Water for Asian Cities
The Water for Asian Cities
Timeframe: 2003 - ongoing
Asian Development Bank
Centre for Environment Education (CEE)
Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD)
Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO)
Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS)
International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA)
Mahila Chetna Manch
National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM)
Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC)
SGS Institute of Technology and Science (SGSITS)
Society for Preservation of Water (SPW)
South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO)
Values-based Education and Development Initiative (VBEDI)
Water Resource Planning and Conservation
Water Supply State Enterprise
The overriding thrust of the Water for Asian Cities Programme is to support cities in Asia to meet the water and sanitation related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by enhancing capacity at city, country and regional levels, and creating an enabling environment for new investments to be channelled into the urban water and sanitation sector. The Programme primarily focuses on Pro-poor Urban Water Governance, Urban Water Demand Management, Integrated Urban Environmental Sanitation, and creation of income generation opportunities for the urban poor by involving them in the management and delivery of community-based water and sanitation services.
The programme is being implemented in three distinct phases.
- The first phase, which is ongoing, comprises capacity building activities aimed at developing a framework for implementation of pilot projects and strengthening governance at all levels. It will also promote measures to improve access and quality of water and sanitation services, encourage water, sanitation and hygiene education, and develop benchmarks for monitoring progress towards the achievement of the water and sanitation MDGs.
- The next stage involves identifying and developing relevant investment projects, which must not only meet the needs and aspirations of targeted beneficiaries, but also be technically, economically, and financially viable and sustainable.
- The final phase will comprise allocation of financial resources, channeling of loans to projects, physical implementation of projects, and monitoring the continuation of policy reforms, capacity building, and strengthening of institutions.
• Advocacy, Awareness Raising and Information Exchange to improve governance in the water and sanitation sector
• Mobilizing political will, media and public awareness to promote pro-poor investment in water and sanitation
• Enhancing human resources and institutional capacity to enhance capacity in the delivery of water and sanitation services
• Values Based Water Education in Schools and Community to promote a better understanding of water as a key social, economic and environmental resource, and
• Promoting pro-poor investments to scale up the flow of investments in water and sanitation services for the poor in Asian cities
• Gender Mainstreaming to encourage gender sensitive planning which requires that consideration be given to all gender differentiated factors so that both women and men are given possibilities to influence and participate in the benefits of development.
1. Information gaps on urban service coverage
2. Millennium Declaration Goals and the Need for Effective Monitoring
3. Demand-side Management as a Priority Action
A comprehensive approach to demand management should focus on reducing unaccounted for water; discouraging wastage in high-income areas through pricing, technical and regulatory measures; and in low-income areas, promoting greater involvement of local residents' in driving water provision. This will call for a range of administrative and institutional measures and building capacity in water service provider and regulatory bodies.
4. Increased focus on Sanitation and Hygiene
5. Need for pro-poor governance
The urban poor, mostly living in peri-urban settlements should unquestionably receive the highest priority in the matter of future investments and institutional capacity building for the delivery and management of urban basic services.
6. Investment in Infrastructure
Policy makers need to be aware that infrastructure investments, unless properly directed, does not necessarily lead to better services for the urban poor. The social and environmental health implications of new investments in infrastructure need to be evaluated in each case to assess their impact on the urban poor. A clearly articulated infrastructure investment policy for urban basic services could go a long way to safeguard the interest of the urban poor.
7. Provision for the Urban Poor
Few local governments have a clearly defined urban development policy, not to speak of a policy for basic services in informal settlements. Many local authorities do not have provision in the planning process for the peri-urban poor. The urban poor are thus forced to rely on private sector operators and a thriving informal water market exists in most Asian cities.
Community participation in the water and sanitation sector has, however, seen remarkable progress in several countries within the region in recent years. Most innovative initiatives though have come from communities and NGOs rather than from local authorities. The challenge in this area is to evaluate these experiences and disseminate them widely for possible replication in other cities. Also, stable partnerships with local authorities are essential for the sustainability and upscaling of these initiatives to city-wide level.
8. Community and Local Authority Cooperation
To improve governance in the water sector at the local level, the community and city residents in general, can play a key role in the monitoring of resource allocation and ensuring that local authorities and utilities are open and transparent in their operations and free with information. The concept of community-friendly local authorities and utilities who have a "consumer service focus" is becoming a new challenge which can greatly improve service delivery efficiency.
Water for Asian Cities – Nanjing
Water for Asian Cities – India
Water for Asian Cities – Lao PDR
Water for Asian Cities – Nepal
To read on these activities of the programme click here.
For the complete information on the programme, including news, events, publications and reports, visit the website of the UN-HABITAT.