FreshCo and UNEP convene session at 1st Southeast Asian Water Forum in Chiang Mai,  Thailand

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During November 17-21, the Global Water Partnership and the Royal Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment convened the 1st. Southeast Asian Water Forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Participants were predominantly from the ASEAN region and FreshCo and UNEP joined the organisation by convening a special session on linking of ICZM and IWRM.

Cases were presented from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines, and during the lively discussions, the general recommendations from the FreshCo issues paper, the Songkhla workshop and the FreshCo session at the 3rd. World Water Forum were endorsed.

Furthermore, the following recommendations were submitted to the Ministerial Conference at the Forum:

  • Expand IWRM freshwater concept to include brackish, coastal and marine waters in a "flow chain" approach for solution of specific upstream-downstrean conflicts.

  • Include coastal and marine waters in the IWRM target of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development

  • Adjust law, strategy and policy frameworks to allow for linking across different mandates and different levels.

  • Promote trans-disciplinary education and research among both post-graduate students and professionals

Also, more general recommendations were made to:

  • Re-engineer Government attitudes to cooperation and communication.

  • Mobilize user groups through

    • Sharing and use of transparent information

    • Introduction of demand-driven local planning and action

    • Increase of ownership and self-reliance in communities

    • Proper and realistic incentives to promote participation

  • Increase media attention and public and political awareness through success stories

  • Fight educational discipline arrogance and self sufficiency

Maybe the most important outcome of the sessions was the endorsement of establishment of a regional network of case-sites, where experiences can be collected through a learning-by-doing approach. Initially, it is expected to include specific sites in Thailand, India, Malaysia and the Philippines, but the network will be open to partners from other countries.

In the near future, the FreshCo secretariate at UCC-Water will prepare a more specific description of the network, including Terms of Reference for the participants. Requests for more detailed information, and requests for joining the network, may be directed to UCC-Water.


Contact: Niels Ipsen, UCC-Water Agern Allé 5 2970 Hørsholm Denmark. Tel: +45 4516 9518, Fax: +45 4516 9292, E-mail: or Martin Adriaanse, UNEP/GPA P.O. Box 16227 2500 BE, The Hague, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 70 311 4466, Fax: +31 70 345 6648, E-mail: