World Leaders Discuss Solutions for Water-Related Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region: 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit Held in Kumamoto City, Japan
Heads of state and cabinet-level officials from 30 countries participated in the Water Summit in-person, online, and via video message. The Heads of State and Government Meeting, attended by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and other heads of state, adopted the Kumamoto Declaration for the purposes of strengthening international cooperation to solve water issues and achieve a quality-oriented society.
The summit program included a presentation by Onishi Kazufumi, mayor of the host city of Kumamoto, on the ongoing water conservation projects in the Kumamoto region. The Youth Water Forum Kyushu, consisting primarily of high school students from Kumamoto, featured research presentations on water issues and videos on solutions for water-related problems.
Nine parallel thematic sessions and four integrated sessions were held to discuss concrete modes of action in response to questions raised by heads of state with regard to the Kumamoto Declaration. The chairman then summarized the responses to these questions in a presentation at the Closing Ceremony to complete the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit.
■ Adoption of the Kumamoto Declaration
The Kumamoto Declaration, created with the goal of strengthening cooperation to solve water issues and develop a sustainable, disaster-resilient, quality-oriented society, was adopted at the Heads of State and Government Meeting. This Kumamoto Declaration is planned to be presented at a number of international conferences, including the 2023 UN Water Conference, and is expected to aid in solving the water-related issues the world faces in the future.
■ A Global Audience for Kumamoto’s Water Programs
During the Showcase portion of the program where representatives present successful programs from their respective countries, Mayor Onishi took the stage to introduce Kumamoto’s groundwater conservation projects that protect its water resources to make them available to future generation. Mayor Onishi also discussed river basin management as a way to protect against the severe flooding occurring as a result of climate change.
Comments on the Mayor’s speech included: “I was surprised by the new attempts to combine both water conservation and disaster prevention” and “I learned about advanced projects that utilize advanced scientific and technological information in groundwater management.”
Kumamoto’s water conservation projects⇒
■ Active Involvement by High School Students
High school students participated in the Youth Water Forum Kyushu as part of the Summit. Two high school students announced the commencement of the Summit in English during the Opening Ceremony. Three groups made videos on solutions to water-related issues and had an online discussion with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. On the exhibition room floor, students exchanged opinions in English without the use of interpreters and actively participated in numerous aspects of the Summit.
Youth Water Forum
■ Venue Introduction:
Kumamoto Castle, which represents the historical site of Kumamoto City, is a famous castle completed in 1607 by Kiyomasa Kato, a master castle builder, using the most advanced technology and labor of the time. The castle is also loved for its seasonal scenery, with cherry blossoms in spring and ginkgo trees in fall adding beautiful colors to the castle.
The Kumamoto earthquake that occurred in April 2016 damaged much of the castle tower, stone walls, and important cultural property buildings, but efforts are currently underway to restore the castle over a period of about 20 years.
Despite being one of the most urbanized cities in Kyushu, Kumamoto City has long been known as "the city of water" and "the city of forests" and is blessed with nature. A representative of this is the abundance of water resources.
Kumamoto City is one of the few cities in the world that use pure groundwater to supply all of its 740,000 residents with tap water. Compared to commercially bottled water, Kumamoto City's groundwater contains more minerals, so if you turn on the tap, you can drink natural mineral water that is good for you.
■ Summit Overview
- Dates: April 23rd and 24th, 2022
- Location: Kumamoto-jo Hall https://www.kumamoto-jo-hall.
- Theme: Water for Sustainable Development: Best Practices and the Next Generation
- Official Photos
Visit the following website for details:
Asia-Pacific Water Summit Promotion Office; Kumamoto City