UNESCO Jakarta as the Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific organized the “24th International Hydrological Programme-Regional Steering Committee (IHP-RSC) for South East Asia and the Pacific Meeting” in conjunction with “The International and National Water Dialogue on the Delivery of SDG 6 in Mongolia and Wider Asia and the Pacific Region” on 24-26 October 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MOET) of Mongolia and with the support from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust.
The 24th IHP-RSC meeting was held on 24 October 2016 with the participation of 46 participants from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam and four UNESCO Water Category 2 Centres: the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM)-Japan, the Asia Pacific Center for Ecohydrology (APCE)-Indonesia, the Regional Humid Tropics Hydrology and Water Resources Centre for South-East Asia and the Pacific Kuala Lumpur (HTCKL)-Malaysia, and the International Centre for Water Resources and global Change (ICWRGC)-Germany.
During the meeting, each members reported the related UNESCO water activities in their country and other activities carried out at the regional and international level by the UNESCO Water Category 2 Centres. The participants discussed intensively how to progress the development of Catalogue of Hydrologic Analysis (CHA), agreed during the 22nd IHP-RSC meeting in Yogyakarta, the follow up activity building on the Catalogue of Rivers for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It was agreed that in 2017 the 25th IHP-RSC Meeting will be hosted by the Philippines and the 26th IHP-RSC Meeting in 2018 will be hosted by China. Malaysia and Vietnam expressed their interest to host the next IHP-RSC Meeting in 2019 or 2020.
On 25 October 2016, the International and National Water Dialogue on the Delivery of SDG 6 in Mongolia and Wider Asia and the Pacific Region was opened by Mr Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific via skype and by Mr Tserendulam Shirevdamba, Adviser to the Minister of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia.
The discussion was divided into three topics: Water Security in Arid Environment, Integrating UNESCO Initiative in Water and Environment Sciences and the Mongolian Perspective on Water Security. During the second session and in order to trigger synergies between UNESCO Natural Sciences Programmes, Japan Man and Biosphere (MAB) National Committee presented the programme and its Biosphere reserves in Japan. Also the Vice-Chair of UNESCO Global Geoparks Council, Mr Ibrahim Komoo, from UKM Malaysia, presented what were geoparks and gave a brief introduction on the last adopted International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme. Mr Komoo proposed geoparks to be demonstration site for IWRM. Each session consisted in three keynote speaks followed by a panel discussion with international and local experts.
After setting what were Mongolia challenges in terms of water, the participants broke into three groups to discuss about the following theme:
- What are the priority actions in building resilience and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change in the context of water security in arid and semi-arid regions?
- How can IWRM be strengthened. including through the development of synergies with other UNESCO programmes such as MAB and IGGP?
- What are the specific needs for water education and capacity building for SDG 6 delivery in Mongolia and the wider Asia-Pacific region?
The discussions yielded a draft synthesis on further actions and activities to be conducted in Mongolia for the delivery of SDG6. In particular the participants highlighted the need for science-based, transdisciplinary, socially inclusive, local knowledge based, reliable and accessible data intensive water governance to manage both water quality and quantity.