NWRB Holds ASEAN Working Group on Water Resources Management (AWGWRM) Workshop

The National Water Resources Board as the focal point for the Philippines to the ASEAN Working Group on Water Resources Management (AWGWRM) conducted the “Workshop on Implementing IWRM in ASEAN:  Opportunities for Sharing Information on Key Issues” on March 1-3, 2017 at Century Park Hotel in Manila.

The core of the workshop is the discussion on the results of the questionnaires that were disseminated in 2011 to the AMS to assess the status of implementation of water peak bodies and IWRM among ASEAN member countries.  There was also sharing of positive experiences with IWRM from country representatives.  

The three (3) priority issues identified that can be addressed through IWRM are droughts, water pollution and floods.  The kind of information and data with regard to these issues that countries are willing to share and the possible modalities for sharing the data and information were explored.

Usec. Demetrio Ignacio, Jr. of DENR in his welcome message recognized the event as a vital platform for the participants to exchange stories and experiences in their respective countries in the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).  He highlighted the importance of the discussions for being in one region where there is common culture and similar climate. The challenges faced are likewise similar, issues are related, so the solutions are interconnected as well.  Thus, the participants can work hand-in-hand to address the issues at hand.   He noted that the event coincides with the Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN 2017 Summit and the milestone celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN this year.

Ms. Reina Prasiddha, Technical Officer of the ASEAN Secretariat and Prof. Mukand Babel of the Asian Institute of Technology who is the Team Leader of the consulting team for the project likewise gave short messages.

The event culminated with the visit of the participants to the historic island of Corregidor in Cavite Province via a one-and-a-half hour ferry ride in Manila Bay.

The outcome of the workshop on the status of implementation of water peak bodies and IWRM among ASEAN member countries will be reported to the upcoming 17th meeting of AWGWRM to be held on April 17-18, 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.     
Representatives from seven (7) out of ten (10) ASEAN member states (AMS) namely, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines as well as envoys from the ASEAN Secretariat and donor countries of Japan and China without Korea participated in the workshop.  Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Indonesia failed to send its representatives. The Philippines was officially represented by NWRB Executive Director Dr. Sevillo David, Jr. and Deputy Executive Director Jorge M. Estioko.  
The workshop is an activity for the NWRB-led project “Exchanging Information and Creating Awareness in a Structured Basis Between Peak Bodies” funded through the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund.  It is aimed to: a) create a forum for water resource and environmental government agencies and NGOs and peak industry bodies and associations with interest in water management issues throughout ASEAN; b) create awareness on key water resource management problems; and c) exchange information about generic solutions.