Outcomes from World Water Day 2019

The theme for this year’s UN World Water Day was ‘Leaving no one behind’. It reflects the growing body of evidence and Australia’s belief in the importance of gendered and socially inclusive approaches to Water Resource Management (WRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to achieve more effective and sustainable outcomes in development.

The Australian Water Partnership (AWP) celebrated this day by collaborating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Water for Women (WfW) to highlight Australian support of ‘water for development’ through several key WRM and WASH programs in the Indo-Pacific region. The AWP and WfW are both key initiatives of DFAT as part of Australia’s aid program.

In a campaign beginning with International Women’s Day (8 March) and leading up to World Water Day (22 March), AWP Partners were invited to share success stories of work that have been supported through the Australian aid program. Some of these were highlighted on DFAT, AWP and WfW social media platforms and websites, and can be viewed further below.

AWP was also involved in several events. For the World Water Day celebrations in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (5-6 March), AWP and Myanmar’s National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) launched the Ayeyarwady Basin Exploratory Scoping Study (BESS) Report, ‘At the Heart of Myanmar: Exploring Futures of the Ayeyarwady River System’. The BESS Report offers a bridge by making use of key findings of the Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA), as well as the scientific and grey literature that has accumulated on Myanmar development during the past decade.

AWP also supported MDBA representatives – Russell James, Executive Director of the Office of Compliance, and David Dreverman, MDBA special advisor – to co-chair two sessions on a range of water topics. Mr James and Mr Dreverman also met with Myanmar officials and colleagues from the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR), the National Water Resources Committee (NWRC), and the Hydroinformatics Centre to progress planning of Phase 2 of the Ayeyarwady-Murray-Darling twinning arrangement, and to continue building Australia’s understanding of water management challenges in Myanmar.

AWP announced funding for a project on ‘Gender, water, and food synergies in support of the Sustainable Development Goals in Myanmar’ – a new United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) initiative under the umbrella of ‘Next Generation Irrigation and Agricultural Water Management for the Asia Pacific’. The first project within this program was launched at the Myanmar celebrations and is focussed on gender, water, and food synergies in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Myanmar.

In Nonthaburi, Thailand, Australia was represented at the World Water Day and National Water Resources Conservancy Week where Australia and Thailand agreed to upscale its bilateral water cooperation. His Excellency Chatchai Sarikulya, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Dr Somkiat Prajamwong, Secretary-General, Thailand Office of National Water Resources met with Australian officials, including a visit to the Australia booth.

‘AWP is very pleased to have collaborated with DFAT and Water for Women to highlight the impact that our respective initiatives and Partners have had on communities and people in the region,’ says AWP CEO Nick Schofield.

‘We are working to leave no one behind in all our activities by actively supporting Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI). This is a key strategic commitment of the AWP and we are proud to enable our Partners in making a positive difference to GESI with the Australian Government’s support.’

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