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The 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit and related events

The first Asia - Pacific Water Summit (APWS1) was held in Oita Prefecture, Japan, on December 3 and 4, 2007. Under the overall theme "Water Security: Leadership and Commitment", almost 300 people participated in the summit; representatives of 36 countries including heads of government of 10 countries, international organizations and representatives of stakeholders such as parliaments, local governments, private sectors, academics, civil societies and media in Asia-Pacific region.

1. The message from INWEPF delivered to the 1st Asia - Pacific Water Summit, December 3 - 4, 2007,Oita, Japan

FAO and IUCN organized a session under one of the priority theme of the Summit, "Water for Development and Ecosystem" on December 4. As a representative of INWEPF, Professor Tsugihiro Watanabe of Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Japan participated in panel discussion of the session together with selected members; ministers of Nepal and Fiji, Director of research institute in China and representative of FAO, IUCN and ICID.

In his speech, Dr. Watanabe delivered the message from INWEPF to APWS1 which had been discussed and agreed among the members. He stressed importance of roles of water in paddy fields in the water issue related to development and ecosystem in Asia monsoon region.

The message was presented to participants of the session including heads/high level representatives of government, as well as it was brought to all participants of the summit in paper.

2. Events related to Water and Paddy Fields around the 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit

Taking opportunity of APWS1, several events on water and paddies was held on December 2-4 2007.

(1) INWEPF Workshop Ecosystem Services of Paddy-Irrigated Basin on December 3, 2007, Beppu City, Oita, Japan

INWEPF Japanese Committee organized the INWEPF workshop on Ecosystem Services of Paddy-Irrigated Basin on December 3, 2007, Beppu City, Oita, Japan.

The workshop was organized to learn and discuss the experiences of application to the paddy irrigated basin with INWEPF member countries, related international organizations and participants. The workshop was held as an Open Event of APWS1.

Almost 100 people participated in the workshop, including people from some INWEPF member countries, FAO, ICID and so on.

The workshop focused on "Ecosystem Services of Paddy-Irrigated Basin", because "Water for Environment" is the important target of Priority Theme C of the 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit, "Water for Development and Ecosystem." Water for Environment increases its importance in water management related to tackling recent climate change, conserving biodiversity and other issues on the basis of the concept of "Environmental Flows (E-flows)". Environmental services of paddy fields are also important issue for INWEPF, which addresses exchange of knowledge and experience about multiple features of paddy fields.

The workshop started with 2 Keynote Speeches, "The Environmental Flows approach: Negotiating water management" by Ms. Kate Lazarus of IUCN and "Environmental Flows: Moving from Theory to Application" by Dr. Luna Bharati of IWMI informing concept and actual application of E-flows.

The workshop had 2 speeches, "Hydrologic Environment in the Mekong River Basin and Roles of Paddy Fields" by Dr. Takao Masumoto of NIRE Japan and "Channel Networking of Waters and Ecosystems in Paddy Irrigated Basins" by Mr. Hideaki Tanaka of MAFF Japan to report environmental status and approach in Mekong River Basin and Japan. "Dialogue on Rice Paddies and Environmental Flows among INWEPF countries", a virtual meeting held prior to the workshop, was also reported by Dr. David Groenfeldt, chairperson of the meeting.

Finally, Message from INWEPF to the 1st Asia-Pacific Water Forum was introduced.

The workshop resulted in exchange the recent information and opinions on environmental aspect related to surrounding paddy fields and irrigation. Participants fruitfully reconfirmed importance of paddy agriculture in tackling water security.


(2) INWEPF Working Group 3 meeting on December 2, 2007, Beppu City, Oita, Japan

INWEPF Working Group 3, Monetary Assessment and Value Adding in the Multi- functional Roles of Paddy Fields (WG3) was established as one of 3 working Groups approved in the 3rd INWEPF Steering Meeting. Members of WG3 are Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and FAO.

On the opportunity of the APWS1, INWEPF Japanese Committee organized a meeting of WG3. The purpose of the meeting is to develop knowledge and experience of members about quantitative and monetary assessment of multifunctional roles of paddy fields through discussion what roles can be evaluated and how evaluation can be done.

(3) International Forum on Water in Agriculture, "Re-Discovering the Aquatic Environment and the Water Culture of the Monsoon Asia", December 2, 2007, Beppu City, Oita, Japan

Natural environment and culture of rural areas in Japan and also in other countries in the Asian monsoon region are often closely related to paddy irrigation agriculture in the areas. Seasonal irrigation practices in the paddy fields under the monsoon climate not only determine the hydrologic regime of the watershed. They also form the aquatic environment affluent in biodiversity, the beautiful landscape in seasons, and the history and culture of the societies in the watershed.

Such aquatic environment and water culture formed through water utilization in agriculture are the typical characteristics of the monsoon Asia, and therefore considered the precious assets of the region. It is important that farmers themselves, local and central stake holders should learn, discover and share the values of the aquatic environment and the water culture of the region.

This forum aims to re-discover and disseminate the multiple values of the water used in agriculture in the monsoon Asia through hearing and sharing representative local actions and experiences of Japan, other countries and organizations for conserving and enhancing these values.