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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$4 million grant to promote effective water management policies and practices in the Asia and Pacific region.
The grant will strengthen regional cooperation among ADB's developing member countries and increase the synergy in ADB's water sector operations. Activities will take place at regional, subregional, and country level, including a pilot demonstration of innovative approaches in the water sector.
Other activities include a public awareness campaign, development of a water information system, comparative analysis of water sector reforms in the region, regional water partnerships, and regional events such as the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan, in March 2003.
The water awareness campaign will target decision-makers, stakeholders, youth and the news media, using ADB's water website (www.adb.org/water), multimedia productions, publications, newsletters, and public service announcements.
The Third World Water Forum in Japan will provide a major opportunity to raise awareness of water issues in the region.
The water information system will provide statistics and information, including national water sector profiles of selected countries; compile best practices, and establish links with other water knowledge centers. New national water partnerships will be supported in Indonesia and the Philippines, among others, while new subregional water partnerships will be supported in the Pacific and Central Asia.
The grant will be financed from the Cooperation Fund for the Water Sector, a multi-donor fund aimed at promoting effective water management policies and practices. The Government of Netherlands made the first contribution to the Fund and ADB will administer the grant.
ADB's water policy stresses the need for integrated cross-sectoral approaches to water resource management and development in order to conserve the increasingly scarce resource. It emphasizes that water is a socially vital economic good that needs careful management to sustain equitable economic growth and reduce poverty. Improving water services for the poor and conserving water resources through a participatory approach are at the heart of the policy.