06.04.2018 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

World Water Day 2018 Celebration: Seminar and Global Launching of UN World Water Development Report

Ms Nirody and Prof Khan handed over the WWDR 2018 to the Government of Indonesia, represented by Prof Zainal Arifin of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)

“Without water – without water security - there can be no sustainable future”, Ms Anita Nirody, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Indonesia, reaffirmed the crucial role of water for sustainable development at a morning seminar organized by UNESCO Office Jakarta and Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN) to celebrate World Water Day 2018. The event brought together water experts and policy makers from government and non-government organizations, the private sector, researchers and students for an open and interactive exchange of views.

The event served to launch the World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2018 entitled “Nature-Based Solutions for Water”, which was officially presented to the Government of Indonesia. Eighty-three participants took part in the half-day event held at the Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, on 4 April 2018.

Welcoming participants on behalf of Atma Jaya, Dr Asmin Fransiska, Head of Atma Jaya’s Institute for Research and Community Services, took note of the close association between nature-based solutions and the university’s clean water and sanitation programmes. Mr Y.W. Junardy, President of Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN), expressed the firm support of IGCN and its members – including some of Indonesia’s most influential private sector entities - towards World Water Day and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Quoting from the 2018 report, Ms Anita Nirody took note that 3.6 billion people around the world live in potentially water-scarce areas during at least one month a year. This figure could rise to more than 5 billion in 2050. Over the same period, the global demand for water, currently estimated at around 4,600 km3 per year, reflects the current global usage of freshwater that is already close to the maximum threshold of sustainability. Given these challenges, it is more urgent to find solutions that protect, manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems. She stressed the importance of nature-based solutions – human-made systems that use or mimic natural processes to enhance water availability - in this regard, and encouraged participants to acknowledge and consider traditional, local and indigenous knowledge.

The presentation of World Water Day Message, Nature-Based Solutions for Water, was delivered by Prof Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative of UNESCO Office Jakarta. In his presentation, Prof Shahbaz emphasized the methodology of working with nature to improve the management of water resources, achieve water security for all, and contribute to core aspects of sustainable development. He stressed the urgency of identifying solutions that protect, manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems, and that respond to human and ecological challenges in an effective and sustainable manner, improving the well-being of individuals and preserving biodiversity. Finally, he reaffirmed the need for all these efforts to contribute to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Water is intertwined with key development challenges: the eradication of poverty; healthcare; economic growth; constructing sustainable cities; developing responsible consumption and production patterns; and ultimately, peace.

Following the presentation, Ms Nirody and Prof Khan handed over the WWDR 2018 to the Government of Indonesia, represented by Prof Zainal Arifin of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Chair of the Indonesian International Hydrological Programme (IHP) National Committee. The report was also presented to the representatives of Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Ministry of Public Works and Housing (PUPR), and to all speakers at the event.

The launching was followed by, an interactive panel discussion Moderated by Dr Hans Thulstrup of UNESCO Office Jakarta, with the objective of exchanging views and proposing solutions to community and business water needs, reduce negative impacts on human well-being and the natural environment, and to highlight the importance of nature-based solution for public mobilization towards the sustainable implementation of the SDG6.

From the national research perspective, Prof Zainal Arifin of LIPI discussed nature-based solutions for enhancing water security, with a focus on upscaling experiences and multiplying the benefits. From the political perspective, Ir Erna Witoelar MS, former UN Special Ambassador for SDGs in Asia and the Pacific and former Minister for Human Settlement & Regional Infrastructure, stressed the importance of building partnerships for nature-based solutions around SDG6. Mr Abdul Malik Sadat Idris, ST, M.Eng of BAPPENAS presented a national framework for accelerating the uptake of nature-based solutions, while Dr Ignasius Sutapa, Executive Director Asia Pacific Centre for Ecohydrology under the Auspices of UNESCO (APCE), presented the role of ecohydrology in securing healthy ecosystems. Lastly, Ms Librian Angraeni, Chair of the Indonesia Water Mandate Working Group, Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN), delivered a presentation on the role of the private sector in promoting sustainable water management, and outlined a new joint initiative with UNESCO on water security and water quality in small islands. The presentations gave rise to a lively discussion among participants and audience, concluding with the observation that effective delivery of nature-based solutions will require new knowledge, coordinated investment by both government and private sector, new and innovative partnerships, community engagement and leadership at all levels. 

The event was closed with brief statements by Mr Y.W. Junardy and Prof Khan calling upon all present to take action to deliver natured-based solutions and to work nature to improve the management of water resources, achieve water security and to contribute to core aspects of sustainable development.


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