2022-ASIA-PACIFIC Water Policy Report Listening to National Water Leaders
In 2021, the Water Policy Group undertook a survey of national
water leaders across the world with the objective of understanding
why achieving ‘sustainable water management for all’ seems so difficult.
Their views on the risks and challenges they faced in water management and in
meeting the water-related Sustainable Development Goals are reported in the
Global Water Policy Report 2021: Listening to National Water Leaders. This report is
focused on the Asia-Pacific region and represents the views and opinions of water
leaders of 30 countries of the region as expressed through the 2021 survey. This
report aims to highlight the water issues for the attention of high level political
leadership and policy makers in the region.
Water is essential to every element of the economy, environment and social fabric
of every country across the world. As a limited resource, water needs to be shared
among competing demands and used to the best effect for the entire community
over the long term.
Every decision that a government makes about water will have social, economic and
environmental consequences, and that makes achieving ‘sustainable water for all’
a key challenge for governments - one that can be politically very difficult due to the
diversity of values, needs and expectations
within all societies.
Not only is success with water integral to the sustainable development of individual
countries, it is essential to achieving the collective global Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) of Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development (Agenda 2030). SDG 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable
management of water and sanitation for all” reflects the increased attention to
water and sanitation issues in the global political agenda. Successive Global Risks
Reports, published by the World Economic Forum have identified ‘water crises’ as one
of the top five risks identified from their surveys, in terms of the severity of impact
at a global level (www.weforum.org/globalrisks/ reports).
Good water outcomes are also pivotal for adapting to climate change. More broadly,
improved water outcomes underpin wider efforts to end poverty, advance
sustainable development and sustain peace and stability (UN SDG 6 Synthesis
Yet, the United Nations has reported the world as a whole is not on track to achieve
SDG 6 and many countries are going backwards (UN Water Summary Progress
update 2021). The clear picture is that collectively there is a long way to go.
Why is achieving the availability and sustainable management of water for all
so difficult? The Asia-Pacific Water Policy Report seeks to answer this question
by identifying the key issues faced in improving water outcomes in this region,
as perceived through the eyes of national water leaders - the people with water
leadership responsibility - in a wide range countries.
This report provides governments of the Asia-Pacific region with both a comparative
perspective and opportunities to learn from others’ experiences. In doing so, we
hope to provide a common understanding of these factors to assist governments in
Dr Jane Doolan,
Dr Olcay Unver,
Water Policy Group
Professor Greg Leslie
Global Water Institute,
University of New South Wales,
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