UNESCO Jakarta organized 11th interview session of the “Sustainability Insight” on 6 August 2020 from 12:50 to 13:40 (GMT+7). In this series, we invite implementing partners and learn from their knowledge, experience, and view of the post-pandemic new normal.
At the 11th session of this webinar series, we invited Prof. Jeff Camkin, Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and the International Water Centre and Griffith University, Australia, and Prof. Soontak Lee, Distinguished Professor of Yeungnam University, Korea, President of International Hydrologic Environmental Society (IHES), and Governor of World Water Council (WWC).
Prof. Shahbaz Khan, the Director of UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, started the session by requesting the guests to provide their perspectives on water inequality issues. Prof. Lee referred SDG 10 and SDG 6, indicating that water inequality is one of various inequality issues, and is created by lack of available water, good management, investment, and political awareness. Prof. Camkin indicated that the “equity” is a better term than the “equality” to be used in this context. Although both terms promote fairness, the “equity” achieves it through supporting people differently depending on their needs. Governments are tasked to facilitate water equity for all to ensure the basic human rights.
With looking back the history of IHP activities in the region, Prof Lee explained that IHP 8 selected water security as a central issue, considering its wider scope than water scarce. Prof. Camkin stressed that governments are responsible for ensuring good governance, but the governance is for all people. Multi-disciplinary approach, consideration of various types of knowledge, and the participation of all relevant stakeholders are introduced as key elements for the successful governance.
The question remains as to how we can ensure the water security and investment in water in the post-pandemic world. Professors responded that the IHP programme have to develop cooperative actions, utilize the networks which were developed and maintained by JFIT and other support, and assist local transformation by looking at the issues through the local lens.