Setting a course for water in Asia Pacific

ICE WaRM, represented by Executive Sector Specialist, Andrew Johnson, attended the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS), held in Yangon, Myanmar on 11-12 December 2017, which aimed to promote cooperation and partnership, as well as share knowledge and experiences to resolve future challenges in water sufficiency for sustainable development. The Asia Pacific region, expected to become the centre of growth to lead the world economy, has been facing many water related challenges due to increased urbanisation and an expansion in industry and cultivation.

A presentation by the World Bank Group “Financing Implementation of the Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals”, explained that moving from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), greatly increases the level of ambition, requiring more funding over an extended period.

While all countries, regardless of their state of development, need repayable finance, it has become apparent that concessional finance will need to be leveraged with a focus on domestic commercial finance.

World Bank Global Lead: Water Security & Water Resources Management, Mr. Greg Browder, indicated that transitioning to commercial financing in the region, would require the development of strong foundations around policy, regulation and institutional arrangements.

It is expected that around $114 billion per year will be needed to deliver universal access to safely managed WASH. This could be financed through commercial investment opportunities available through global pension funds, insurers and sovereign wealth funds worth $17 trillion, and $100 trillion through the global bond market.

On the second day of the summit, 600 representatives from 24 countries, including national governments and international organisations, adopted a “Yangon Declaration” subtitled “The Pathway Forward”. Participants pledged to “double investment at the regional level in infrastructure and community-based efforts to address water-related disasters and significantly increase water security.”

The two page declaration identified water related facilities as being harder to handle via public-private partnerships than other infrastructure and calls for “innovative financial solutions” to be adopted. It also highlights a need for advanced research and capacity development to which ICE WaRM is well placed to respond.

Mr Johnson also participated in a Workshop organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations for the development of the South Asia Water Scarcity Programme which will support South Asia in their pursuit for food and water securities, and for sustainable social and economic development, under increasing water scarcity. A key focus of the programme is to facilitate the development of open access to water information system to better target interventions and investments in water and food security.

ICE WaRM is pleased to be a partner of the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) which launched the Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) at the summit. The assessment looks at the current state of the environmental, social and economic characteristics in the basin to provide an evidence base for a wide range of planning decisions and a technical reference for detailed assessments of planning options.

AWP’s contribution through the SOBA enables the Government of Myanmar to logically proceed with development in the Ayeyarwady Basin.

The Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Plan began in 2015 and the whole project is expected to be completed in 2020.

Yangon Declaration: The Pathway forward

APWS Program Book

3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit, Yangon, Myanmar 2017