11.03.2016 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

UNESCO Water Family in Malaysia and Experts from Asia and Africa Delineate Water Security Options

UNESCO Jakarta is contributing to the delivering of SDG 6.5 on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) by supporting a workshop on “Comparative Studies of Applying Ecohydrology and IWRM for Upscaling Water Security in Asia & Africa through UNESCO Category II Water Centres”.

Attended by 150 participants (including 53 women and 97 men), this workshop was conducted from 7 to 9 March 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was officiated by Dato’ Dr Mohd Ali bin Mohamad Nor, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Natural Resources, Prof Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO office, Jakarta, and Environment (NRE), Dato’ Zulkefli bin Hassan, Deputy Director General, Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and Dr Md. Nasir bin Md. Noh, Director Humid Tropics Centre Kuala Lumpur.

The IWRM and Ecohydrology Concepts were introduced by Prof Shahbaz during his opening remarks. The workshop was aimed to disseminate the outcomes of a study conducted by the Humid Tropic Centre Kuala Lumpur (HTCKL), a category 2 centre under the auspices of UNESCO and a consortium of local universities in Malaysia on the need for a better planning and adaptation for responding to water challenges and ensuring water security in the region. This workshop has enabled to showcase comparative studies on applying Ecohydrology and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approached as well as the development of modular curriculum for the training of water managers to improve water security in the region.

The workshop brought together representatives from other category 2 water centres and UNESCO water Chairs from Asia and Africa such as the Regional Centre for Urban Water Management (RCUWM) of Teheran, Iran; the Regional Centre on Integrated River Basin Management (RC-IRBM) of Kaduna, Nigeria and the UNESCO Chair on Water Resources from Khartoum,  Sudan. Additional international experts includes participants from Ethiopia, Indonesia and Philippines, as well as many local experts and professionals from different entities, including institutions who are engaged in the field of Ecohydrology, IWRM and water education (e.g., national government officials, policy makers, practitioners, and researchers) in Malaysia.

These experts shared their experiences on water challenges from their areas of expertise and contributed via fruitful discussions on designing how IWRM and Ecohydrology principles/concepts can be used for improving the management of water resources, thereby contributing to water security at local, national and regional levels. Another important point discussed during the workshop is the presentation of the water curricula developed by the local universities in Malaysia.

One of key outcome of the event is the establishment of a platform for collaboration between Asian and African category 2 water centres and water chairs to promote knowledge exchange for the enhancement and application of Ecohydrology and IWRM as integrated approaches towards water security in the two regions in the framework of the goal and targets on water in the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On the third day of the workshop, a field trip was conducted first at the Public Outreach Program River of Life (POP RoL), a River Resource Centre (Open Classroom Taman Warisan) which is established to generate evidential improvement in attitudes and behaviours of local population and residents living along the river, towards river care and preservation in order to improve water quality and reduce pollution in the main river of the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During the visit, participants got the opportunity to test the quality of the water at the upstream of Klang River.

After visiting POP RoL, the participants visited the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART TUNNEL), the longest multi-purpose tunnel in the world, combining a storm water tunnel and a motorway tunnel. The Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART TUNNEL) aimed at solving the problem of flash floods in Kuala Lumpur from the Sungai Klang and Kerayong rivers; as well as to reduce traffic jams along Jalan Sungai Besi and Loke Yew flyover at Pudu during rush hour.

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