South East Asia Water Ministers Forum Discuss Sustainable Water Solutions For A Changing Urban Environment [Press Releases]
Singapore, 4 July 2011 – Water Ministers from South East Asia and other regions met today at the inaugural South East Asia Water Ministers Forum and had an engaging discussion on key water management challenges that the region faces.
Jointly organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore and PUB, Singapore’s national water agency in conjunction with the Singapore International Water Week, the inaugural South East Asia Water Ministers Forum also presented avenues for future collaborations on water management and solutions among countries. This by-invitation high-level meeting was attended by ministers from Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Tuvalu and water experts from the various International Organisations (Please refer to Annex A for details). They were joined by over 200 participants from the global water industry.
“Seasonal water scarcity, a high proportion of non-revenue water, coping with an ageing infrastructure, and fragmented approach in water resource management are just some of the regional water issues that we must deal with. Today’s forum is a critical stepping stone towards greater commitment in resolving some of these issues. Through a common platform and shared determination, we can share and exchange experiences relating to water solutions as well as initiate actions to achieve greater progress in sustainable water management,” said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in his opening remarks.
At the session moderated by Ambassador Ong Keng Yong from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, the Ministers also shared their plans in addressing the challenges their countries faced. These include institutional reforms and the approach in adapting to the challenges and uncertainties of climate change.
His Excellency Shri Kamal Nath, India’s Minister of Urban Development highlighted that urban areas, while being more vulnerable to climate changes, also offered the greatest opportunities for synergising sustainability and developmental concerns from the angles of mitigation as well as adaptation. “The development of sustainable habitat standards would include standards aimed at increasing energy efficiency in the residential and commercial sectors, urban transport, water supply and sewerage, urban planning and municipal waste,” he said.
On climate change, Dr Mok Mareth, Cambodia’s Senior Minister and Minister of Environment, shared about Cambodia’s Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR), which aims to integrate climate risk and resilience into the country’s core development planning and implementation. From 2012 this will include investments in irrigation and water infrastructure development, plans to enhance climate resilient agriculture and holistic management approaches, such as ecosystem-based adaptation strategies, and improved financial management of climate risks.
Representatives from the Asian Development Bank, Asia Pacific Water Forum, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, World Bank as well as the World Water Council also shared on the roles international organisations play amid these challenges.
The discussion at this Forum will be summarised and included as part of the Blue Paper, a documentation of the main discussions on water issues covering policy, leadership, infrastructure and technologies during the Singapore International Water Week.
Ministers/Speakers at the inaugural South East Asia Water Ministers Forum 2011
1. HE Yoshiro Mori, President, Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), Former PM of Japan.
2. Hon. Kausea Natano, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Communication and Public Utilities, Tuvalu
3. YB Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Development, Brunei Darussalam
4. HE Dr Mok Mareth, Senior Minister and Minister for Environment, Kingdom of Cambodia
5. HE Luis Filipe da Silva, Secretary of State (Water), Angola
6. Ms Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Vice President (Knowledge Management), Asian Development Bank
7. HE Ir Djoko Kirmanto, Dipl HE, Minister of Public Works, Republic of Indonesia
8. HE Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Urban Development, India
9. HE Moyane Moleleki, Minister of Natural Resources, Lesotho
10. Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Under Secretary General, United Nations, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
11. YB Dato’ Sri Peter Chin, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Malaysia
12. The Hon Ramon J.P Paje, Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Republic of the Philippines
13. HE Mr Mohamed Aslam, Minister of Housing and Environment, Republic of Maldives
14. Mr Jim Adams, Vice President (East Asia and Pacific Region), World Bank
15. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore
16. HE Benny Allan MP, Minister, Department of Environment and Conservation, Papua New Guinea
17. The Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Water Supply and Drainage, Sri Lanka
18. Mr Loic Fauchon, President, World Water Council
Source: PUB via SIWW