PDF Format
  Text Format


Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 102 No. 5
Monday, 7 February 2005
 

THE FAO/NETHERLANDS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER FOR FOOD AND ECOSYSTEMS:

31 JANUARY – 4 FEBRUARY 2005

The FAO/Netherlands International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems met from 31 January to 4 February 2005 at the Netherlands Congress Centre, in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Conference, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, was attended by over 400 participants representing governments, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as academia and the private sector.

The Conference was convened to identify successful processes that lead to best practices for achieving land and water development through integrated water resources management (IWRM) with an ecosystem approach. It also sought to make recommendations to governments and organizations in implementing actions on water for food and ecosystems. The Conference adopted its report, which contains recommendations for implementing IWRM.

A BRIEF INSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF WATER FOR FOOD AND ECOSYSTEMS

Water is essential to life on our planet. With population growth and increased use of water per capita imposing growing pressure on the availability and quality of water resources, sustainable water use has become an important issue in today’s human activities and ecosystem functionings. However, unsustainable water use is common and its consequence is severe. Often the satisfaction of basic food needs is obtained at the expense of the natural environment, which in turn threatens the very basis of future food production. The poor, especially those living in local communities, are the first to suffer from this. To ease this problem, an integrated approach to water resources and ecosystems is critical.

Over the past 40 years, the international community has transformed this increased awareness into commitments to sustainable management of our planet’s available natural resources, including water. The remaining challenge for the international community is to implement these commitments to achieve sustainable water use.

The following is a brief account of the international community’s efforts to achieve IWRM, which provides the context for this Conference’s focus on water for food and ecosystems.

UNCED AND AGENDA 21: At the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held from 3-14 June, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, world leaders adopted Agenda 21, a programme of action for sustainable development. Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 on the protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources sets out the general objective to ensure that adequate supplies of good quality water are maintained for the entire population of the planet, while preserving the hydrological, biological and chemical functions of ecosystems, adapting human activities within the capacity limits of nature, and combating the vectors of water-related diseases. Stressing the need for IWRM, Chapter 18 also states that the multi-sectoral nature of water resources development in the context of socioeconomic development must be recognized, as well as the multi-interest utilization of water resources for water supply and sanitation, agriculture, industry, urban development, hydropower generation, inland fisheries, transportation, recreation, low and flat lands management and other activities.

WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: The World Food Summit, which convened from 13-17 November 1996 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, adopted the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The Declaration, inter alia, underscores the political commitment to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015. This commitment was reaffirmed at World Food Summit: Five Years Later, which convened from 10-13 June 2002 in Rome.

WORLD WATER FORUM: The 2nd World Water Forum met from 17-22 March 2000 in The Hague, The Netherlands. The resulting Ministerial Declaration on Water Security in the 21st Century identified key challenges for the future, such as: meeting basic water needs; securing food supply; protecting ecosystems; sharing water resources; managing risks; and valuing water; and governing water wisely. In the Declaration, ministers underscored their support for actions based on IWRM, and agreed to review progress on implementation on a regular basis and provide support to the UN system to periodically reassess the state of freshwater resources. The 3rd World Water Forum convened from 16-23 March 2003 in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga, Japan. Delegates adopted a Ministerial Declaration and launched a Portfolio of Water Actions. The Declaration, inter alia, declares that water is a driving force for sustainable development, and emphasizes that ministers should: ensure good governance with a stronger focus on community-based approaches addressing equity; mobilize private and public financing; and identify and develop public-private partnerships, while ensuring the necessary public control and legal frameworks to protect public interests.

MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: The UN Millennium Summit, held from 6-8 September 2000, in New York, adopted the Millennium Declaration, which contains a number of development goals. These goals were elaborated and developed into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as contained in the September 2001 Secretary-General’s report on the Road Map towards the Implementation of the Millennium Development (A/56/326). The MDGs, which have become commonly accepted as a framework for measuring progress in development, comprise eight goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators, some of which are directly relevant to water, food and ecosystems. MDG-1 aims, inter alia, to halve by the year 2015 the proportion of the world’s people who suffer from hunger, and MDG-7 aims, inter alia, to reverse the loss of environmental resources and to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FRESHWATER: Under the theme of “Water: A Key to Sustainable Development,” the International Conference on Freshwater convened in Bonn, Germany, in December 2001, to provide input on freshwater issues to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The Bonn Conference was held ten years after the Dublin International Conference on Water and the Environment, which provided input on freshwater issues to UNCED. The Conference addressed the themes of: equitable access and sustainable supply of water for the poor; strategies for sustainable and equitable management of water resources; and integration of gender perspectives. Ministers also considered the equitable and sustainable use of water resources, and the mobilization of financial resources for infrastructure.

WSSD: WSSD met from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. Key commitments relevant to water resources include: to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking water and who do not have access to basic sanitation; to develop IWRM and water efficiency plans by 2005; and to establish by 2004 a regular process for global reporting on, and assessment of, the state of the marine environment.

CSD: The 11th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-11), which took place from 28 April to 9 May 2003, at UN headquarters in New York, decided that its multi-year programme of work for the period 2004-2007 would be organized as a series of two-year Implementation Cycle, each comprising a Review Session and a Policy Session, which would consider a thematic cluster of issues and a suite of cross-cutting issues. CSD-11 decided that the first Implementation Cycle in 2004/2005 would focus on the issues of water, sanitation and human settlements. CSD-12, which took place from 19-30 April 2004, at UN headquarters in New York, identified constraints, obstacles, successes and lessons learned with regard to water, sanitation and human settlements issues, and called for building capacity in developing countries, with financial and technical support from developed countries.

ELECTRONIC-FORUM: FAO launched an electronic forum (E-Forum) in November and December 2004 to prepare for the Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems. The E-Forum aimed to provide informed recommendations to national and international decision makers on ways to develop instruments to implement IWRM practices, and to identify obstacles to developing best practices that national and international policy makers could tackle to further support the implementation of international commitments. The findings of the E-Forum, based on the review of case studies by over 170 participants, were presented to the Conference.

AFRICAN PRE-CONFERENCE ON WATER FOR FOOD AND ECOSYSTEMS: This Conference, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 4-8 November 2004, focused on: analyzing practical national experiences; offering insights into the opportunities and constraints of implementing IWRM; and assisting in the formulation of recommendations for the African region to enhance both practitioners’ and policymakers’ views on IWRM issues.

REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE

OPENING SESSION

In his opening statement on Monday morning, Conference Chair Cees Veerman, Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, emphasized the essential role of water management in achieving the MDGs. He called for immediate actions to address sustainable water management and poverty alleviation.

HRH Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, urged participants to learn from their experiences, make concrete recommendations, and accelerate implementation.

David Harcharik, Deputy Director General of FAO, stressed the need for more efforts, including greater investment in agriculture to reduce hunger and increase food security.

Addisu Legesse, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, summarized the outcome of the African Pre-Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems, urging participants to identify concrete steps for: promoting capacity building; increasing and sharing data collection; and integrating local experiences and traditional knowledge.

During the week, participants convened in plenary on Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning, Thursday afternoon and Friday morning to consider: the three themes of the Conference, recommendations of the working groups, and reports of the E-Forum, the Ministerial Roundtable, and the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue.

On Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and Thursday morning, three working groups met in parallel to discuss and prepare recommendations for the three themes of the Conference: fostering implementation; a “new economy” of water for food and ecosystems; and enabling environment.

On Thursday afternoon, a Ministerial Roundtable was held to consider the recommendations of the working groups. On Friday morning, a Multi-stakeholder Dialogue took place to address the roles of various stakeholders in implementing the recommendations of the Conference.

The following report summarizes the discussions in the plenary sessions, the working groups, the Ministerial Roundtable and the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue.

PLENARY SESSIONS

On Monday afternoon, participants convened in a plenary session, chaired by Hans Hoogeveen, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, to hear introductions to the Conference themes and consider the Conference objectives and working methodologies.

In his overall introduction to the themes of the Conference, R. Rabbinge, InterAcademy Council, presented an analysis of African water management issues, highlighting obstacles and recommending water development options. Regarding the theme of fostering implementation, Rabbinge suggested focusing on ways to translate strategies and plans into action. On the theme of a “new economy” of water for food and ecosystems, he said the key issue is considering users’ willingness to pay for various water services. On the theme of enabling environment, Rabbinge suggested that attention be given to issues, such as: investment in agriculture activities and infrastructure; promoting capacity building, institutions and governance; and investing in science and technology.

Presenting on the theme of fostering implementation, B.P. Sonjica, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa, stressed the need for a fundamental change in water management through legal and policy measures. She indicated that the present challenges are to implement policies, while avoiding any harm to the economy, and to ensure greater efficiency and long-term sustainable use of water. Sonjica suggested: regulation on water use through authorization and licensing processes; a focus on developing infrastructure; and allocation and redirection of funds for water management.

Regarding the theme of a “new economy” of water for food and ecosystems, Kerry Turner, University of East Anglia, noted that the integrated approach to water management requires investment in infrastructure, governance and technology. He said economic measures need to be combined with technology innovation and institutional reforms in order to manage natural resources.

Introducing the theme of enabling environment, Margaret Catley-Carlson, Chair of the Global Water Partnership (GWP), outlined three elements identified by GWP as key to creating an enabling environment: setting goals for water use; establishing appropriate legislative frameworks; and developing financing and incentive structures. She emphasized the need for water sector representatives to demonstrate to governments how the integration of water management, environmental protection and food production policies can produce positive results.

Chair Hoogeveen encouraged participants to focus on learning lessons from one another and formulating concrete recommendations for action. He said participants in the three working groups would hear case presentations and identify recommendations, and that their results would be reported back to plenary.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num1e.html

On Tuesday morning, Chair Hoogeveen invited Agnes van Ardenne, Minister for Development Co-operation of the Netherlands, to address the plenary. Minister van Ardenne emphasized the close link between the Conference’s topics and poverty issues. She called for immediate action to integrate issues relating to water, agriculture and ecosystems.

Yacouba Samaké, Ministry of Livestock and Fishery of Mali and Co-Chair of Working Group One on Fostering Implementation, presented the group’s preliminary results. He highlighted the importance of: involving local communities in decision-making processes; information sharing between stakeholders; using technology to improve agricultural production; and training in land-use regulations.

Ricardo Zarati Rojas, Ministry of Agriculture of Paraguay and Co-Chair of Working Group Two on A “New Economy” of Water for Food and Ecosystems, summarized some of the group’s preliminary results, including: developing clear water rights allocation systems; clarifying the roles of the public and private sectors; and supporting further studies on rainwater harvesting.

The preliminary results of Working Group Three on Enabling Environment were presented by Spyros Kouvelis, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat. Regarding good practices for water management, Kouvelis emphasized the need for: harmonizing policy; enhancing the participation of development authorities, the private sector and stakeholders; and promoting capacity building targeted at institutional strengthening.

Peter Bridgewater, Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention, recommended ways forward, including: establishing institutions and governance for water management; linking marine and terrestrial systems; and enhancing communication, education and public awareness.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num2e.html

On Wednesday morning, Chair Hoogeveen called on the co-chairs of the three working groups to report on the outcome of their discussions to date. Participants also heard presentations on a CBD work programme, a side event and the E-Forum.

Speaking on behalf of Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), David Coates, CBD Secretariat, highlighted that the highest rate of biodiversity loss occurs in inland waters, which he said were the most threatened of all ecosystems due to increased water demand. Coates noted that the CBD work programme on inland water biodiversity focuses on the need to: integrate conservation, biodiversity and sustainable use in all sectors and programmes; protect inland water ecosystems; rehabilitate ecosystems; and prevent the introduction of alien species.

Tekalign Mamo, State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ethiopia, presented the conclusions from a side event held by Wetlands International and other organizations to discuss the role of wetlands in water resource management. He reported that participants at the side event urged the plenary to recommend: including assessments of the role of wetlands and biodiversity in IWRM; establishing platforms for interdisciplinary information sharing and decision-making processes; empowering local communities; and encouraging transboundary cooperation.

Gerardo van Halsema, FAO, presented recommendations of the E-Forum. He said that about 170 participants engaged in the E-Forum and reviewed 78 case studies, six of which were presented during the Conference. On the theme of fostering implementation, some of the E-Forum’s recommendations included: generating problem-oriented participatory knowledge; developing continuing learning strategies; changing from sectoral to multiple purpose problem solving frameworks for management systems; and generating common views for implementing common actions. On the theme of a “new economy” of water for food and ecosystems, recommendations included: combining economic principles with government regulations so as to safeguard vulnerable uses that are in the interest of the public; carrying out stakeholder-oriented and adaptive valuation approaches; and limiting market instrument use to certain conditions. Referring to the theme of enabling environment, participants recommended: transforming governments’ roles from administrative management and service provision to policy making and regulating initiatives; adopting rights-based approaches that guarantee minimum levels of water access; and adopting explicit programmes that aim at enhancing the productivity and livelihoods of the poor.

Following the presentations, Chair Hoogeveen offered some guidance to Conference participants on preparing recommendations in the working groups. He urged participants to focus on how to “make it happen!” when synthesizing their discussions in the working groups. He recommended that participants: build on the lessons learned from the presentation of case studies; consider key successes and failures; and relate them to concrete activities.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num3e.html

On Thursday afternoon, Ton van der Zon, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, who chaired the plenary session, introduced the synthesis report on the findings and recommendations of the three working groups. Representatives from the working groups elaborated on details of the synthesis report.

For Working Group One on Fostering Implementation, the representative outlined four challenges: accessing to and sharing of knowledge and information on the interrelatedness of water, food and ecosystems in river basins; building knowledge and know-how on the interrelatedness of water, food and ecosystems in river basins; making use of knowledge in decision-making processes on water, food and ecosystems in river basins; and monitoring, evaluation and appraisal for policies of river basin development.

For Working Group Two on A “New Economy” of Water for Food and Ecosystems, the representative reported on the three challenges identified: awareness raising, capacity building and increasing local water productivity; translating into quantitative values and allocation decisions; and using market mechanisms, charges and pricing.

For Working Group Three on Enabling Environment, the representative outlined four challenges: harmonization of policies on water for food and ecosystems; improvement of efficient and productive use of water; equitable water use and adequate access of the poor to water for agriculture and ecosystems; and establishment and development of institutions at basin, middle and community levels in IWRM for agriculture and ecosystems.

In the ensuing discussions, participants raised questions of clarification and suggested additional amendments to the draft recommendations.

A representative from IUCN-The World Conservation Union in Africa, reported on the Niger River Basin Roundtable, which met on Tuesday and Wednesday. He said the conclusions of the Roundtable included that: donor agencies should support the “Shared Vision for the Sustainable Development of the Niger Basin” process currently being undertaken by the Niger Basin Authority; the Niger Basin Authority’s role in conflict prevention should be strengthened; and the costs of transboundary river management must be shared fairly.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num4e.html

WORKING GROUPS

FOSTERING IMPLEMENTATION: On Monday afternoon, this working group was co-chaired by Luis Espinosa, Vice Minister for Soils and Water of the Dominican Republic, and Martin Tofinga, Minister of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development of Kiribati. Bakary Kone, Wetlands International, presented a case study on The Niger, a Lifeline: Economic and Ecological Outcomes of Effective Water Management in the Upper Niger River Basin.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num1e.html

On Tuesday, this working group was co-chaired by Espinosa and Tofinga. Participants heard presentations on:

  • Knowledge for Decision Making in the Pantanal: Integration of Technical, Ecological and Socio-Economic Aspects by Celso Marcatto, Ministry of Environment of Brazil, and Rob Jongman, Alterra Landscape Centre of the Netherlands;
     

  • Interest, Pay and Say of Farmers and Nature Conservers in Dutch Local Water Management by Henk Tiesinga, Dutch Association of Water Boards; and
     

  • Addressing the Impact of Livestock on Water Availability and Quality by Pierre Gerber, Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative of FAO, and Bingsheng Ke, Ministry of Agriculture of China.

Issues and concerns raised by participants during the discussions included: developing adequate water legislation; enabling local communities to take responsibility for water management; carrying out in-depth studies before constructing dams to identify potential effects; financing water projects for developing countries; guaranteeing agricultural diversification; ensuring that the benefits of water projects are equitably shared; and decentralizing water management authorities.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num2e.html

On Thursday, the FAO Secretariat presented the working group’s draft recommendations, including the four identified challenges. Participants discussed and amended some of the recommendations. Issues raised during the discussion included: the application of the Ramsar Convention principle on the wise use of wetlands; facilitation of information sharing and communication between farmers at the local level; and the importance that any reference to river basins should also refer to “various ecological systems.”

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num4e.html

On Friday morning, plenary adopted the Conference report by acclamation, which included all the recommendations of the working group as amended.

Recommendations: The four challenges identified by the working group are as follows:

  • accessing to and sharing of knowledge and information on the interrelatedness of water, food and ecosystems of river basins in different ecosystems;
     

  • building knowledge and know-how on the interrelatedness of water, food and ecosystems of river basins in different ecosystems;
     

  • applying knowledge in decision-making processes on the interrelatedness of water, food and ecosystems of river basins; and
     

  • monitoring, evaluating and appraising river basin policies and projects in different ecosystems.

The recommendations on instruments for implementation of these challenges included:

  • developing a legal framework that addresses all levels of government;
     

  • establishing knowledge and information systems to monitor various biophysical resources and processes in ecosystems and to ensure accessibility to all stakeholders;
     

  • applying the polluter pays principle;
     

  • exploring the valuation of wetland functions for longer-term sustainability;
     

  • exploring public private partnerships in water management; and
     

  • employing supply and demand technologies.

A “NEW ECONOMY” OF WATER FOR FOOD AND ECOSYSTEMS: On Monday afternoon, this working group was co-chaired by Ricardo Zarati Rojas, and Anil Agarwal, Ministry of Agriculture of India. Margarida García-Vila, University of Córdoba, presented the case study Towards a More Sustainable Use of Water for Food and Nature under Scarcity in Andalucía, Spain. In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: the allocation of water rights; the calculation of water prices; and the need to include infrastructure, maintenance and administrative costs in water pricing. Some participants from developing countries noted the difficulty of implementing water charges and stressed the need for long-term investments in infrastructure and access to water, especially in African countries. Participants also noted the need to internalize the environmental cost of water pollution in water prices, and highlighted the importance of establishing economic instruments to motivate water efficiency among water users.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num1e.html

On Tuesday morning, this working group was co-chaired by Agarwal and Roja. The FAO Secretariat outlined proposed recommendations towards a “new economy,” including: the need to recognize that scarcity of water resources and scarcity of access to exploit water resources are central to the issue of a “new economy”; the importance of awareness raising and capacity building; and the need to elaborate on the role of different stakeholders in implementing “new economy” arrangements. J. J. Botha, Institute for Soil, Climate and Water, presented a case study on “In-field Rainwater Harvesting in South Africa.” In the discussion that followed, participants considered how to apply in-field rainwater harvesting techniques in areas hillier than those presented in the case study. Several participants highlighted potential environmental and social concerns over up-scaling in-field harvesting techniques, while others highlighted positive impacts of these techniques on ecosystems.

On Tuesday afternoon, Laurence Smith, Imperial College London, summarized the case study on New Perspectives on the Impacts of Irrigation on Fisheries for Laos and Sri Lanka. Pablo Lloret, Water Conservation Fund of Ecuador, presented a case study on the Environmental Fund in Ecuador. In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed issues relating to: the possibility of integrating water and forest management; the structure of Fund management; and the contribution of water users to the Fund.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num2e.html

On Thursday morning, the working group session, co-chaired by Saleh and Agarwal, considered the group’s draft recommendations to the Conference. In the discussion, a participant suggested including instruments to avoid wasting water in agricultural activities. Discussions also focused on the role of actors and implementation activities, including: adding practical ways to introduce environmental education into school curricula; expanding the concept of capacity building for disseminating knowledge; mentioning the importance of wetland ecosystems in IWRM strategies; developing research programmes for small-scale technology to support local communities; and involving consumer organizations, international organizations, NGOs, judicial and legislative institutions, local governments, women, indigenous peoples, water companies and large industries as actors.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num4e.html

On Friday morning, plenary adopted the Conference report by acclamation, which included all the recommendations of the working group as amended.

Recommendations: Three challenges were identified by this working group:

  • awareness raising, capacity building and increasing local water productivity for food and ecosystems;
     

  • translating the awareness of water as a valuable resource into quantitative values and allocation decisions; and
     

  • using economic mechanisms to enhance water management systems.

For overcoming such challenges, participants recommended instruments, such as:

  • enhancing public awareness through adding environmental education into school curricula;
     

  • considering universities and research institutes as actors for developing curricula;
     

  • promoting long-term partnerships on dissemination of knowledge and joint-research activities;
     

  • establishing financially self-sufficient river basin organizations;
     

  • coordinating water budgets available under different ministries and using these budgets for integrated institutional approaches; and
     

  • developing indicators to assess the impact of policies.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT: On Monday afternoon, this working group was co-chaired by Cassim Chilumpha, Vice President of Malawi, and Marina Pintar, Deputy State Secretary for Agriculture, Food and Forestry of Slovenia. Participants heard a presentation by Waldemar Mioduszewski, Institute for Land Reclamation and Grassland Farming, Poland, on the Water, Food and Environment Dialogue on the Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive on Agricultural Water Management in the Central Eastern European Region. In the discussion that followed, participants considered a range of issues, including the question of who should be responsible for developing enabling environments, with some participants emphasizing the role of national governments and others suggesting that all stakeholders should have responsibilities.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num1e.html

On Tuesday, the working group sessions were co-chaired by Chilumpha and Pintar. Presentations were delivered on:

  • Restoration of the Chilika Lagoon, a Coastal Wetland in India, by C.L. Trisal, South Asia Office of Wetlands International;
     

  • Managing Water Conflicts through Dialogue in Pangani Basin, Tanzania, by Julius Sarmett, Pangani Basin Water Office, Tanzania; and
     

  • A Common Policy for Water, Initiated in the Grande de Tárcoles River Basin, Costa Rica, by Jorge Mora-Portuguez, Urban Development Foundation, Costa Rica.

In the general discussions, participants pointed out the importance of: promoting awareness and agency-building through dialogues; using clearing-house mechanisms to ensure departmental synergies; and changing attitudes towards water as an economic asset.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num2e.html

On Thursday morning, Patricia Kaliati, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development of Malawi, co-chaired the working group session with Pintar. In considering the working group’s draft recommendations, participants raised, inter alia, the following issues: the importance of women’s participation in developing and implementing water management strategies; means for managing the unpredictability of water availability; the cost and benefits of dam construction; means for encouraging cooperation on transboundary water issues; harmonization of water management policies within government departments and between levels of government; methods for encouraging water efficiency and productivity, such as new technologies, traditional forms of farming, and economic incentives; and the importance of equitable access to water. During the general discussion, many participants shared examples of water management strategies in their countries.

A report of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num4e.html

On Friday morning, plenary adopted the Conference report by acclamation, which included all the recommendations of the working group as amended.

Recommendations: Four challenges were identified by this working group:

  • harmonizing policies on water for food and ecosystems;
     

  • improving the efficient and productive use of water;
     

  • ensuring equitable water use and adequate access of the poor to water for agriculture and ecosystems; and
     

  • establishing and developing institutions at basin, middle and community levels in IWRM for agriculture and ecosystems.

The Conference report included the following recommendations on instruments for implementing such challenges:

  • encouraging development of targeted activities;
     

  • employing economic incentives and disincentives for promoting the efficient and environmental use of water;
     

  • developing comprehensive legal and institutional frameworks, and water demand management plans;
     

  • building partnerships between basin authorities, and national and international NGOs; and
     

  • incorporating the polluter pays principle into commercial agreements.

MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE

On Thursday afternoon, a Ministerial Roundtable convened in parallel with plenary to consider the recommendations of the working groups.

HRH Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, presented the synthesis report, following which Conference Chair Veerman reported on the tasks carried out by each working group and the challenges identified by them.

In the ensuing discussion, ministers addressed the theme of each working group and reiterated that water and ecosystems are of critical importance to our planet. They noted a strong dedication of all countries to promote further actions to achieve sustainable development, alleviate poverty and combat hunger.

On Friday morning in plenary, HRH Prince of Orange, introduced the Ministerial Roundtable’s conclusions as outlined in the paper “Action for all, all in Action.”

A report of the Roundtable discussions and conclusions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/wfe/sdvol102num4e.html

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE

This dialogue convened on Friday morning, and was co-chaired by Carmen Elena Arevalo Correa, Vice Minister of Environment of Colombia, and Achim Steiner, Director General of IUCN, with participation by seven panelists. Co-Chair Correa called on the panelists to focus on what roles actors should play according to the recommendations of the Conference. Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, Indian Institute of Management, emphasized, inter alia, the need to articulate an ecosystem mindset for the activities relating to water, food and ecosystems. Marlies van der Hout and Sonny Leijdekkers, youth representatives of The Hague, specified some of their recommendations, including using experiences from other countries and encouraging education. Patricia Kaliati, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development of Malawi, outlined several water projects in which Malawi is collaborating with neighboring countries, and emphasized the need for financial resources to fund these projects. Jorge Mora Portuguez, Head of the Freshwater Action Network in Central America, stressed the importance of using various methodologies outlined by the Conference and applying them at the national level. Yoshinaga Kenji, FAO Director of Water, outlined FAO’s current water activities on promoting capacity building and sharing knowledge. Hans Wessels, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, noted the necessity of combining actions that ensure safe drinking water and alleviate poverty. Bakary Kone, Wetlands International, stressed the need for non-sectoral legislation for water management.

In the discussions that followed, some participants stressed the need for an integrated approach to funding water projects. Several participants highlighted the role NGOs should play in raising awareness of water issues and the need to increase NGO capacity to propose water activities and projects to governments. Many participants underscored the role of grassroots organizations and indigenous knowledge in planning and implementing water projects.

FINAL PLENARY AND CLOSING SESSION

On Friday morning, Conference Chair Veerman convened the final plenary, which considered the reports of the Ministerial Roundtable and Multi-stakeholder Dialogue and the adoption of the Conference report. HRH Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, called on participants to implement an integrated water management approach in order to meet the MDGs. He summarized the discussion carried out during the Ministerial Roundtable, and introduced its conclusions outlined in the document “Action for all, all in Action.” In this document, ministers recommend that participants focus on ways to promote implementation at the local level and to foster activities that promote IWRM strategies involving various sectors, such as the agriculture, environment, water, fisheries, tourism, mining and energy sectors. They also recommend that participants integrate activities that address the challenges of sustainable development, poverty eradication and food security. Ministers urge cooperation on issues relating to climate change, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity and hunger. They also emphasize that substantive resources from the private and public sectors are needed to implement such recommendations.

Reporting on the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue, Achim Steiner emphasized the importance of moving from a sectoral to an integrated natural resources management framework. He called on participants to expand the dialogue between multi-stakeholders and institutions at the local level.

In considering the report of the Conference, Chair Veerman highlighted the two key successes of the Conference as being: the sharing of innovative case studies on water management; and the production of a proposal for action as embodied in the Conference report. The Conference report was adopted by acclamation.

Following the adoption of the Conference report, Conference Chair Veerman commenced the closing session. Louise Fresco, Assistant Director-General, FAO Agriculture Department, reminded participants of the intrinsic link between the rights to food and water. She emphasized that access to water must be guaranteed but that we cannot continue to use water as if it has no price. She stressed the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the value of water for its productive and environmental purposes in the MDG process. She encouraged civil society to advocate for political will and public awareness of water issues.

In his closing remarks, Conference Chair Veerman noted that the recommendations of this Conference provide useful tools for making sustainable water management possible. He said the spirit of the Conference will be taken to CSD-13, and urged participants to take home experiences and lessons learned from this process and implementing actions on the ground.

Conference Chair Veerman closed the Conference at 12:00 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

ASIAN WETLAND SYMPOSIUM 2005: This symposium will take place from 6-9 February 2005 in Bhubaneswar, India. For more information, contact: AWS Secretariat India; tel: +91-674-243-4044; fax: +91-674-243-4485; e-mail: ajit@chilika.com; internet: http://www.aws2005.com/index.htm

TENTH MEETING OF CBD’S SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE: This meeting is scheduled for 7-11 February 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=SBSTTA-10

THIRD INTERNATIONAL WOMEN AND WATER CONFERENCE: This conference will be held from 25-28 February 2005 in Dehradun, India. For more information, contact: Sue Lennox, Oz Green; tel: +61-2-9984-8917; e-mail: jlennox@ozgreen.org.au; internet: http://www.ozgreen.org.au/womenwater/womenwater.htm

CSD POLICY YEAR PREPARATORY MEETING: This meeting will be held from 28 February to 4 March 2005 in New York. For more information, contact: UN DSD; tel: +1-212-963-2803; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: dsd@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd13/csd13.htm

THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EFFICIENT USE AND MANAGEMENT OF WATER: This conference will take place from 15-18 March 2005 in Santiago, Chile. For more information, contact: International Water Association; tel: +44-20-7654-5500; fax: +44-20-7654-5555; e-mail: info@efficient2005.com; internet: http://www.efficient2005.com/

2ND INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: ADVANCING IMPLEMENTATION ON WATER AND ENERGY: This Forum will be held from 21-23 March 2005 in Marrakesh, Morocco. For more information, contact: Moroccan Ministry of Territory Planning, Water and Environment; tel: +212-37-77-26-62; fax: +212-37-77-26-40; e-mail: forum@minenv.gov.ma; internet: http://www.minenv.gov.ma/forum-part.2005/

THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: This conference will be held from 11-13 April 2005 in Algarve, Portugal. For more information, contact: Rachel Green, Conference Coordinator; tel: +44-238-029-3223; fax: +44-238-029-2853; e-mail: rgreen@wessex.ac.uk; internet: http://www.wessex.ac.uk/conferences/2005/waterresources05/index.html

THIRTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting will take place from 11-22 April 2005 in New York. For more information, contact: UN DSD; tel: +1-212-963-2803; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: dsd@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd13/csd13.htm

UNECE SEMINAR ON THE SUSTAINABLE USE OF WATER-RELATED ECOSYSTEMS: This seminar will take place from 27-28 June 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland, to address services and financing for the protection and sustainable use of water-related ecosystems. For more information, contact: Francesca Bernardini, UNECE; tel: +41-22-917-2463; fax: +41-22-917-0107; e-mail: francesca.bernardini@unece.org; internet: http://www.unece.org/env/water/

2005 WORLD WATER WEEK: This event will take place from 21-27 August 2005 in Stockholm, Sweden. For more information, contact: David Trouba, Communications Manager, SIWI; tel: +46-8-522-139-89; fax: +46-8-522-139-61; e-mail: dave.trouba@siwi.org; internet: http://www.worldwaterweek.org

EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL RIVER SYMPOSIUM: This symposium is scheduled for 2-11 September 2005 in Brisbane, Australia. For more information, contact: International River Festival; tel: +61-7-3846-7444; fax: +61-7-3846-7660; e-mail: glenn@riverfestival.com.au; internet: http://www.riverfestival.com.au/2005/content/2004home.asp?

CHINA INTERNATIONAL WATER EXPO: This expo will be held from 27-29 October 2005 in Shenzhen, China. For more information, contact: Olivia Ho, Project Officer; tel: +852-2827-6766; fax: +852-2827-6870; e-mail: general@coastal.com.hk; internet: http://www.eventseye.com/fairs/trade_fair_event_7153.html#

RAMSAR COP-9: This meeting will take place from 7-15 November 2005 in Kampala, Uganda. For more information, contact: Dwight Peck, Ramsar Communications Officer; tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax: +41-22-999-0169; e-mail: peck@ramsar.org; internet: http://www.ugandawetlands.org/Cop9/

129TH SESSION OF THE FAO COUNCIL: This meeting will take place from 16-18 November 2005 in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: M. Rouighi; tel: +39-06-570-53625; fax: +39-06-570-53152; e-mail: FAO-HQ@fao.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/

THIRTY THIRD SESSION OF THE FAO CONFERENCE: This meeting will convene from 19-26 November 2005 in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact M. Rouighi; tel: +39-06-570-53625; fax: +39-06-570-53152; e-mail: FAO-HQ@fao.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/


The Water for Food and Ecosystems Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Karen Alvarenga, Ph.D., Changbo Bai, Ingrid Barnsley, and Maria Larsson Ortino. The editor is Prisna Nuengsigkapian <prisna@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Coverage of this meeting is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Department of International Affairs the Netherlands. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.