The Korea Herald


50 Asian nations gather to tackle water scarcity at convention

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : July 6, 2023 - 18:30

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Yun Seog-dae, CEO of K-water (seventh from left, front row), poses for a photo with officials of the Asia Water Council during its fourth general meeting held on Thursday. (Korea Water Resources Corp.) Yun Seog-dae, CEO of K-water (seventh from left, front row), poses for a photo with officials of the Asia Water Council during its fourth general meeting held on Thursday. (Korea Water Resources Corp.)

More than 200 representatives from 50 Asian nations, including government officials, industry stakeholders and academics, have gathered in South Korea this week to share their visions on future solutions to water scarcity in the region.

The Korea Water Resources Corp., also known as K-water, is hosting the three-day general meeting of the Asia Water Council that kicked off Wednesday at a convention center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.

Established in 2016, the council aims to facilitate international cooperation in solving water scarcity in Asia. K-water is the current chair of the council that also works as the organizing committee.

Participants of the council's fourth general meeting this year, which was held offline for the first time since the pandemic began, included representatives from major Asian countries such as China, Indonesia and Thailand, along with international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Water Partnership (GWP).

During the general meeting held Thursday, K-water said it held discussions on AWC's achievements regarding the status of its water projects and separate programs it launched to help water-stressed countries in Asia.

Having completed a total of 24 water projects since the effort began in 2016, AWC said its recent projects, which included conducting climate change adaptability promotional businesses in Cambodia and Laos, and running research projects to stoke investment for water security in Asian countries, were discussed to further ramp up the council's efforts in resolving water shortages.

Discussions on AWC's future directions regarding its joint projects with OECD and United Nations Development Programme were also held throughout the meeting.

Korean and global green industries held corporate exhibitions and business consultation sessions to establish networks and exchange state-of-the-art technologies.

"Asia is a region of global importance, as it accounts for 32 percent of the land on Earth and 60 percent of the world's population. (However, Asia's) regional security and development continue to be threatened by climate change issues," said an official from K-water.

He added the council's meeting came as it aimed to ramp up Asia's industries' sustainable and viable cooperation to combat water scarcity, which is based on one of the most functional and effective mechanisms, compared to other continents.

A business forum is also set to be held Friday for governments, industry stakeholders and investment banks to share each country’s water industry support policies, water management innovation technologies and investment programs in the water sector. A separate preliminary meeting for the preparation of Asian International Water Week, Asia's largest water conference held every three years, will also be held.

Yun Seog-dae, CEO of K-water, also held multiple high-level meetings with AWC directors, such as the officials of OECD, GCF and GWP, to shed light on Asia's water scarcity.

"The recent general meeting was held to share past projects AWC has been promoting till now, along with AWC's future vision, and fortify international cooperation," said Yun.

"With the world focusing on the problems (surrounding water scarcity), as the chair institution of AWC and a leading water industry, Korea Water Resources Corp. will actively cooperate to solve global water problem by utilizing (Korean) technology and use global networks of AWC to fervently support exports of the green industry, to function as Korean companies' bridgehead for international expansion.”