As part of a successful series of events focussing on water security, food security and disaster relief, the Aid & International Development Forum hosted the Water Security Summit Asia 2014 in Putrajaya, Malaysia on April 23 and 24 2014.
See the Highlight Videos here.
The Summit acted as a platform to establish regional and international partnerships between various stakeholders. It enabled stakeholders to share experiences, knowledge and best practices in order to improve sustainable water resources and services management in Asia and the Pacific.
Hosted at the magnificent Putrajaya International Convention Centre, the two day summit welcomed more than 200 key practitioners in the water and sanitation fields from over 20 countries, representing governments, UN agencies, private companies, NGOs, donors and academia.
The opening of the first day featured the keynote speech by Datuk Loo Took Gee, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology & Water of Malaysia, who brought attention to the importance of green growth and sustainable water and energy development, depicting the different policies and initiatives implemented by the Malaysian government on green technology, renewable energy and water conservation.
The following presentation of Dato’ Ir. Hj. Hanapi Mohamad Noor, Director of the Malaysian Water Resources Management and Hydrology Division, focussed on the status of Malaysian water security and the issues and challenges that the country faces. His recommendations emphasised the need to manage water resources in an integrated and holistic manner, and a stronger commitment from the government by making water security a high priority in all development plans.
After the first networking refreshment break, a series of experts took to the stage to discuss efficient water use in agriculture, sustainable urban water management and various challenges and solutions to achieve optimum non-revenue water levels and reduce water loss.
The ‘Efficient Water Use in Agriculture’ session saw a presentation from Zalilah Selamat, Deputy Director from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based industry of Malaysia, on the current issues in food security related to water management and sustainable agriculture. Prof. Partha Sarathi Datta and Ravi Karamcheti from SunEdison debated the challenges of surface water irrigation systems and groundwater management.
Moderated by Dr. Salmah Zacharia from UN ESCAP, Kulwant Singh from UN HABITAT, Vice President of Maynilad Water Services, and Francisco Arellano and Dr. Andreas Hauser from TUV SUD, kept the discussion sparkling and interesting during the ‘Sustainable Urban Water Management’ session, by providing meaningful insight and inspiring presentations.
The last morning panel was focussed on the challenges to achieve optimum NRW levels. Rachel Beja from the Philippines’ Cagayan de Oro City Water District, as well as Mark Loveday and Mark Nicol from Echologics, shared their insight and experience on the topic, proposing interesting potential solutions.
The well-received networking lunch was a great occasion for the delegates to further interact on a more intimate level and to discuss a number of water security topics, for which specific lunch roundtables were set up accordingly.
The afternoon session began with panels debating sanitation and wastewater management and how to inspire new public-private partnerships in order to overcome the water security challenges in Asia.
A special mention goes to the humorous and inspiring presentation by Jack Sim from the World Toilet Organisation, who grabbed the attention of the audience with a challenging video on sanitation issues during the ‘Ensuring Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation’ panel. Water solution provider Pak Oasis, and Terrence Thompson from the UN World Health Organisation contributed to the debate sharing their knowledge and experiences of water quality, water safety plans and market-based solutions for water treatment and sanitation.
Director Pairoj Sattayasansakul from the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, Amnat Barlee from the Thai Red Cross and Heather D’Agnes from USAID then took to the stage to continue the discussion on sanitation, hygiene and wastewater management. In particular, the discussion revolved around how to find solutions for household and portable sanitation and on best practices for improving hygiene awareness and wastewater management in rural areas.
Following the afternoon refreshment break AIDF’s sought after Pitch Tank session took place. Moderated by Allan Deacon, Procurement Consultant at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, the Pitch Tank saw the participation of solution providers Echologics and SunEdison, who had the opportunity to describe their products and technologies and to show how they can contribute to improving water security and sanitation in the region. They presented their innovative solutions to a panel of procurement specialists and to an audience of policy makers and potential partners from private sector and non-governmental organisations, receiving invaluable feedback and advice.
A well-deserved networking drinks reception was held at the end of the day.
The second and final day of the Water Security Summit featured the opening keynote speeches from H.E. G. Palanivel, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia and H.E. Phiraphan Phalusuk, Minister of Science and Technology of Thailand.
H.E. G. Palanivel depicted the Malaysian policies on sustainable water resources management and related issues such as flooding, droughts and pollution, and discussed the impact of climate change and the possible options for adaptation and mitigation.
Minister Phiraphan Phalusuk shared experiences and best practices on sustainable water management in the greater Mekong sub-region through a very detailed and informative presentation.
Dr. Iswer Raj Onta, Regional Chair of the South Asia Global Water Partnership and Dr. Jing Lee from China International Water Law then presented on the topic of water governance and pathways to collaboration, investigating and clarifying the different responsibilities of government, civil society and the private sector in ensuring water security.
Thai ambassador to Malaysia H.E. Krit Kraichitti joined the debate with a very interesting, engaging and heartfelt intervention on the effect of international partnerships and laws on transboundary water security issues.
After the morning refreshment break Michael Pritchard, CEO of Lifesaver System, grabbed the attention of the audience with his engaging and practical presentation on the functionality of the Lifesaver system. It was very well-received and generated great interest among the delegates from the Thai Ministries of Science and Technology and of Social Development and Human Security, as well as from other key governmental representatives and decision makers.
The second panel featured presentations from Lars Willi, COO at Trunz Water Systems, Rajiv Bhanot, Managing Director at H2O Saver and Herman Idrus, Head of Research and Development at Jasa Tirta II Public Corporation. Panelists further debated the challenges surrounding water supply in rural areas, including how to manage rural ecosystems for water quality and quantity, how to identify and strengthen the most vulnerable groups, and how to develop new models to design more sustainable infrastructure.
Following the ‘Water Security in Arid and Volatile Regions’ panel and the networking lunch, the ‘Emergency Water Management’ session began. It included a panel discussion on Water Supply for Displaced People and two Pitch Tank sessions with Karcher Futuretech and Trunz Water System.
The panel provided insights from Christopher Hoffman (International Organization for Migration), Jay Matta (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), Stefan Germann (World Vision) and Martin Keitsch (Karcher Futuretech). Topics such as how to ensure clean water in emergency situations, the challenges faced by beneficiaries in accepting purified water, and possible solutions for the provision of clean water in emergency scenarios were discussed.
Martin Keitsch from Karcher Futuretech, followed by Lars Willi from Trunz Water System, took the stage for the Pitch Tank session to demonstrate their products and innovative technological solutions for water treatment based on operational needs, costs, safety and ecological values.
The pitch tank was very well-received and sparked much interest from the audience.
After a short and to the point presentation on water financing and investment opportunities by Ellen May Zanoria-Reynes from The Gold Standard Foundation, the closing keynote address was given by H.E. Paveena Hongsakul, Minister of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand.
Thanking all delegates from Ministries, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector, the Minister highlighted once again the importance of discussing the issues of water security and sustainability through the participation of representatives from governments, NGOs, the private sector and the UN. The Minister shared her views on the topic and described, in particular, the challenges that Thailand faces in this regard.
The keynote from Minister Hongsakula provided the perfect closure for this very successful summit. Delegates happily joined for group pictures, greetings and further networking, in a truly joyful atmosphere.
Looking forward to the next AIDF events!
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