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Strategic Action Plan 2004-2005

Purpose and Background

Purpose and Background

1. This Strategic Action Plan 2004-2005 provides the framework for the first stage of activities of the INWEPF. It outlines the directions of the works by the INWEPF from 2004 to 2005.

2. The world's growing population and changing consumption patterns will continue to drive demand for food. Agriculture is the biggest user of freshwater, accounting for a global average of 70% of all water withdrawals.

3. It is a common recognition that water is essential for broad-based agricultural and rural development in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals to improve food security and alleviate poverty.

4. Rice is the most important crop for the countries in the Asian monsoon region, providing staple food for the people. As the population is rapidly increasing yet available freshwater resources are very limited, it is crucially important to promote sustainable water use in paddy fields with better governance including participatory irrigation management.

5. Agricultural water is not only vital for food production, but also provides a broad spectrum of services related to society, culture and the environment. These multiple roles and values of agricultural water must be recognized, evaluated and taken into account for the development and management of water resources.

6. Moreover, paddy fields are wetlands, in a sense. Thus, paddy fields potentially has the environmental benefits as natural wetlands do, including flood control, ground water recharge, water purification and biodiversity conservation.

7. On the occasion of the 3rd World Water Forum, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) co-organized the Ministerial Meeting on Water for Food and Agriculture on March 21, 2003. The Ministerial Recommendation highlighted three challenges, "Food Security and Poverty Alleviation", "Sustainable Water Use" and "Partnership" (see Annex 1).

8. The INWEPF is established to provide a forum to realize the three challenges by promoting dialogue, exchanging knowledge and experiences, creating synergy among existing forums and strengthening capacity building in agricultural water management in paddy fields with due consideration for environmental aspects.

Mission statement, vision and expected outcomes

Mission statement

9. The mission of the INWEPF is to realize the three challenges: "Food security and poverty alleviation", "Sustainable water use" and "Partnership" by promoting good practice of water management in paddy fields with due consideration for conservation and sustenance of rice-based ecosystems by cooperating with all stakeholders.


10. The INWEPF will provide an open platform for promoting dialogue, exchanging information and experiences, creating synergy among existing forums, strengthening capacity building, developing good practices and formulating ideas for innovative policy and management options in the field of sustainable paddy water use, conservation of environment and better governance.

Expected outcomes 2004-2005

11. The 2004-2005 INWEPF activities will result in:

A better understanding of water management in various contexts, and of multiple roles of water in paddy fields including conservation of rice-based ecosystem.

A better understanding of governance of water use in paddy fields including participatory irrigation management and multi-stakeholder involvement.

Development of good practices and formulation of a common understanding in sustainable water use in paddy fields toward future international discussions on water including the 4th World Water Forum to be held in Mexico in March 2006.

Prioritized Themes: 2004-2005

Prioritization of themes for the INWEPF activities 2004-2005

12. The informal preparatory meeting for the establishment of the INWEPF, held in February 2004 in Tokyo, proposed 12 themes (see ANNEX 2) as possible scope of activities of the INWEPF.

13. Since the proposed 12 themes cover too wide a range of issues and overlap each other to some extent, it is practical to prioritize and rearrange the themes to be focused on by the INWEPF from 2004 to 2005. In order to narrow down the themes, the Japan INWEPF Committee Secretariat performed a prioritization exercise by sending questionnaires to the registered members of the Virtual Meeting and Preparatory Team.

14. As a result of this prioritization exercise, the following 6 of the 12 themes attracted major support: E Efficient and sustainable water use (environmental, social, economic) E Equitable and optimal water allocation/ use to address poverty alleviation and food security at the global, regional and local levels (rain-fed, irrigation) E Multiple use and ecosystem functions of paddy fields, including social/cultural aspects E Governance, including Participatory Irrigation Management to increase capacity for integrated water resource management E Policies and strategies for good governance for improving sustainable management of rice based systems with specific attention to water, land and environment E Promoting farmers' and other stakeholders' participation in policy formulation, decision-making and project management (planning, construction, operation and maintenance)

15. Considering some overlapping between the themes, in order to focus and streamline the activities of the INWEPF, the following 3 themes are prioritized for the 2004-2005 activities of the INWEPF. Theme 1: Efficient and sustainable water use to address poverty alleviation and food security from environmental, social and economic aspects Theme 2: Multiple use and ecosystem functions of paddy fields Theme 3: Better governance to improve sustainable water management, including participatory irrigation management and capacity building


Steering Meeting

16. The Steering Meeting is the managing body of the INWEPF and decides on plans for activities. The first Steering Meeting will be held in Japan in November 2004. The second Steering Meeting is to be held in 2005.

17. The host for the Second Steering Meeting will be decided at the First Steering Meeting.

Virtual Meeting

18. Virtual Meetings, to be hosted by the National Institute for Rural Engineering (NIRE), Japan with the cooperation of the Japan INWEPF Committee, will be launched in January 2005.

19. The three prioritized themes for 2004-2005 will be discussed at the Virtual Meetings. The results of the discussion at the Virtual Meetings will be reported to the Second Steering Meeting in 2005.

20. The 1st phase of the Virtual Meeting (January - March 2005) will focus on stock taking of the achievements of other forums including ICID, exchanging experiences and knowledge.

21. In the 2nd phase (April 2005- ), the Virtual Meetings will deepen discussion toward better understanding of the 3 prioritized themes and identifying best practices building on the knowledge and lessons accumulated at the 1st stage.

22. The moderator of the Virtual Meetings will be nominated soon after the First Steering Meeting and circulated electronically among the Steering Meeting member for endorsement. The moderator of the Virtual Meeting is responsible for streamlining the discussions and drawing up the report for the Steering Meeting.


23. A Workshop is proposed to be held in 2005 in order to provide members with opportunities to compliment and strengthen activities deliberated at the Virtual Meetings and other relevant international forums including ICID. The Japan INWEPF Committee is now seeking funds to operate the Workshop.

Open Forum

24. An Inaugural Symposium titled "Sustainable Water Use: INWEPF Way" will be held to raise public awareness of the multiple roles and values of agricultural water use in paddy fields and participatory irrigation management in November 2004 back to back with the First Steering Meeting.

Ad-hoc Working Group

25. It is proposed to set up ad-hoc Working Groups to prepare inputs (papers, presentations) to international forums related to water and environment in paddy fields.

26. The first ad-hoc Working Group prepares a paper that will be forwarded to the Water for Food and Ecosystem Conference organized by FAO and the Netherlands.

27. The ad-hoc Working Group consists of volunteers. The work of the working group will be conducted mainly by E-mail with in-kind working contribution.

Website and Newsletter

28. It is proposed to make up website and newsletter at the First Steering Meeting in order to disseminate the outcomes of the INWEPF.

29. Japan INWEPF local committee will set up the website of the INWEPF and distribute the newsletter to the members.