23 Nov 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

The Asia and Pacific region is facing increasing risk of water shortages and stress. In 2016, 29 of 48 countries qualified as water insecure due to low availability and unsustainable water withdrawals. Seven of the world’s 15 biggest extractors of groundwater are in Asia and the Pacific, and research suggests that groundwater use will increase by 30 per cent by 2050. Water scarcity will have a negative impact on food security as 70 percent of water withdrawals are for agricultural production. At the same time, 70 per cent of urban waste water is discharged into ecosystems, and 80 to 90 per cent of all wastewater remains untreated. Cities generate about 1.37 million metric tons of municipal solid waste a day, of which up to 90 per cent is discharged into the environment or disposed of improperly.

To cope with these pressures on water quantity and quality, including with the additional challenge of climate change and predicted increased hydrological variability, transboundary water cooperation is a necessity. However, the Asia-Pacific, a region with highest vulnerability of countries to shocks, is one of the least advanced in terms of legal and institutional frameworks for transboundary water cooperation and is lagging in the implementation of SDG 6 indicator 6.5.2 as per the results of recently published baseline reporting report of UNECE and UNESCO.

This associate event will focus on opportunities for using transboundary water cooperation mechanisms and tools for enhancing sustainable water resources management in transboundary basin areas, as well as advancing implementation of SDG 6 on Water and Sanitation. A panel of eminent experts from will discuss how countries in the Asia-Pacific region can address water challenges and benefit from strengthened transboundary cooperation, using international instruments and frameworks and draw lessons from selected examples which demonstrate the value of cooperation and ecosystem protection for development.