4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit Report
Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), which Japan Water Forum conducts the secretariat, and Kumamoto City successfully organized the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) on 23 (Sat)-24 (Sun) April 2022 under the theme of “Water for Sustainable Development: best practices and the next generation.”
|Date||23-24 April, 2022|
-Kumamoto Jo Hall ,Kumamoto City, Kumamoto, Japan
Kumamoto City of Japan
Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF)
|Water for Sustainable Development -Best Practices and the Next Generation-|
|Speaker List (Heads of State and Government Meeting and High Level Statement)|
We organized the 4th APWS in a hybrid format of Kumamoto Castle Hall and online. We originally planned to hold it in October 2020, but we had to postpone the global spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and other factors. On the other hand, the need to accelerate action while reviewing past measures to improve water security became more apparent. Therefore, we provided an opportunity for the government leaders to express their countries’ practices to each government leader and confirm and gain confidence that the government leader’s strong leadership is essential to solving water issues.
As a result, Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress kindly participated in the 4th APWS online. In addition, his Majesty gave his commemorative lecture titled”Heart, Minds and Water ～Touching Water in People’s Beliefs ～.
Moreover, as a host country representative, we were honored to have Prime Minister Fumio Kishida participate in the 4th APWS at Kumamoto Castle Hall and deliver the keynote speech at the Head of State and Government (HSG) Meeting in addition to his opening address in the Opening Ceremony. From other countries, 17 HSG, 19 ministers (Table 1), 28 leaders of international organizations, and ambassadors in Tokyo participated in the 4th APWS. The “Kumamoto Declaration,” the outcome of the 4th APWS, was adopted unanimously by the HSG who participated in the 4th APWS. Furthermore, we were able to organize the 9 Parallel Thematic Sessions, 4 Integration Sessions, and 2 Special Sessions by gaining the cooperation and collaboration from experts and practitioners, etc., to kindly respond to the questions from the HSG in line with the Kumamoto Declaration. As the achievement of these discussions, we were also able to adopt the 4th APWS Chairs Summary in the Closing Ceremony.
Table 1： Countries of HSG and Ministers participated in the 4th APWS
|HSGs：||Cambodia, Tuvalu, Lao PDR, Uzbekistan, Japan (participation in Kumamoto)
Bhutan, Vietnam（Online, real-time participation）
Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Nauru, Niue, Philippines, Bangladesh, Marshall Islands (video message)
|Ministerial levels:||Brunei, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Niue, Maldives, Philippines, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Japan (participation in Kumamoto)
Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Palau, Fiji, Armenia (online and real-time participation)
Azerbaijan, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Nepal, Mongolia (video message)
Discussion of the 4th APWS and the Achievements
We organized the 4th APWS to share forward-looking solutions and practices with HSG and support their policy decisions to accelerate actions to develop a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable society by resolving various water-related issues in the recovery of COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific. We also organized it to promote further collaboration among the domestic and international multi-stakeholders to support developing such societies.
The APWF Secretariat discussed with the experts and practitioners of domestic and international organizations several times what is necessary for the Asia-Pacific region to recover from the Covid-19 by addressing water issues and a complex array of related problems to enable sustainable development over the next generations. We then achieved the consensus and defined quality-oriented growth as the growth that satisfies all three factors:
(1) Resilience to the meteorological phenomena, flood, and drought intensified by chancing climate, maintaining or restoring a sound water cycle;
(2) Inclusiveness, ensuring that no one will be left beyond, irrespective of gender, including the poor and socially vulnerable, in access to safe water and sanitation, as well as food and nutrition, measures to water-related disasters and water resources management; and
(3) Sustainability to protect and maintain social activities and environment. We also made the framework of discussion to promote the necessary measures from both structural and non-structural measures to realize the quality growth in Asia and the Pacific through the opportunity of the 4th APWS. Below I share the results of each of the 4th APWS programs.
At the Opening Ceremony of the 4th APWS, Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Chair of the Joint Executive Committee of the 4th APWS, President of the APWF, and former Prime Minister of Japan, delivered his opening remarks. He highlighted that water is the cornerstone of national and regional prosperity, that human wisdom is required to accept and share the blessings and threats of water, and that resolving water issues is essential to achieving human security in environmental, economic, and social linkages.
Heads of State and Government (HSG) Meeting, the adoption of the Kumamoto Declaration, and High-level Statement Segment
In the HSG meeting on the afternoon of 23rd April, we conducted the final discussion of the “Kumamoto Declaration,” the outcome document of the 4th APWS. The Kumamoto Declaration document was adopted unanimously by the HSG who participated in the 4th APWS.
Holding the 9 parallel thematic sessions, 2 Special Sessions, and 4 Integration Sessions, and the adoption of the 4th APWS Chairs Summary
The HSGs who participated in the 4th APWS asked the questions to address the barriers, breakthroughs, opportunities, and ways forward for reform and improvement in governance, finance, and science and technology to leaders, experts, scientists, and all participants gathered at the 4th APWS and answered the questions as the part of the outcomes of the 4th APWS. To answer the questions, we organized the nine parallel thematic sessions on the afternoon of Day1 and the morning of Day2 of the 4th APWS.
Follow-up of the 4th APWS
In preparing the 4th APWS by the hybrid format of the Kumamoto Jo Hall and Online under the limited resources of Japan Water Forum, we struggled to prepare for the “summit” in light of uncertainties regarding the number of cases of COVID-19infection in Japan and overseas, but we were able to organize the 4th APWS in cooperation with Kumamoto City and the Japanese Government. We cordially appreciate all who kindly give us various support and collaboration to the Japan Water Forum toward implementing the 4th APWS.
We would like to acknowledge Mr. Ravi Narayanan, former CEO of WaterAid, for his contributions as Chair of the APWF Governing Council from the establishment of the APWF in 2006 until the completion of the 4th APWS, along with various helpful advice to the APWF activities of the Japan Water Forum, including the APWS. Due to health reasons, Mr. Ravi Narayaran stepped down as Chair of the APWF Governing Council. We conducted the alternating ceremony of the APWF Governing Council Chair from Mr. Narayanan to Mr. Mark Pascoe, CEO of the International Water Centre of Griffith University, Australia, during the closing ceremony.
In preparing the 4th APWS, we were able to position the 4th APWS as one of the milestones for the mid-term review of the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028 (the Water Action Decades) of the UN resolution.
The UN Conference for the Midterm Review of the Water Action Decade will be held in March 2023 at the UN Headquarters, which focuses on water for the first time in 46 years since the one in Mar del Plata in 1977. The Japan Water Forum will disseminate the Kumamoto Declaration, the 4th APWS Chairs Summary, and “Showcase and Roadmap for quality-oriented growth in Asia and the Pacific,” which summarize the wisdom and recommendations of the Asia-Pacific region. We will continue to work with various policymakers, experts, and practitioners in Japan and overseas to contribute to resolving water issues in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
Moreover, we will conduct the measures to ensure meaningful engagement of all youth in policy, decision-making and monitoring of water fields collaborating with Japanese and international multi-stakeholders, referring to “Message from Youth” delivered at the closing ceremony of the 4th APWS by representatives of youth from the Asia-Pacific region and high school students from Fukuoka Japan.
(Reference) Kumamoto Initiative (Japanese Government’s Initiative)
Click here for the Youth Water Forum website.