Session FT 4.10
Water accounting and information platforms
Ministry of the Environment of Japan(MOEJ)
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA)
National Statistics, Geography and Informatics Institute of Mexico(INEGI)
United Nations University (UNU)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Dr. Yasuyuki Eda, Senior Vice Minister of MOEJ, gave the opening remarks as the representative of all session convener in which he introduced the distinguished participants and mentioned the background and purpose of the session. Eng. Mario Alberto Reyes Ibara, General Director of Geography of INEGI, gave the closing remarks in which he was thankful for the participation in the session and asked for continuous efforts for the development of information platforms to all participants. Also, he hoped to have a session on dealing with information platforms at the 5th World Water Forum.
- The assessment of the economical and social pressures on the environment must result in optimal and practical solutions.
- The evaluation of environmental damage is not yet a fully developed procedure..
- It is important to take into account ideas like: the polluter must pay, reduce unjustified subsides, encourage the supply and demand of green products and services and also environmental education.
- Information on the water environment which is already been gathered and offered by numerous organizations needs to be integrated and supplied in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
- Information sharing among regions with similar natural, socioeconomic and cultural conditions is crucially effective to strengthening water governance in the countries concerned.
- The development of information platforms in partnerships involving relevant organizations in the region will help create and reinforce networks of interested parties and boost mutual understanding.
- Flexible response based on recognizing of the differences in policy development and information provision in relevant countries is required for implementation of the project.
- Integration of National Accounting Systems and data concerning with the state of the environment.
- Collaborative work for development of information platform contributes to the capacity building of relevant stakeholders.
Key messages and orientations for action
- To arrange information platforms and to develop international partnerships of various scales.
- To take into consideration local/regional characteristics and cultural backgrounds when formulating policy objectives.
- To promote intergovernmental cooperation with regards to the water environment as water does not recognize political boundaries.
Local Actions presented
Unified System for Basic Data on Water : SUIBA
Mr. Mr. Juan Carlos Valencia Vargas, CONAGUA
In Mexico, the water contained in rivers, lakes, and aquifers is the property of the nation. For its management, Mexico has two major instruments: the National Water Commission, and the National Waters Law, which sets down principles and instruments for using and preserving water.
Before the National Waters Law was modified, in 2003, the Unified System for Basic Data on Water was created by the National Water Commission, in order to support the planning process, and issue information concerning the situation of water in Mexico.
SUIBA, is not a data processing system, but is an expert team from CONAGUA Divisions, who produce, integrate and manage the related statistical information of water.
When SUIBA integration was started, different problems needed to be faced like: duplicity of production activities data, restricted access to information, underestimation regarding the importance of certain information, diversity of methodologies and calculus criteria applied to the same data, and in the institution there was not an administrative entity charged with the integration and publishing of statistical water information.
SUIBA gave rise to the annual publishing of the book Statistics on Water in Mexico, which has substituted and become more prominent than the Basic Compendium on Water.
Basic water information is shown in different ways: book, booklet, CD ROM, and the CONAGUA web site; moreover the requests of information are attended through the e-mail address email@example.com.
On the other hand, the National Waters Law states the integration of the National Information System on Water Quantity, Quality, Uses, and Conservation (SINA) with the participation of watershed organizations, also in coordination with States’ governments, the Federal District and River Basin Councils, and in agreement with the federal law concerning transparency and access to governmental public information, which allows the participation of government entities and water users.
Thus, in order to integrate SINA, the following step was defined, to evolve the four current important projects in CONAGUA: the Unified System for Basic Data on Water, the Geographic Water System, and the Library and Water Archives. These projects, by their path and characteristics, will become SINA components: statistic, geographic, and documentary respectively.
The National Water Commission is leading the Water Thematic Group, and takes into consideration standards for the integration of statistical and geographic information of Environment Sectors. Within the Group, the composition of thematic working subgroups has been defined where officials from the National Institute for Statistics, Geography, and Informatics participate. This is the normative entity of the national statistics and geographic information systems, and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources’ leader institution Sector.
Development System of Economic and Ecological Accounts for Mexico
Mr. Raúl Figueroa Díaz, INEGI
The use of statistical instruments for environmental assessment and for the public politics orientation does not belong to an automatic process. This process is more complicated, starts with the identification of the problems and finishes with the decision making, passing through the quantification of the diverse phenomena that pressures our environment.
The recognition of environmental pressures is one of the main worries of the population, public organisms, private sector, NGO´s, etc.
Although the urgency in attending this issue, the assessment process is still in a development stage, since the measurement of the environmental damage is a topic in discussion and does not have consistent methodologies to allow international comparisons.
The Mexican initiative for developing an environmental accounting system is looking to strength the nexus between problems and solutions for issues like aquifer over-exploitation and water bodies pollution.
Water Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA)
Dr. Okada, Hiroshima University, WEPA Advisory Committee
The Water Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA) project was proposed by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment at the 3rd World Water Forum (WWF3) in 2003, and provides a platform to share knowledge and experiences related to water environment issues in the Asian monsoon region through the construction of four databases, policy, technology, activity of NGOs and information sources. The project is aimed at promoting good governance in water environment management and contributing to development of the capacity of relevant stakeholders by working together on the construction of the databases.
The WEPA project is to be implemented over a five-year period (April 2004–March 2009) through the cooperative actions of participating governments. There are eleven countries from the Asian monsoon region involved in the project, namely, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Japan.
The unique features of the WEPA database are to provide practical information such as the social and scientific background of policies and measures concerning the water environment, practical technologies and systems currently being successfully operated, etc. which is really useful for decision making and policy implementation.
Construction of the WEPA database started April 2004 and the database was released on the Web (URL http://www.wepa-db.net) in March 2006, just before this session.
MOEJ and IGES (the WEPA secretariat) have discovered many issues through the cooperative actions with relevant countries, that are necessary for the promotion of the project － such as respect for the autonomy of relevant countries and awareness-raising. The WEPA project will continue to with the aim of completing the database by March 2009, in time for WWF5. The promotion of further significant data collection, the development of the systematic function of the database and contribution to other countries and regions through dissemination of WEPA news etc. , are future tasks for the project.