groups, noting that effective governance ensures social equitability, economic efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Alan Hall stressed the need for a balance between government, society and the market, and noted that regional water dialogues have helped place governance on the international agenda.

Jean Boroto said that experiences in Africa indicate legislation is key to achieving effective governance. Michael Scoullos noted that participants in the Mediterranean dialogue did not maintain a distinction between effective and good governance. Januz Kindler said that economic development and a strengthened civil society would improve water governance in Central and Eastern Europe. Elisa Colom noted that one challenge in Central America is to include water in the macroeconomic decision-making process, and noted that broad public participation is key to improving water governance in this region. Low Kwai Sim indicated that the principal governance challenges in Southeast Asia include improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and moving towards IRBM. She said governments are devolving water governance to stakeholders. Humberto Pea expressed a need for regulation in Latin America that balances waters economic, social and environmental functions. He stressed the absence of universal solutions to water problems.

Discussion: Participants raised several issues, including the need for regulatory frameworks that protect public interests, and participation by workers and communities in water governance. They agreed that the role of government is to create an enabling environment for effective governance. One participant suggested creating a mechanism to monitor and report on the formulation of national water strategies.


OPENING PLENARY: The opening plenary on floods was convened by the International Flood Network (IFNet) Preparatory Unit. Chair Arthur Askew, WMO, said the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction had shown that disasters are a result of natural hazards combined with the vulnerability of local populations. Ryosuke Kikuchi, Water in Rivers Secretariat, highlighted information and data sharing on floods and said insufficient telemetric data impedes flood forecasting.

G.O.P. Obasi, WMO, stressed an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding, forecasting and management of floods. He said that in order to improve data-collection capacities, capacity-building must be accorded a high priority in developing countries, and emphasized flood management as part of IWRM.

Roberto White, Mozambique Minister for Public Works and Housing, stated that actions taken by Mozambique following the 2000 floods included installing radar to predict rainfall patterns, and resettling communities. He said future challenges include, inter alia, establishing new agreements on shared watercourses, and financing the expansion of data collection networks.

Melanie Schultz, the Netherlands Vice-Minister for Transport, Public Works and Water Management, underscored the importance of international cooperation in anticipating future disasters. She said that the Netherlands new water policy includes options for flood management, such as moving dikes to remove obstacles to drainage, and anticipating long-term climate changes. Robert Flowers, US Army Corps of Engineers, explained the Corps aim to reduce human susceptibility to flood damage and lessen flood impacts by restoring natural resources. He stressed the importance of environmental impact assessments and a basin-wide approach to flood plain management.

Koki Chuma, Japanese Vice-Minister for Land, Infrastructure and Transport, urged all nations, international organizations and research institutions to collect flood-related information, and to participate in IFNet.

JOINT SESSION ON INTEGRATED FLOOD MANAGEMENT AND PEOPLE, FLOOD AND VULNERABILITY IN SOUTH ASIA: This joint session, convened by WMO and Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP), was co-chaired by Q.K. Ahmad, BUP, and Avinash Tyagi, WMO.

Katsuhito Miyake, WMO/GWP Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), said the objective of APFM is to integrate flood management (IFM) in IWRM and to maximize the efficient use of the basin as a whole. He said the goal of IFM is to maximize the benefits for floodplains and minimize residual losses and loss of life. K.B. Sajjadur Rasheed, BUP, presented a synthesis of APFM country case studies in South Asia on community approaches to flood management. The studies focus on non-structural measures for responding to floods and emphasize community involvement.

On the case study in India, Kamta Prasad, Institute for Resource Management and Economic Development, said that communities have the capacity to contribute to flood preparedness and relief and expressed regret that they were not given flood-management responsibilities. Prasad stated that community involvement in flood management is in accordance with a national trend towards decentralized participatory planning and implementation.

Regarding the Nepal study, Som Nath Poudel, Jalsrot Vikas Sanstha, said that dikes and dams are not always effective because: they are often poorly constructed; enforcement of resettlement to flood-safe areas is often weak; and forecasting and warning of extreme events is difficult. He stressed extensive community support networks, and greater public involvement in decision making.

Speaking on Bangladesh, Q.K. Ahmad expressed regret that floods have a low profile on the international policy agenda. He noted congruence of national and community levels due to the national water policy, which has given rise to guidelines on participatory water management. He stressed the importance of regional cooperation in flood forecasting.

Adolfo Villanueva, Federal University of Rio Grande du Sul, explained that the integrated flood management project of the Cuareim River Basin considers mainly non-structural measures, early warning systems and land use planning strategies. He said that coordinated management and information exchange mechanisms between national and local administrations are currently being developed.

Humphrey Temperley, European Nature Trust, reviewed the development of how different stakeholders reached agreement on a management strategy for the Parrett Catchment. He noted that the project aims to achieve its goals through, inter alia, changing agricultural practices, and reducing run-off from the built environment. He underscored the central role played by local communities in the project.

Doug Plasencia, Association of State Floodplain Managers, explained that according to the concept of "No Adverse Impacts," activities that could cause adverse flood damage to another property or community will be allowed only when the impacts are mitigated, or have been accounted for within a community-based plan. Plasencia stated that local accountability is paramount to solving flood problems. In addressing flooding, Bruno Schdler, Swiss Federal Office for Water and Geology, underscored the importance of interdisciplinary teams of specialists acting in coordination with political bodies and affected populations, and joint consideration of mitigation, response and recovery when addressing flooding. He said that core elements of the Swiss federal law on flood control include hazard identification and assessment, and prioritization of measures.

Reviewing the integrated flood management of the Tisza River basin, Lsuo Kthay, Hungary, said that the plan envisages: reservoirs beyond the river basin; improved discharge capacity between the main dikes; relevant changes outside the floodplain; heightened flood prevention dikes; and the use of non-structural flood protection methods.

Discussion: Participants noted the importance of effectively communicating information to communities and involving local governments, and suggested enhancing capacity building of meteorological offices and communities. Participants debated ways of successfully involving the public in developing and implementing integrated management strategies, and discussed the feasibility of human resettlement.

Colin Green, Flood Hazard Research Centre, explained that criteria for a project appraisal technique should include reducing complexity to a manageable level, and promoting communication between stakeholders. He explored how multi-criteria analysis can be used to make choices for IFM.

Co-Chair Ahmad concluded the session, stressing the need for coordination among all actors involved in flood management.

POVERTY AND FLOODS: This session was organized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), River Bureau, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Chair Hidetomi Oi, JICA, said the session aimed to formulate appropriate means of reducing vulnerability of the poor to floods.

Bernardo Aman, Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways, outlined a flood control project and stressed community involvement in project development and maintenance. Achmad Rusfandi Usman, Brawijaya University, described the development cycle of a river basin management project in Indonesia, emphasizing the importance of evaluation, maintenance, and integrated water resource development. Mohamed Zahangir Alam, Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department, presented a study on rural development, concluding that flood proofing and livelihood support are effective means of stemming the "vicious cycle" of poverty and vulnerability. Sharing lessons learned from detention of flood basins, Huang Jinchi, Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, underscored the need for careful decision making, flood-risk evaluation, consideration of multiple objectives and coordination of numerous agencies. Dang Quang Tinh, Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, and Pham Thanh Hang, UNDP, presented Vietnams "Living with Floods" concept, which helps citizens minimize the negative and maximize the positive impacts of floods.

Shunichi Maeda, MLIT and JICA, illustrated how water management can ensure poverty reduction and sustainable development. Senichi Kimura, JICA, stressed prioritizing projects aimed at reducing poverty and promoting participation of women and the poor. Ian Fox, ADB, explained how the engineering approach has failed to solve flood problems, and highlighted ADBs approach, which combines structural and non-structural solutions. Cheng Xiaotao, Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, said that flood management systems might widen the income gap instead of alleviating poverty.

In closing, Chair Oi highlighted recommendations arising from the session, and participants requested consideration of policy frameworks for flood-control measures, commitments linked with the MDGs and WSSD targets, and capacity building aimed at helping the poor maximize benefits from floods.


OPENING PLENARY: Jerome Delli Priscoli, US Army Corps of Engineers, chaired the opening session, organized by UN-HABITAT. Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, and Tadao Chino, ADB President, signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the Asian Cities Partnership, which will provide funding to Asian cities to support the achievement of the water and sanitation-related MDGs.

Noting that every third Asian lacks access to safe drinking water, Chino stressed the need for: good governance; education on water quality, sanitation and hygiene; and increased political will. Tibaijuka highlighted the importance of creating an enabling environment for investments in water and sanitation. Nane Annan noted that four million children die every year from unsafe drinking water. Loc Fauchon, WWC, called for more public funding for water. Mercedes Bresso, World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination, highlighted the need to forge links with developing-country local authorities and international funding organizations.

Jean-Marie Bockel, United Cities, said local authorities should have the right to manage their own resources. Gerard Payen, Suez, noted that PPPs can result in "win-win" benefits for everyone, including the urban poor. Jamal Saghir, World Bank, stressed the importance of engaging the private sector in improving water infrastructure and delivery, and sanitation for the urban poor. Richard Jolly, WSSCC, said "missiles and motorcades cannot confer prestige on nations without taps and toilets." Qui Boaxing, Chinese Vice Minister of Construction, commended UN-HABITATs Water for Asian State Programme. Ananth Kumar, Indian Minister for Urban Development, advocated expanded service coverage, global alliances, and participation. Henri Proglio, Vivendi Environment, emphasized the role of the private sector in improving existing infrastructure and expanding coverage.

Kyosuke Shinozawa, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, advocated stakeholder participation. Jean Michel Severino, World Bank, said that local authorities should define the price and level of services, and that private companies provide experience and know-how. Halifa Drammeh, UNEP, questioned whether ministers will demonstrate the political will to give UN-HABITAT the means to realize the MDGs in cities. Kaarin Taipale, International Council for Local Environment Initiatives, stressed that local action plans should be drafted at the local level and include the views of all stakeholders. Hirotake Imamoto, Kyoto University, highlighted management issues surrounding fluctuating water supply in Japan.

WATER IN ASIAN CITIES: This session was chaired by Ranjith Wirasinha, independent consultant, and organized by the ADB. Arthur McIntosh, ADB, drew attention to low piped water coverage in Asian cities, and explained that those without access to the low-pipe water systems pay more for water. He proposed raising tariffs to benefit the poor.

K. Azharul Haq, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, noted that the poor pay a greater portion of their income for water than the rich, and raised the question of water pricing. Virgilio Rivera, Manila Water Company Inc., said tariff increases are important, but difficult to implement, and questioned who would regulate small-scale providers. W.D. Ailapperuma, Ministry of Housing and Plantation Infrastructure, underscored Sri Lankas commitment to the MDG of halving the percentage of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015. Nisitendra Nath Som, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, presented a case study on the new water-supply scheme for Kolkata, India, which involves: an emphasis on surface water to conserve the lowering water table; the stabilization and integration of existing water supply; and a lowering of per capita consumption.

Eduardo Santos, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems, presented a case study on water supply privatization in Manila, the Philippines, and suggested possible future steps, including: defining service coverage and targets; creating an independent regulatory body; and defining key performance indicators. David Painter, USAID, described the Cities Alliance, a multi-donor alliance committed to achieving the vision of cities without slums. He also described the Community Water and Sanitation Facility, which aims to increase slum residents access to water and sanitation and to enhance donor impact by partnering the efforts of the public and private sectors with slum-community organizations.

Margaret Catley-Carlson, GWP, chaired the second session on Water and Asian cities. Edward Haugh, ADB, described the Asian Cities Programme, which aims to bring water and sanitation to 10 million urban poor. He stressed the importance of correct water pricing and active participation of all stakeholders. Graham Alabaster, UN-HABITAT, said that water sanitation has been neglected, and many countries lack government resources and city-level capacity to provide sufficient financing. He said the three phases of the Asian Cities Programme involve developing partnerships, capacity building and promoting investment. McIntosh stressed the need to involve all stakeholders in the early stages of policy development. He highlighted the Programmes objective of righting the balance between the ability to pay and the market pricing of water, advocating a pro-poor tariff structure. Andr Dzikus, UN-HABITAT, underscored the need to develop a new water-use ethic, suggesting that children can be educated to act as agents of change. Erlinda Zurita, Notre Dame University, emphasized the key role of education in addressing the moral vacuum in modern society and in conveying water values to youth.

Discussion: One participant remarked on institutional models, suggesting that new initiatives complement those already underway. He expressed disagreement toward the tariff system, emphasizing the benefits of minimizing demand. He stressed that while tariffs may be affordable for the poor, installation charges are often significant barriers.

WATER FOR CITIES: DYNAMIC SOLUTIONS FOR MEETING THE URBAN WATER CHALLENGE: This session was chaired by Piet Odendaal, independent consultant. Dato Anwar Fazal, UNDP-The Urban Governance Initiative, stated that cities need a new water culture. He emphasized the need for people-centered approaches and avoidance of greed and corrupt politics. Chan Ngai Weng, Water Watch Penang, outlined various water-saving activities.

The session broke into three groups that discussed distinct issues relating to urban water and reported back to the session. On local communities, participants emphasized the importance of: consumer participation and education, as well as the need to encourage water saving. On local governments, participants stressed the need within a national policy framework for: increased issue awareness; equity and political will; indicators for good governance; and self-auditing. On the private sector, participants identified the need for: transparency; consideration of every stage of the water cycle; pricing guidance from local authorities; and coping strategies to guarantee supply in the event of bankruptcy.


ISSUES: Agriculture, Food and Water, and Water and Poverty will be opening today in Kyoto. Water and Cities, Water and Information, and Groundwater will be continuing in Osaka. Water and Governance, and Floods will be continuing in Kyoto.

TOPICS: The dialogue on Public Private Partnership will be continuing today in Osaka.

MAJOR GROUPS: The CEO and Union Panels will be held in Osaka. The Science, Technology and Management Panel will open in Kyoto.

REGIONAL DAY: Todays Regional Day is on The Americas.

Further information


Negotiating blocs
Central and Eastern Europe
Non-state coalitions
Local Authorities