Three centuries ago, Samuel Taylor Coleridge published
The Rime o the Ancient Mariner
(1798). The line, “Water, water, everywhere, nor anydrop to drink” rom the poem captures the predicament that the worldfnds itsel, particularly with respect to issues such as water supply andmanagement, water pollution and the impacts o climate change/variation such as ooding and droughts. The most indispensable commodity or human survival — water — israpidly being recognized as a scarce resource around the world. Forexample, in the Asia and Pacifc region where more than 60 percent o the world’s population live, only about 36 percent o the world’s waterresource is available (Asia Society’s Leadership Group on Water Security,2009). Limited access to water is predicted to be a source o increasingtensions in dierent regions, providing various environmental andsocioeconomic challenges to the respective governments at the nationaland local levels. The implications o water shortages or limited access toavailable water have earned water the ominous label o “blue gold”. This issue o
expounds on the challenges and goodpractices in water supply and management. It eatures the discussionsheld during the International Conerence on Sustainable Coastal andOcean Development that were held during the East Asian Seas Congressin Manila, Philippines, on 23-27 November 2009. The third triennial EASCongress, hosted by the Government o the Philippines and co-organizedby the Philippines Department o Environment and Natural Resources,attracted 1,480 participants, 100 exhibitors, 51 co-conveners andsupporting organizations, and 12 sponsors.Good practices covering three water-related issues were explored duringthe course o the International Conerence, namely: (a) preventiono marine pollution rom sea-based activities; (b) water use andmanagement or ood supply, energy production and ecosystem services;and (c) innovative approaches and practices in reshwater/marine watermanagement, including pollution reduction. The article entitled,
Steering the Course towards Saer Shippingand Cleaner Seas
(page 4), highlights international eorts in oil spillpreparedness and response, marine biosaety and environment-riendlyport development and management. Sources and causes o hazardsassociated with maritime activities, as well as case studies and bestpractices that can be replicated and scaled up, are detailed. While acombination o eorts by international organizations, governments,the private sector, scientifc community and other stakeholders aregaining ground, countries are being encouraged to ratiy relevantinternational conventions, including MARPOL, OPRC, CLC, IOPC Funds,the Ballast Water Convention, Anti-Fouling System Convention, etc., andto adopt corresponding national laws and regulations that will allow ortheir implementation. NOWPAP and PEMSEA are identifed as workingexamples o regional mechanisms that can be replicated in other regionswhere advocacy, technical cooperation and promotion o regional oil spillpreparedness, response and cooperation need to be enhanced.Insights into climate change impacts and responses, as well as disastermanagement systems at the international, national and local levels,are eatured in
Saving the Global Commons, Charting Our Future
(page 25). The eects o climate change are discussed as they relate tosustainable development in Monsoon Asia, fsheries production, andshipping. The article urther examines available options to address climatechange in the East Asian context, through: mitigation measures to urtherreduce emissions and rehabilitate ecosystems; adaptation measures,including scaling up the application o integrated coastal management(ICM) as a process or systematically reducing risk and increasingresiliency in the ace o related hazardous events; and geoengineering orclimate engineering measures aimed at reversing negative environmentaltrends associated with global warming. In sum, the article concludesthat longer-term mitigation eorts and adaptation responses to climatevariability need to be coupled with shorter-term disaster risk reductionresponses to extreme events in order to ensure a comprehensive risk management approach, as well as to guarantee ood and water security,biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, and community resiliency.
The Nexus o Water, Energy, Food and Environment: Creating aRipple Efect
(page 46) delves into the issue o improvements in waterresource management. The article emphasizes the point that currentmanagement practices tend to be ragmented, compartmentalizing eachactivity and water use. Water or drinking, irrigation, energy, industrial use,sanitation, waste management, navigation, and protecting ecosystemshave been treated separately, with distinct management, political andeconomic structures. Case studies on integrated coastal and river basinmanagement (ICARM) are presented to highlight experiences andgood practices in dierent regions o the world. In addition, the articledescribes the state o innovative strategies and technologies that arebeing demonstrated to harness the ocean energy and alternative water-based energy systems or small-scale applications, as part o sustainabledevelopment policies and programs in various countries.
Weaving through the Pollution Conundrum: Getting it Right
(page78), ocuses on best practices rom the Northwest Pacifc, East Asia,Europe and North America. Lessons learned in the Danube River,Amur and Tumen Rivers, Selangor and Klang River systems, ChesapeakeBay, Singapore River and Pasig River provide invaluable case studieso pollution management through strategic partnerships, includingthe applications o strategic integrated planning, regulatory/policy/institutional ramework, innovative approaches and technologies,and fnancing mechanisms or water supply, sanitation and pollutionreduction. In addition, the importance o public-private partnerships inaddressing pollution and other issues is emphasized. The situation o Manila Bay is presented, where the business sector has confrmed itscommitments, set specifc targets, and taken an active role in initiatingprograms to support the rehabilitation o the Bay and surroundingwatershed areas.From the discussions, conclusions and recommendations among thevarious workshops during the EAS Congress 2009, a general agreementwas that water supply and management issues transcend administrativeboundaries, necessitating the need or an integrated river basin andcoastal area management approach, ounded on concerted actioninvolving various stakeholders, rom government leaders at thenational and local levels, to the business sector, to industry, and to localcommunities. Water supply and management is no longer consideredto be a sectoral concern, but an essential component o sustainabledevelopment.
The quest for blue gold