Supporting water security helps increase ecosystem services and their sustainability for all living creatures. In the country development process, water security has always been recognized as a core factor for socio-economic stability and environmental sustainability. Future advances in regional integration, poverty reduction, protection of life-supported ecosystems, and ultimately peaceful coexistence are critically dependent on our ability to collectively address one of the most pressing challenges – water security. Accelerating the practice of integrated, sound and responsive water management is an urgent task in these complex times when crises – from economic instability to environmental degradation and disasters – are increasingly global and connected. The stakes could not be higher, given that climate change threatens the security of food, water and energy – the interlocking resource pillars which underpin prosperity and the productivity of the economy. To bring about a new era of sustainability, every nation must put long-term considerations on water security, water-related disaster challenges, and comprehensive risk management at the top of their development agenda while encouraging all stakeholders to engage in consultation processes.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand remarked in a speech ‘Water is Life’ that water is the critical essence for supporting the people’s livelihood and the country’s survival. During his reign of over sixty years, royal innovations and projects, known as Royal Projects, have been initiated and are being implemented by governmental and non-governmental organizations to ensure sound and efficient management of water resources in the Kingdom of Thailand. The Royal Projects have significantly improved the quality of life of the Thai people. His Majesty’s leadership, dedication, and commitment to sustainable water resources development and management are widely known as an enormously successful approach to solving water problems. Consequently, the Royal Projects are highly valued by the public locally, nationally, and internationally. In marking the auspicious occasion and in celebration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 7th Cycle, 84th Birthday Anniversary on 5th December 2011, the Royal Thai Government committed to hosting the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (2nd APWS), which was originally planned on 5th – 6th February 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. Due to the devastating flood that occurred in Thailand at the end of 2011, the 2nd APWS has been rescheduled to 19th – 20th May 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The objectives of the 2nd APWS are fourfold:
- To proudly present the royal concepts/models and success stories developed under His Majesty the King’s Initiatives on water resources management;
- To facilitate mutual understanding among Asia-Pacific Leaders on water security and water-related disaster threats and opportunities, while promoting joint decisions on matters of designated mutual interest;
- To engage national and international leaders in a more active dialogue with experts, local stakeholders, private sector, and civil society on water-related issues, challenges, and opportunities;
- To provide an interactive knowledge platform for water security and water-related disaster challenges for decision makers, public and private sectors, civil society, and the general public.
The main functions of 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit, held on 19th – 20th May 2013, comprise the Leaders’ Forum, the Focus Area Sessions, Technical Workshops, and Exhibitions.
2nd APWS Leaders Forum: Leading the Change
The 2nd APWS will mark another step forward in Asia-Pacific leaders’ efforts and commitment to work in solidarity to identify and adopt solutions to water issues in the region. The 2nd APWS Leaders Forum offers a venue for leaders from Asian and Pacific countries, as well as international and regional development agencies, to network face-to-face and forge new partnerships on water security and water-related disaster challenges. The 2nd APWS Leaders Forum will be preceded by Focus Area Sessions and Technical Workshops during which water-related senior officials, experts, stakeholders, other partners, and donors will contribute to discuss water-related priority issues and to identify concrete solutions, commitments, and implementation in their respective jurisdictions and functional areas. The 2nd APWS Leaders Forum will be comprised of a set of plenary sessions including opening and closing ceremonies. In the plenary sessions, each of the participating leaders will be invited to deliver a keynote speech or a policy statement on the theme “Water Security and Water-Related Disaster Challenges: Leadership and Commitment.”
Focus Area Sessions: Setting the Asia-Pacific Water Sustainability Agenda and Mandate for Action in Water
The Focus Area Sessions feature high-level interactive panels focusing on water security and water-related disaster challenges as well as potential commitment posed for Asia-Pacific countries and partners in addressing the challenges. Seeking to maximize interaction among high-level delegates and representatives of the APWS Lead Organizations, as well as to facilitate communications on specific issue topics of their interest, seven (7) parallel sessions will be organized. Each of the Focus Area Sessions will begin with panelist presentations to be followed by panel discussions conducted in ‘Question & Answer’ style.
Technical Workshops and Exhibitions: Knowledge Exchange and Networking in Water Security and Water-related Disaster Challenges
The 2nd APWS will be preceded by a series of Technical Workshops held on 16th – 18th May 2013 at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre Commemorating His Majesty’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Exhibitions/Poster Sessions will be held during 14th – 20th May 2013.
The 2nd APWS and related Technical Workshops and Exhibitions are expected to attract over 500 delegates from the Asia-Pacific countries and over 700 individuals from concerned institutions in Thailand, Asia-Pacific region, and beyond.