Focus Area Session on Household Water Security The 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit

19 May 2013
Chiang Mai, Thailand

The FAS on HWS consisted of two segments: (1) Summaries of the findings of the four Technical Workshops (TW), organized by ESCAP, Japan Water Forum, UN HABITAT, AIT, WHO, UNICEF, and other partners, were presented for consideration and discussion; and (2) a high level panel round table, with the participation of Government Representatives and other policy and decision makers from Japan, Bangladesh, Tuvalu, etc. With its main focus on HWS policy frameworks at the regional level, the FAS took note of various recommendations of the four TWs on different components of HWS and tools; issues of sustainable sanitation and solutions for realizing universal access by 2025 in Asia and the Pacific; the Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) monitoring system in the Post-MDG development period to the creative water management for development of innovative sanitation, conflict resolution and integrated health risks.

FAS recommended that HWS should be ensured in the region through universal access to water supply and sanitation for all by 2025 and called for proposals on new targets with tangible commitments with the development of SDGs in consultation with the Member States. The policy framework and instruments should be developed to accelerate investments to enable access of appropriate and affordable innovative technologies to the poor. The appropriate monitoring principles and objectives should be established in order to ensure in the implementation of policies and programmes.

FAS also proposed that “Sanitation Intervention” should be categorized as “Disaster Management” since current disposal systems are silently killing billions of humans, impacting livelihoods in the same way as disasters, earthquakes and floods do. FAS called regional leaders to commit and to move ahead with wastewater revolution in Asia-Pacific, looked for a new regional paradigm in the provision of water supply and sanitation, a clear commitments to pathogen free discharge to the environment. A regional facilitation center/hub for development and dissemination of toilet and sanitation-related technologies to the poor should be established.

The FAS also took note of the findings of the four TWs on various aspects of human rights related to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and recommended that the targets need to be visible beyond household level and to be incorporated in the national legislations. It has pointed out that legal instruments and political commitment are important, but the community involvement has been a key factor to ensure HWS. The high-level panel took a special interest on several key factors related to sufficient sector financing and investments, private sector development, community empowerment, operations and maintenance, as well as the quality of services. It has recommended that the concept of Impact Investment be considered as a new paradigm to mobilize resources for development of HWS and better social impacts based on cost curves. In this connection, Dhaka, mega city, as a result of the improved quality of services, has reduced the non-revenue water and increased efficiency and in Tuvalu, the donor communities supported the Government in managing all water supply tanks to cope with severe drought for better social impacts.

Summary of recommendations of FAS

The Focus Area Session 4 on Household Water Security (UNESCAP, UN-HABITAT, Japan Water Forum) looked at the linkages, tools, and policy issues for different components of household water security. It highlighted that universal access to water supply and to sustainable sanitation in the region by 2025 needs regional commitment and leadership, legal frameworks and training systems. To ensure safe water, sanitation and hygiene it is necessary to adopt results based monitoring and assessment, support data collection systems, scale-up public-private partnerships, and enable diversified financing modalities based on multi-sectorial collaboration and using an outcome-based approach. Policy frameworks, new business opportunities, and innovative and appropriate technology and management must conform to local conditions and should ensure affordable sanitation facilities and pathogen free discharge to the environment. Strengthening further commitments to the wastewater revolution in the Asia-Pacific region also requires putting greater emphasis on resource recovery in wastewater management, and the adoption of appropriate centralized and decentralized management systems in urban and rural settlements.