While the Asia-Pacific region has experienced rapid economic growth over the past three decades, enormous challenges remain. The region is home to half of the world’s poorest people and is facing rapid urbanization with about 22 megacities by 2030 and a population of 5.2 billion by 2050. Consequently, water demand is projected to increase by about 55% due to growing demand from domestic and industrial sectors. The agriculture sector will need to produce much more food for the growing population, thus also competing for diminishing water resources. Recent estimates indicate up to 3.4 billion people could be living in water-stressed areas of Asia by 2050. The region’s water resources will be under enormous pressure—which will be exacerbated with increasing climate variability and possible further degradation of water quality.
ADB’s response to the growing water crisis is stated in the ADB Water Operational Plan 2011-2020. It specifies a range of solutions available to developing member countries to address water challenges in the region, including the need to embrace new technologies and innovations to improve the effectiveness of water investments. Technology can help address water insecurity, promote economic growth, advance progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthen adaptation to climate change and increase disaster risk resilience.
In addition to infrastructure investments and technical assistance, ADB also seeks to enhance the awareness and capacities of sector practitioners through knowledge sharing events such as the Asia Water Forum 2018 (AWF 2018).
The magnitude of the challenge to water means there is need to embrace change and to actively seek out new and better ways to tackle short and medium-term issues. Fortunately, there is scope to be innovative in water policy, in water governance, in technical processes, in financing, in applying technology and in information systems to deliver service benefits and water security to urban and rural dwellers, industry, commerce and farmers. Already there are public and private sector organizations that offer or are early adopters of new technologies, leaders in the provision of urban, rural water and sanitation services, experts in securing water quality and smarter users of water for energy and food. There is need to learn from them.
The AWF 2018 provides a platform and venue for sharing knowledge and experience on water information, innovation, and technology across the region. AWF 2018 aims to discuss ways to identify and adopt innovations that best address the requirements for a water-secure Asia Pacific region, and to keep the profile of water high on the region’s development agenda. The increased knowledge and application of international best practices as well as continued development and use of information systems, remote sensing, enhanced control systems, and other advanced technology is expected to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of ADB-financed projects in developing member countries; thus improving the management of water, delivery of water services and status of water security across the region.
AWF 2018 will focus on information, innovation, and technology.
Underpinned by the need for sustainable water management, reliable water services, and water security, the forum will conduct break-out sessions on the following broad activities put forward in the Water Sector Group 2018-2019 workplan under a ‘One ADB’ approach: (i) supplying water; (ii) water quality; (iii) water for food; (iv) water for energy; and (v) water resources management.
The topics will cover the following cross-sectoral themes: (i) finance and transactions; (ii) governance and sustainability; (iii) resilience; (iv) high-level technology and innovation; (v) inclusiveness; and (vi) water–food–energy security nexus, efficiency and productivity.
All sessions will be conducted in English.
Trade exhibition and market place
In parallel to the sessions, the forum will feature a trade exhibition and market place for service providers of water information, innovation, and technology. About 24 exhibition booths will be available for trade exhibits. An open market place session will be held each day where forum participants will be encouraged to visit the exhibition booths, exchange ideas, forge partnerships, and seek solutions to problems being dealt with in their water work.
Exhibitors will also be encouraged to participate in the technical sessions and discussions to share their solutions to the water challenges being addressed in the region.
Online applications to the trade exhibition and market place are now open. Applications will be closed by 5 pm of Monday (GMT+8), 2 July 2018. There is no exhibitor fee.
AWF 2018 is being organized by ADB.
AWF 2018 anticipates 300 participants from DMCs, utilities, river basin organizations, development partners, private sector, NGOs, and other stakeholder groups.
Online applications to participate in the AWF 2018 are now open. Applications will be closed by 5 pm of Monday (GMT+8), 2 July 2018. Acceptance of an application does not guarantee funding support.