Around 45 people from Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands participated in a Water Stewardship Forum and Training in Bogor on 8-10 May—the first of its kind in Indonesia.
Supported by AWP and organised by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Asia-Pacific, the goal of the Forum was to build upon interest generated with key stakeholders, create awareness on shared water challenges and opportunities in Indonesia, support further partnership-building and offer training on water stewardship.
The concept of water stewardship is fast gaining traction across the world, and the AWS Standard is a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context.
Indonesia—the largest economy in Southeast Asia with a vast population of over 260 million people—is facing many issues with groundwater and surface water pollution, increasing pressure on fresh water resources, staggering water demands due to population growth and economic development, and degrading ecosystems. Many sectors are affected by this water stress and in order to sustain business and ensure sufficient and clean water for livelihoods, a more holistic approach is needed to tackle these challenges.
The Forum built upon the network created so far in Indonesia and was open to all other participants with an interest in water governance and management. Among the 45 participants were representatives from multiple sectors including companies such as H&M, Multi Bintang, Golden Agri Resources, Halcyon, as well as national level government like the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, NGOs such as WWF Indonesia and Simavi, and others like ALSI (Indonesian Association of Certification Bodies), and many consultancies. These organisations are already active in water management and water governance in Indonesia and were interested to explore integrating water stewardship into their operations, projects and policies.
The opening speaker Mr Noer Adi Wardojo, the Head of the Centre for Standardisation from Ministry of Environment and Forestry, gave a presentation on the high economic prospects of Indonesia, but also the challenges on water that come with this development.
“Water is very important for ecosystem services and functions, and as part of the water-energy-food nexus. The challenges in Indonesia are cross-sector, cross-boundary, cross-actor and therefore about working together. It is the role of the Government as well to make companies stronger and more sustainable,” Mr Wardojo said.
“The water stewardship standard will progress how we do water governance in Indonesia, as it would improve competitiveness and access to international markets, not just a minimum regulatory compliance approach. [The] AWS Standard can be a way for companies to look beyond compliance, not just for government but also for their own business.” Mr Wardojo ended his speech by welcoming the Alliance for Water Stewardship to Indonesia and looked forward to continuing to work in a constructive manner to integrate water stewardship in company and government activities in Indonesia.
The Forum continued with a half-day session introducing the concept of water stewardship and providing the stage to companies, government and consultancies to present their work in water management and governance while discussing opportunities for uptake of water stewardship. The remainder of the day continued with 22 people continuing for the foundation training which provided participants with a better understanding of water challenges and how the AWS Standard provides a framework for action.
Day two of the training program offered more advanced training, building on the learnings from the previous day to enable participants to achieve a deeper knowledge of the AWS Standard criteria and build confidence in working with the Standard. The final day—attended by 17 people, one of the highest number of trainees so far—offered specialist training and examined case studies from the previous two days from an auditor’s perspective, providing a pathway for participants to become qualified auditors, trainers and consultants.
Michael Spencer, Chair of AWS Asia-Pacific, commented on the success of the event and future opportunities for collaboration.
“We are pleased to receive strong support for the Standard from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as well as interest from large manufacturers, agribusiness and water service providers. We are now looking into establishing a local entity to further build upon the opportunities we foresee with companies and government as well as to start to implement in-country water stewardship practices in projects, policies and programs,” said Mr Spencer.
View the highlight reel below and find out more about water stewardship at http://waterstewardship.org.au