THEME 3: ENVIRONMENTAL HYDRAULICS & INDUSTRIAL FLOWS
Title: UNESCO Water Security Initiatives For Enhanced Resilience And 2030 Agenda Delivery In Asia And The Pacific Region
by Prof. Shahbaz Khan
UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Jakarta, Indonesia
The Asia-Pacific region is extremely dynamic as it is undergoing rapid urbanization, economic growth, industrialization, and extensive agricultural development. Although these are desirable trends in many ways, they also represent drivers that are affecting the region’s capacity to meet its socio-economic water development and environmental sustainability needs. The region is extremely diverse, with seven of the world’s most populous countries and many of its smallest nations, several of which are located in the Pacific. Water security, however, remains the key challenge for many countries coping with complex water issues that cut across economic sectors in the region. Population growth and economic development have placed unprecedented pressures on water. Estimates show that with current practices, the regional will face significant shortfall between forecasted demand and available supply of water by 2030 with and without climate change impacts. The world’s fast-growing urban areas in Asia and the Pacific region are consuming more water for both domestic and industrial use. The is leading to intensification of existing and emergence hotspots that have overlapping challenges such as poor access to water and sanitation, limited water availability, deteriorating water quality, and increased exposure to climate change and water-related disasters. Ever increasing agriculture, urban, domestic and industrial water demands to water resources for the Asia-Pacific region are posing complex policy, planning and management issues at local, river basin and regional levels. Through the International Hydrological Program UNESCO is addressing these issues through a set of knowledge and capacity building tools such as strategic water planning and approaches. This paper will provide an overview of the key principles related to water policy, planning and successful management examples of integrated water resources management in river basins in the Asia and the Pacific region.