With several international river basins in Asia regulated under bilateral agreements and few under multilateral agreements, there is an urgent need to share the opportunities of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) for international river basin countries.
The TOT Workshop on IWRM for South-East Asia and one day Conference on Legislation and Institutional Arrangements for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) 9-14 July 2007, were organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia, the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM) and the UNDP Cap-Net Programme in cooperation with UNESCAP, United Nations Environment Programme Collaborating Centre on Water and the Environment (UNEP-UCC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Food and Agriculture Programme (FAO).
The TOT Workshop is part of a series of programmes to support implementation of IWRM, which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources. IWRM facilitates economic growth and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. An integrated water resources approach takes into account social, economic, environmental and technical dimensions in the management and development of water resources.
TOT focuses on the legal and regulatory framework required for integrated sustainable management of water resources. The TOT is targeted to a select group of senior policy makers and potential trainers within the South-East Asia region, and aims to strengthen and enhance the capacity of institutions and networks in the implementation of IWRM processes.
In the above context, UNESCAP shares its experience to promote cooperation on management of international river basins in Asia, focusing on experiences from three key river basins: the Mekong River Basin, Aral Sea River Basins, and the Ganges-Bramahputra-Meghna System, and highlighting the success of the Mekong River which runs through six countries (China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam) before it empties into the South China Sea.
The multi-lateral arrangement, realized as the Mekong River Commission (MRC) was formed in 1995 between the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, the four countries agreed on the joint management of their shared water resources and development of the economic potential of the Mekong River. The MRC has been built on a foundation of nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience in the region starting from 1957 when it began life as the UN-founded (under ESCAP) Mekong Committee. In 1996 China and Myanmar became Dialogue Partners of the MRC and the countries now work together within a cooperation framework.
In recognition of the Mekong cooperation, the multi-lateral agreement is a stabilizing factor in the region reaping both economic and social benefits. It also receives financial resources, recognition awards and continuity in support, and is the foundation for sub-regional growth. The lessons from the Mekong offer the foundation and principles of cooperation with the "Mekong Spirit" being of shared vision of cooperation, mutual understanding, mutual trust, and common goals.
Among the conclusions of ESCAP's experience is that recent practices in international river basins pointed to a new trend of emerging opportunities in cooperation for over 16 million km2 of Asia. Also, a pre-requisite for successful cooperation is the good-will of all riparian States, which should be further developed. And that difference in economic development levels is turned into opportunities for joint developments and collaboration. In final, it was pointed out that mutual accommodation should be translated into action of development. In addition, ESCAP also shared experiences from its research activities on the principles of sustainable water resources management.
||Presentations of the Workshop
To learn more about the MRC please visit: http://www.mrcmekong.org/