On 25th February 2020, the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), for which Japan Water Forum acts as its Secretariat, organized the APWF 25th Governing Council Meeting at the Good Wood Park Hotel in Singapore, with support from PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. Because of the concern of the COVID-2019 outbreak, we coordinated an online meeting while minimizing the number of members gathering in Singapore. In total, 30 representatives from the 26 organizations of the APWF members participated in the meeting (in Singapore: 13 members from 9 organizations, Online: 17 members from 17 organizations).
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Eduardo Araral, Vice-chair of the Governing Council of the APWF. The meeting participants discussed: 1) The progress of the preparations for the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (4th APWS), to be held on 19-20 October 2020, particularly in terms of the 4th APWS declaration document, other outputs, and parallel thematic sessions; 2) APWF’s annual three priority thematic action plans, and 3) the participation in the thematic development processes of the 9th World Water Forum.
The outcomes of the discussion
1) Preparation for the 4th APWS (4th APWS declaration document / parallel thematic sessions)
・It was decided through consensus that the declaration document would show the essence of the discussions at the 4th APWS and that the chair of the 4th APWS would be entrusted to deepen the discussions in the Parallel Thematic Sessions, considering the Summit Declaration is planned on Day 1 of the 4th APWS.
・It was decided through consensus to conduct the in-depth discussion in each sectoral Parallel Thematic Session based on the essence of the Declaration Document and to summarize the cross-cutting contents of each sector from the Parallel Thematic Sessions.
・While the APWF Secretariat proposed to deepen the discussion about quality growth, the members pointed out the necessity to determine the meaning of the keywords appropriately as there are several similar words.
・It is necessary to pay appropriate attention to the specific water issues faced by each sub-region, such as the Pacific Island countries, as it is very difficult to discuss the issues in the sector-based Parallel Thematic Sessions.
2) APWF’s annual three thematic priority action plans
・The three theme leaders (UNESCO for Water Cycle Management; UNESCAP for Governance and Inclusive Development; Asian Development Bank for Finance) reviewed the achievements of the activities in 2019 and proposed the activities and the thematic focus for 2020 by considering prospective inputs in the 4th APWS.
・The 4 Asia focus sessions, namely, Water Cycle Management, Irrigation, Governance, and Finance, will be organized following the acceptance of our thematic proposals for the Stockholm World Water Week 2020: Accelerating Actions. The APWF Secretariat, the thematic leaders, and the co-conveners will advance the preparation, using this as stepping stones to success for the 4th APWS.
・The progress of production of the Asian Water Development Outlook 2020 (ADB), the overview of the Korea International Water Week 2020 (Korea Water Forum) and Singapore International Water Week 2020 (PUB), were also introduced as relevant to the APWF and as milestones to the 4th APWS.
3) 9th World Water Forum
・The 9th World Water Forum Secretariat called for APWF’s participation in the Action Groups and Consultative Groups in line with their 4 thematic priorities (1. Water Security and Sanitation, 2. Rural Development, 3. Cooperation, and 4. Means & Tools). The APWF members discussed their positions as ways of contributing to the 9th World Water Forum.
・The APWF Secretariat will try to make positive efforts to correct further information to contribute to the 9th World Water Forum appropriately. The APWF Secretariat will closely communicate with the APWF members as well as the host of the 4th APWS to reflect the 4th APWS outcomes into the 9th World Water Forum to promote the regional cooperation, which will contribute to the solutions of water challenges.
Agenda of the 25th APWF GC Meeting (PDF)