- PROJECT STATUS :
2016/05/25 Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Urbanisation considerably affects the natural water cycle both in terms of quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. In Asia, the fluctuation of water quality risks flooding low-lying areas, spreading disease and destroying crops. UNU-FLORES’ Nexus Observatory workshop on “Water-Wastewater Nexus in Urbanising Asia: Building Capacity for Monitoring Water Quality Risks” organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Construction (MOC), Vietnam, the National University of Civil Engineering (NUCE), Vietnam, and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan, seeks to address these concerns. Researchers and policymakers from five South East Asian countries – Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam – gather from 24-25 May 2016 in Ha Noi to discuss data needs, frameworks for data and information sharing and capacity building requirements related to water quality and wastewater management.
Building on a proposal writing workshop with researchers in Tokyo, Japan, in December 2014, the Nexus Observatory workshop in Ha Noi aims to ascertain potential for regional cooperation in Asia and discuss nexus challenges in the region. Discussions on the second day of the two-day workshop are focussed on making concrete proposals with regard to monitoring methodologies for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 6.3 (by 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and increasing recycling and safe reuse globally).
Inaugurating the workshop, Dr. Nguyen Hong Tien, Director General of Administration of Technical Infrastructure, Ministry of Construction, Viet Nam, welcomed this important chance to improve links between research, capacity building and policy and to form a collaborative framework in the region. In their welcome remarks, UNU-FLORES’ Director Prof. Reza Ardakanian (via video message) and Prof. Pham Duy Hoa, Rector, National University of Civil Engineering, Vietnam, highlighted that the workshop is an opportunity for researchers, policymakers, professionals and managers of the region as well as donor agencies, international research institutes and UN agencies to discuss key environmental challenges. The Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank were also present at the workshop and engaged in dialogue with policymakers. GIZ and JICA co-chaired a panel discussion on nexus priorities and monitoring in urbanising Asia. Dr. Graham Alabaster from UN-Habitat joined the discussions on Day 2 and provided an overview of the Global Environmental Monitoring Initiative and stressed the importance of a regional consortium approach to support SDG Target 6.3.
Based on discussions, researchers agreed that data collection, management and sharing are major challenges. Data and information are usually dispersed among different organisations and in various non-harmonised formats. A number of researchers called for standardisation and greater awareness-raising to sensitise the local population. In this regard, the prospects of working with indices as a means of engaging with policy concerns, such as non-revenue water and pricing of wastewater treatment services were also highlighted. In a nutshell, points under consideration over the two days include: moving beyond bio-physical data, considering the role of finance and institutions to create integrated monitoring systems; building on existing case studies and projects that have demonstrated good practice in data collection and monitoring; capacity building needs; and translation of data and information to support policy making. To bolster discussions, the Ministry of Construction, Vietnam, organised a field visit to a local Ha Noi wastewater treatment plant, offering workshop participants the opportunity to discuss issues raised in the sessions.
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