CAWater-Info / International organizations / The Asia-Pacific Water Forum


Concept of the APWF

Background

Water is crucial to life and all forms of social, economic, and environmental development. According to the UN Task Force on Water and Sanitation (2005), safe water and sanitation is a prerequisite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for sustaining good health and quality of life.

As described in the Regional Document that was presented at the Fourth World Water Forum (4th WWF), the Asia-Pacific region faces formidable water related challenges. These include the need for increased access to improved water supplies and sanitation1 through investments in infrastructure and capacity building, the protection and restoration of river basins as the fundamental provider of freshwater resources through Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and the need to drastically reduce the vulnerability of human populations to water-related disasters.

There are already a large number of stakeholders, from international institutions to local NGOs, who are spearheading important activities and have achieved significant results throughout the Asia-Pacific region. For example, between 1990 and 2002, 35% of the total urban population (representing over 368 million people) gained access to improved drinking water. As recognised during the participatory regional consultation process that preceded the 4th WWF, such improvements can be further enhanced by harnessing the knowledge and experience of these stakeholders and creating a cooperative platform through which this growing knowledge base can be disseminated.

In calling for the creation of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), the regions water ministers sought to establish an effective mechanism to encourage more collaborative efforts on water resources management and to accelerate the process of effective integration of water resources management into the socio-economic development process of the Asian and Pacific region.

The APWF was initially proposed by the participants during the 4th World Water Forums Regional Preparatory Process that was coordinated by the Japan Water Forum (JWF). During the Ministerial Meeting that lead to the Joint Declaration, the establishment of the APWF was supported by several development agencies in the region, including ADB, UNESCAP, GWP, KWF, SOPAC, JBIC, MRC, FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNISDR and IUCN. On the Asia-Pacific Day at the 4WWF, the establishment of the APWF was announced by Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, the President of Japan Water Forum.

At that same meeting, an additional proposal calling for the APWF to organize an Asia-Pacific Water Summit was also unanimously accepted. It was agreed that first Summit is to be held in Japan in 2007.