Regional Launch Bangkok

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

On 31 March 2017, the Asia-Pacific regional launch of the United Nations World Water Development Report took place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development.

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and H.E. Mr. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Sri Lankan Honorable Senior Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, led the launch event, which has followed with the panel reflections on the theme of the report, during the Fourth Session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development.

Dr. Akhtar drew attention to two important and inter-related issues to ensure a proper focus on water and sanitation within the framework of improving readiness to implement SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation in the region. “First we need the policy and institutional reforms to ensure a practical shift towards resilient water-hazards infrastructure, and these reforms should promote technical solutions for decentralized wastewater treatment systems,” she said.

“Second, smart budget appraisals can lead to impactful investments in efficient water and sanitation services to ensure sound returns on investments as well as direct and indirect benefits,” added Dr. Akhtar.

The report echoes this sentiment: “Everyone can do their bit to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase safe water reuse by 2030. It's all about carefully managing and recycling the water that runs through our homes, factories, farms and cities. Let's all reduce and safely reuse more wastewater so that this precious resource serves the needs of increasing populations and a fragile ecosystem.”

H.E. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, who is also the Chair of the Third Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, said that Sri Lanka, like many countries in the region, depends on its water sources for food production. “When wastewater is discharged to inland surface water for irrigation purposes secondary treatment is mandatory by law. Low cost treatment methods are being introduced as new projects. Therefore, dominant wastewater treatment types are preliminary, primary and advanced primary and secondary types,” he said.

Article originating from UNESCO Bangkok

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