Report of main proceedings for 19 March 2003

3rd World Water Forum

On Wednesday, delegates to the 3rd World Water Forum (3WWF) met in numerous sessions. In Kyoto, participants attended wrap-up plenaries on Water and Governance, and Floods; and opening plenaries on Agriculture, Food and Water, and Water and Poverty. In Osaka, Water and Cities, Water and Information, and Groundwater closed, as did the dialogue on Public Private Partnership. The Regional Day focused on The Americas.

The Senior Officials Meeting of the Ministerial Conference opened in the morning, and continued throughout the day in a closed session. Officials discussed the draft Ministerial Declaration, which is to be adopted at the Ministerial Conference beginning on Saturday, 21 March.


URBAN FLOODS RISK MITIGATION: This session was presented by Netherlands Water Partnership and Disaster Mitigation Institute, and chaired by Thijs van Praag, NEDECO Netherlands Engineering Consultants.

Stephen Garvin, Buliding Research Establishment, said that the UKs planning regulations require urban planners to account for, inter alia, the flood liability of the area under consideration. He expressed regret that building regulations do not provide for flood risk. Vclav Ba, Vltava River Basin Authority, explained that while human casualties resulting from floods have decreased since 1997, damages have increased. He stressed that mobile flood walls on the Vltavas bank protected the old town of Prague from flooding.

Bert Keijts, the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, identified difficulties in implementing the Netherlands new water policy, including finding solutions to local problems. He stressed the importance of prioritizing water. Chris Zevenbergen, Dura Vermeer Group, highlighted multifunctional land use (MFL) as a useful management tool for areas with competing land claims, noting that it promotes flood resilience and efficient land utilization. He outlined a MFL initiative launched in the Netherlands to establish a floating city district.

Toshikatsu Omachi, Infrastructure Development Institute, said that innovative measures to control urban flooding, include using open spaces and underground areas, and stormwater infiltration. Fred van Zijl, South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, reviewed water-related problems in urban South Africa.

Discussion: Participants agreed on the need for an international network to exchange information and experiences.

WRAP-UP PLENARY: This session was convened by the International Flood Network (IFNet) and chaired by Arthur Askew, Water in Rivers Secretariat.

Hiroyoshi Shiigai, Japan River Association, underscored the importance of international cooperation programmes and peaceful relationships between nations. Ryosuke Kikuchi, Water in Rivers Secretariat, presented the declaration establishing IFNet, emphasizing IFNets objective, which is to reduce flood-related casualties and destruction through information exchange of experiences in flood disaster mitigation.

Reporting on integrated flood management (IFM) and people, and flood and vulnerability reduction, Avinash Tyagi, WMO, said participants recommended that flood management be addressed within the context of IWRM and called for enhanced community and stakeholder participation in decision-making processes. Reporting on community approaches to flood management, Q.K. Ahmad, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad, explained that communities have the potential for implementing measures, and emphasized regional cooperation.

Anne van Urk, the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water, suggested giving IFM in deltas and low-land river regions higher priority in order to prevent flood intensification and alleviate poverty. On poverty and floods, Marshall Silver, Asian Development Bank (ADB), recommended adopting different approaches for the poor according to area-specific conditions and giving priority to projects that contribute to poverty alleviation. Kikuchi, reporting on flood mitigation, stressed: the need for good and just mitigation practices; the importance of structural and non-structural measures; and the benefits of information sharing through IFNet.

On flood warning dissemination, Karsten Havn, DHI Water & Environment, noted that flood forecasting has greatly improved in recent years due to technological innovation, but added that there is still a need to translate forecasts into flood warnings and emergency action. On urban floods, Mihir Bhatt, Disaster Mitigation Institute, stressed multistakeholder partnerships, and investment and insurance-based incentives for flood mitigation. He said that the session highlighted the need for integrated river-basin planning and that floods offer opportunities to rebuild cities.

Thijs van Praag reported that participants to the session on urban flood risk mitigation highlighted the benefits of an international network for exchange of experiences. Speaking on sediment-related issues, Masao Okamoto, Sediment Related Issues Committee, stated that the session stressed the: threats posed by loss of land; use of international information networks; need to collect relevant data; and implementation of prompt counter-measures.

Reporting on the flood control measures of the Kamo River in Kyoto, Atsushi Suzuki, Kyoto Prefecture, stressed the need to incorporate views from local communities in flood management strategies. On IFNet, Kikuchi said that information sharing contributes to effective flood management.

Askew introduced the sessions statement to be presented to the Ministerial Conference, recommending governments recognize the vulnerability of the poor, and the need to develop innovative measures. He also said that the statement calls on donors to incorporate flood management into IWRM projects.


FROM PRINCIPLE TO ACTION: USING BEST PRACTICES IN WATER LAW TO PROMOTE PEACE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION: This session was convened by the International Water Law Research Institute and chaired by Patricia Wouters, University of Dundee. She outlined a legal assessment model that helps provide an objective understanding of a nations water entitlements, which should help governments develop their national water policies. Salman Salman, World Bank, reviewed key features of the UN Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. He said that the Convention is in line with the concepts of sustainable development and the equitable and reasonable utilization of water. He highlighted provisions requiring the prior notification and consultation of uses that may adversely affect other riparian States.

Dan Tarlock, Chicago-Kent College of Law, said that national water law gives form to national water policies and objectives. He noted that national entitlement regimes are evolving because of concerns regarding fairness and efficiency, the environment, and climate change. Miguel Solanes, UN Economic Commission for Latin America, said that the public interest is not always served by the appropriation of water rights, and that there is a need to give guarantees to water users who are being supplied by global companies. Patrick Spilliaert, Vivendi Water, said that public authorities should maintain ownership over water resources, but confer their management to private companies. He said that Vivendi Water provides water-related services that are financially sustainable and adapted to local situations, but does not treat water as a commodity.

Discussion: Panelists responded to questions on several issues, including the role of markets, the integration of customary law into national law, the concept of no significant harm, and the international trade in water.

WATER PRICING: ISSUES AND OPTIONS: This session was convened by WWC and the Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration. Rajiv Gupta, Government of Gujarat, India, chaired the session. He reviewed water pricing in Turkey, explaining that current pricing methods for irrigated water include volumetric pricing and crop/area/time-based pricing. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, WWC, noted that appropriate water pricing policies are based on economic, efficiency and equity considerations. He said that water pricing can encourage water conservation and ensure an adequate return to capital, but it must be simple to administer, consistent with national social and economic plans, and affordable for end users.

Ren Coulomb, WWC, discussed tariffs and quotas for irrigated water in France, and noted that water management and pricing systems help keep rural communities vibrant. Vedat Mirmahmutoulari, DiZAYN Group, gave details of a water pipeline project that will deliver water from Turkey to Cyprus. Jean-Marie DAspe, Eaux de Marseille Group, remarked on the operation and maintenance, investment and renewal costs of providing water. He suggested that end users pay for operation and maintenance to prevent overuse, but that authorities set the price for water only after working with the community to define affordable prices. Thomas Zeller, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, spoke on the need to maximize the opportunities of private participation while limiting the political, institutional and environmental risks. He suggested developing a code of conduct and guiding principles for private sector participation.

Discussion: Participants discussed the problem of water affordability, and the technical details of the pipeline project.

WRAP-UP PLENARY: Chair Emilio Gabbrielli, GWP, remarked that the emerging water crisis reflects a crisis in governance. Nighisty Ghezae, GWP, summarized the 11 sessions on water governance. Regarding gender, she noted that good water governance empowers women, particularly when they are recognized as owners and operators of local water resource systems. On law, she stressed the importance of the national, international and transnational levels of water law. On capacity building, she noted the need to build and engage civil society, support research focusing on real needs, and encourage governance dialogues at local levels. Regarding partnerships, she remarked that multistakeholder partnerships generate more accountability, but that they are not appropriate in all circumstances.

Emilio Lentini, Association of Water and Sewerage Regulators for the Americas, discussed difficulties with regulating water providers in Argentina. He called on political authorities to strengthen the role of municipalities, and encourage the participation of communities in the operation and construction of water services. Alain Fabry, Suez Group, said that water tariffs reflect the cost of managing the water system and not the cost of water as a commodity. He stressed the importance of pragmatic governance that is adapted to local circumstances. Ramaswamy Iyer, former Secretary of Indias Department of Water Resources, called for: the removal of water from all trade and investment agreements; full transparency of World Bank and IMF financing of water-related projects; and international standards to ensure the accountability of private companies. John Scanlon, IUCN, remarked that legal frameworks are becoming more important as governments move increasingly from providing to regulating services. He said that for legal frameworks to protect the public interest, they must ensure equity, womens rights, aboriginal rights, and sustainability.

Discussion: Participants gave their views on the governance theme statement, and discussed the need for more transparency from the World Bank and IMF. One participant remarked that concerns about ownership could not be dismissed simply by noting that in most cases companies do not technically own water resources. He said that "ownership" is shorthand for the degree of control private companies exert on these resources when they have long-term contracts.


HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL AND MAYORAL SESSION ON WATER FOR ASIAN CITIES: This session was facilitated by Akira Seki, ADB, and organized by UN-HABITAT and ADB. Jan van Heeswijk, ADB, stressed the need for political will and called on Ministers and mayors to address policy reform and good governance.

Kalyan Ray, on behalf of UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, called for institutional frameworks that are decentralized, transparent, and accessible to the poor. R. Ardakanian, Iranian Deputy Minister for Water Affairs, called for technical and financial assistance for knowledge mapping and database development projects. Kamildzhan Saidov, Agency Uzkommunkhizmat, requested UN-HABITAT to consider Uzbekistans ecology in its work. Miegeombo Eukhbold, Mayor of Ulaanbator, Mongolia, emphasized that with current human migration trends, the citys groundwater supply will be exhausted by 2020. Arumugan Thondaman, Sri Lankan Minister of Housing and Plantation Infrastructure, underscored Sri Lankas commitment to halve the percentage of people without access to safe drinking water. Prasanna Senaka, Mayor of Colombo, Sri Lanka, supported multistakeholder forums.

Qui Boaxing, Chinese Vice-Minister of Construction, said considerable migration from rural to urban areas has increased the need for effective water supply and sewage treatment. A. Fazluzzoha, Dhaka City Corporation, highlighted health problems caused by arsenic-contaminated groundwater. Mercedes Bresso, World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination, emphasized the importance of cities exchanging experiences and best practices on PPP and water management. Khamlouat Sidakone, Laotian Vice Minister of Communications, Transport, Post and Construction, said only 50% of the Laotian population has access to safe drinking water and that this is a major barrier to good health. Vibha Patel, Mayor of Bhopal, India, stated that water and sanitation programmes should be implemented and regulated by local bodies. She highlighted difficulties in convincing urban residents to pay more for water. Trac Thai Sieng, Vice Governor of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, stressed the need for sanitation in ensuring a healthy labor force. Sharad Chandra Behar, Government of Madhya Pradesh, stated that supplying water is a governments responsibility.

SUSTAINABLE WATER SUPPLY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: This session, organized by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), was chaired by Asit Biswas, Third World Center for Waste Management. Yoshihiko Kono, JBIC, outlined experiences in funding urban water infrastructure, stressing JBICs commitment to stakeholder participation and social and environment responsibility in PPPs. Liyanage Podiappuhami, Badhawita Federation of Community Development Councils, presented a Sri Lankan project where PPP improved water supply and sanitation. He emphasized collaboration between stakeholders, coupled with effective leadership from community institutions. Regarding project evaluation, M. Wickramage, Sri Lankan National Water Supply and Drainage Board, said that project results should be disseminated and follow-up evaluations undertaken. Eduardo Santos, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), outlined MWSSs experiences in privatization, noting the resulting increase in water availability and population coverage. Virgilio Rivera, Manila Water Company, outlined the need for appropriate tariff and regulatory support, and environmental and social responsibility. Kazumasa Ozawa, University of Tokyo, highlighted the benefits for the urban poor arising from special programmes of the MWSS. Lajana Manandhar, NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation, recommended that pro-poor PPPs enhance stakeholder participation and collaboration through regular meetings, increase research and information dissemination, and obligate companies to serve the poor.

WRAP-UP PLENARY: Jerome Delli Priscoli, US Army Corps of Engineers, chaired the wrap-up plenary of Water and Cities. Wayne Wescott, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, said the session on integrated water management for local governments supported practical action on the ground and found that local governments are best positioned to integrate the social, environmental and economic aspects of water management.

Reporting on the role of small scale private water providers in serving the poor, Maria Paniagua, ADB, stressed that governments and the private sector should recognize the role of small-scale providers operating in marginal urban areas. On water in Asian cities, Arthur McIntosh, ADB, said connected water users should pay more for water services through increased tariffs in order to fund delivery for the poor. Reporting on impact evaluation studies to improve water and sanitation project design and implementation, K. Seetharam, ADB, advocated implementing socially-oriented water supply. Hari Srinivas, UNEP, said participants of the session on dynamic solutions for meeting the urban water challenge stressed the need for, inter alia: clear governance; links between global, national and local-level processes; integrated management of urban water; and the promotion of auditing tools for evaluating projects. Akinori Kato, Kwansei Gakuin University, reported from the session on the international conference of aquapolises. He called for international collaboration, PPPs and the further development of social and urban policies.

Kohji Muraoka, Osaka University, said participants in the session on groundwater noted that sedimentation may provoke disaster, and emphasized the need to limit the pumping of groundwater and find alternative sources. Reporting on sustainable water supply in developing countries, Motonori Tsuno, JBIC, highlighted lessons learned from a variety of case studies on the contribution of companies, communities and NGOs to sustainable water supply. Closing the plenary, Jan van Heeswijk, ADB, highlighted recurring issues in discussions on Water in Cities, including the role of: tariffs; policy reform; sanitation; small-scale water providers; private sector financing; and community participation. He identified demand-side water management and rainwater harvesting as cost effective solutions to urban water scarcity, and emphasized that political will and good governance underpin sustainable water supply.


OPENING PLENARY: This session was convened by ADB. John Soussan, ADB, introduced the Water Poverty Initiative (WPI), which aims to provide the poor with safe water. He said water is both a barrier and a solution to poverty reduction. Tadao Chino, ADB, said the WPI promotes: improved water supply, sanitation and hygiene; effective water management for productive uses; and mitigation of water-related disasters.

Ravi Narayanan, WaterAid, presented outcomes from a study on water and sanitation projects conducted between 1991-93. He noted that several projects improved peoples lives by increasing their economic wealth and empowering their communities. Derik du Toit, Association for Water and Rural Development, explored findings from a study in South Africa on allocating water for home-based productive activities. He said that water policy should aim to supply basic needs and, in addition, to provide sufficient water for economic opportunities. Speaking on impacts of unsafe water on children, Ayako Sono, The Nippon Foundation, emphasized the need for inter-generational equity in regards to water use. Shakeel Khan and Nadia Saeed, ADBs Punjab Rural Water Supply project, highlighted the effects of better water quality on women and children.

Jan Pronk, incoming Chair of WSSCC, said past promises regarding poverty reduction and access to clean water had been "washed away" by globalization. He contrasted two different approaches for addressing global insecurity, one focusing on sustainability and the other on security, stressing the UN Secretary-Generals view that sustainability guarantees world security.

THE ROLE OF WATER IN THE ERADICATION OF HUNGER THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HUMANITARIAN WATER PROGRAMMES: This session was convened by Action Against Hunger (AAH) and chaired by Olivier Longu, AAH. He said hunger is a political issue, caused by inadequate political response. He outlined different forms of famine, including: exposed famine, where governments manipulate data on hunger in order to obtain relief aid; created famine, where governments create conditions to impose hunger on targeted groups; and hidden famine, where governments conceal evidence of hunger to the international community. Francisco Gonzales, AAH, noted that objectives of AAHs water projects include: recognizing water and basic sanitation as a fundamental human right; identifying the minimum amounts of water and food required for survival; and reducing risks from water and sanitation-related diseases.

Four AAH project officers presented results of their country projects. Alfonso Caales said the challenge in Nicaragua was not to build water infrastructure, but to alter unhygienic habits. Claudia Loaiza described a project in Colombia helping people displaced by violence. Dramane Coulibaly outlined an awareness-raising project in Bamako, Mali, addressing the flooding of a river clogged with domestic waste. Amadou Drame described drilling for water in a refugee camp in Guinea. Luis Martnez Cortina, Marcelino Botn Foundation, presented on the role of groundwater in the eradication of hunger and said that using groundwater is the fastest and cheapest way to achieve the water-related MDGs.


OPENING PLENARY: This theme was convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and the Japanese National Committee of ICID (JNC-ICID). Noting the MDG of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, Ryota Nakamura, JNC-ICID, stressed the need to raise land productivity and food production, and urged greater water efficiency in agriculture.

Ian Johnson, World Bank, stressed the importance of responsible economic growth. He underscored the link between agricultural production and poverty reduction, and called for: "leveling the playing field"; inclusive and transparent water institutions; and investment in water supply, management, and research and development. Dato Ir Hj. Keizrul bin Abdullah, ICID, explained how irrigation contributes to GDP and poverty reduction, and stated that increasing food production requires: moving from "more crop per drop" to "more crop less drop"; modernizing irrigation; reforming institutions; internalizing externalities; and enhancing investments in irrigation schemes.

Sawada Toshio, Kyoto University, presented challenges in ensuring sustainable water utilization. Using paddy-field irrigation in Monsoon Asia as an example, he highlighted the social, economic and environmental benefits of irrigated rice paddy cultivation.

WATER: SOURCE OF FOOD SECURITY: This session was organized by FAO. Reto Florin, FAO, identified challenges faced by the agriculture sector, highlighted the role of irrigation in food production, and noted the need to share water resources with other sectors. He outlined prospects for change and called for enhancing investment, promoting integrated rural development, empowering farmers, and "unlocking the water potential of agriculture."

Mona El-Kady, Egyptian National Water Research Centre, emphasized optimizing agricultural production, integrating water, trade and agricultural policies, and protecting the environment from agricultural externalities. She stressed the role of gender and community participation in water management. Stating that agricultural organizations consider irrigation an efficient means of enabling food production, Nicola Stolfi, Italian Agricultural Confederation, called for investment in irrigation schemes and research. Noting that private companies dominate biotechnology development, he urged public institutions to conduct research in this field. He stressed involving farmers in decision making, and called for training them to promote water efficiency and safeguard natural reserves. Halidu Yusuf, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Water Resources, shared an African perspective on irrigation. He highlighted the irrigation potential of sub-Saharan Africa, urged investment in irrigation schemes, and stressed the importance of rehabilitating existing infrastructure. He cautioned against "virtual water importation," stressing that farmers should expand local crop production and not rely on imported food sources.

Noting the calls for increased infrastructure development, Jean-Yves Pirot, IUCN, stated that freshwater ecosystems have no "voice" in decision making and questioned whether they can sustain further water abstraction. He said IUCN advocates an ecosystem approach in water management, and stressed the importance of achieving environmental flows. Peter Torrekens, FAO, gave a brief presentation highlighting the issues surrounding water and poverty.

Discussions: Participants emphasized, inter alia, stakeholder dialogues, integration of national water management policies, and a focus on site-specific, low cost and innovative techniques for food production.


Forum Bulletin coverage of the Senior Officials Meeting is based on information from the open introductory session, the evening press briefing, and in-the-corridor discussions with participating delegates.

The Senior Officials Meeting of the Ministerial Conference opened on Wednesday morning with procedural statements from Co-Chairs Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Masanori Kobayashi, Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Nishimura said that Japan had adopted a transparent and accountable methodology for drafting the Ministerial Declaration, noting that there had been positive and constructive comments on the draft. Kobayashi highlighted a series of meetings held by the Government of Japan to determine the programme, and coordinate the Ministerial Conference. He also provided an overview of the drafting process and how comments and recommendations received had been included in the draft Declaration. In concluding, he noted that the Ministerial Declaration will be presented to the final plenary of the Ministerial Conference for adoption on Sunday, March 23.

During the closed session, delegates raised the inclusion, prioritization and placement of the following issues in the Ministerial Declaration: water as a human right; action with regard to the equitable and sustainable use of water resources; subsidiarity; gender empowerment; household and community neighborhood strategies; regional water management strategies; integrated watershed and catchment management; anti-corruption measures; international watercourse agreements; national adaptation coalitions and mechanisms to cope with climate vulnerability; best practice guidelines for water service delivery; legal and regulatory frameworks; and the Report of the World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure.

In the evening, Kobayashi held a press briefing to report on the status of negotiations in the Senior Officials Meeting. He noted that more than 127 delegates from over 110 governments and 16 international organizations had attended the session, and said that the session had provided an opportunity for governments to "air their views" on the Declarations contents.


ISSUES: In Kyoto, Water and Poverty, and Agriculture, Food and Water will close today. Water, Education and Capacity Building, and Financing Water Infrastructure will open. In Shiga, Integrated Water Resources Management and Basin Management, and Water for Peace will commence.

TOPICS: Dams and Sustainable Development opens today in Kyoto.

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE: The Senior Officials Meeting will discuss the revised draft Ministerial Declaration.

SPECIAL PROGRAMMES: A special programme on Water, Life and Medical Care takes place today.

MAJOR GROUPS: The Childrens World Water Forum opens in Shiga today. The panel on Science, Technology and Management will conclude its discussions.

REGIONAL DAY: The Middle East and the Mediterranean Regional Day takes place today.

CEREMONIES: A ceremony of the 3WWF Memorial Forest takes place today in Shiga.

Further information


Non-state coalitions
Local Authorities