The Untied Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) co-organized the High-level Symposium on “Integrated Water Cycle Management in the post-COVID-19 era” with the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) on 18 February 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. The objective of the symposium is that leaders from politics, governments, academia, and civil society organizations (CSOs) as well as all the other stakeholders would discuss, share experiences and knowledge, and reaffirm the commitment for actions to facilitate the integrated water cycle management in the recovery process from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The symposium was attended by the Emperor of Japan and 250 participants from all over the world.
The opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Han Seung-Soo, Chair of HELP/Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Prof. Hiroko Ota, President of GRIPS, and Mr. Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations. Following the opening, the morning session featured keynote speeches on water and disasters by world leaders and experts. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, President of the UN General Assembly warned that some 1.8 billion people on the planet are threatened by flood risks. Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), stated that the UN is trying to cover the world with an “early warning system” to inform people of the risks of climate change-related disasters. The afternoon session on “Integrated Flood Management in the post-COVID-19 era” was the panel discussion moderated by Prof. Kenzo Hiroki, Professor of GRIPS/Coordinator of HELP, with presentations by high-level experts and a lively exchange of views.
The collective messages compiled based on the discussion will be input to the important processes towards and after the 2023 UN Water Conference. The messages will encourage the facilitation of the concrete actions for the resolution of world flood issues at national and local levels as well as in the UN and international communities.
The UN News features the event with a link to the archived video of the event on UN Web TV.
1) Morning Session 1 (9:30-10:30)
Opening remarks by the representatives of the co-organizers
- H.E. Dr. Han Seung-Soo, Chair of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) / Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
- Prof. Hiroko Ota, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
- Mr. Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
2) Keynote speeches 1
- H.E. Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
- Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- Mr. Pablo Bereciartua, Chair of Global Water Partnership / President of the Argentinean Engineering Centre (Centro Argentino de Ingenieros – CAI)
- Dr. Ir. Arie Setiadi Moerwanto, MSc., Senior Advisor for the Minister in Water Resources Management, Ministry of Public Works and Housing of the Republic of Indonesia
Morning Session 2 (10:45-11:30)
3) Keynote speeches 2
- Prof. Slobodan P. Simonovic, Director of Engineering Studies, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, The University of Western Ontario
- Mr. Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General and the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences a.i., UNESCO
- Mr. Woochong Um, Managing Director General of Asian Development Bank
4) Launching “Flood Risk Management and Environmental Justice policy brief”, a HELP Flagship Initiative by Dr. William S. Logan, Director, International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), Institute for Water Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
Lunch Break (11:30-13:00)
Afternoon Session (13:00-14:30)
5) High-level Panel Discussion: “Integrated Flood Management in the post-COVID-19 era” moderated by Prof. Kenzo Hiroki, Professor, GRIPS/Coordinator, HELP
- Dr. Johannes Cullmann, Director for SDGs, the Office of the 77th President of UN General Assembly
- Prof. Toshio Koike, Executive Director, The International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM)
- Ms. Paola Albrito, Director, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)
- Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook, Director Hydrology, Water and Cryosphere, Water and Cryosphere Branch, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)>
- Dr. Anil Mishra, Chief of Section, Hydrological Systems, Climate Change and Adaptation, Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO
- Dr. Alessio Giardino, Senior Water Specialist (Climate Change), Asian Development Bank
- Dr. Valentin Aich, Senior Water and Climate Specialist, Global Water Partnership (GWP)
- Wrap-up comments by Prof. Gretchen Kalonji, Dean, Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, Sichuan University
- Closing remarks by H.E. Dr. Han Seung-Soo, Chair of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) / Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
Photo: National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)