Korea Water Resources Corporation; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Korea and World Water Council
Asian Development Bank; International Union for Conservation of Nature and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
The green growth initiative aims to effectively implement climate change adaptation and thereby contribute to sustainable development. Water, as an essential resource to life, is the most crucial element we need for green growth. Understandably, recent findings show that effective water management plays a key role in fostering the processes of achieving it. The Government of Korea, as one of the first countries to initiate the discussions on the topics of green growth, embarked on a collaborative research project “Water and Green Growth” with the World Water Council.
The main objective of the research is to create policy instruments that strengthen the role of water in realizing green growth. The seminar will focus on how to create synergies among the many organizations which seek solutions to strengthen the role of water resource management for the successful implementation of green growth. The OECD, ADB and IUCN will share their learning on the context of the following topics: water allocation for implementing green growth, water security and green growth, and ecosystem services for green growth.
14:00 Welcoming Address. Prof. Benedito Braga, WWC
14:05 Welcoming Address. Prof. Soontak Lee, 7th World Water Forum International Steering Committee, Republic of Korea
14:10 Water and Green Growth in Korea. Dr. Kyung-Jin Min, K-water, Republic of Korea
14:30 Water Allocation for the Implementation of Green Growth. Dr. Xavier Leflaive, OECD
14:50 Smart Solutions for Water Security and Green Growth. Dr. Thomas Panella, ADB
15:10 Ecosystem Services for Green Growth. Dr. Mark Smith, IUCN
15:30 Coffee Break
16:00 Panel Discussion
Moderator: Ms. Karin Krchnak, WWF
17:20 Closing Remarks. Prof. Dogan Altinbilek, WWC
17:25 Closing Remarks. Dr. Sung Joon Lee, National Committee for the 2015 World Water Forum Korea
The seminar highlighted ongoing work on water and green growth. Dr. Kyung-Jin Min presented an overview of current trends in water and green growth, making reference to work by major organizations including the OECD, the World Bank, and UNEP and the G20 and World Economic Forum agendas. He put forward an institutional approach and summarized a case study of water quality improvement in Lake Sihwa in Korea with economic and social benefits. The key messages from this presentation were that green growth is possible in practice and that a context-based policy mix and stakeholder participation are important for green growth and harmonious development.
Next, Dr. Xavier Leflaive gave the OECD’s perspective on how water policy, and water allocation especially, should be reformed so that it contributes to green growth. He noted that a reformed policy framework needs to include a green growth strategy that encompasses appropriate design and choice of infrastructure, institutions that facilitate efficient allocation regimes and water-related innovation, and robust data. This is all the more pressing in light of the OECD’s projection that water demand will increase by 55% by 2050, intensifying competition for the resource. Other challenges, including uncertainty, degrading water quality, and decreasing availability of public funds and lack of response from private investors for water infrastructure and green infrastructure, will also require adaptation. Well-designed allocation regimes can adapt to these changes, even spurring innovation and investment. Means of allocation include market, pricing, and administrative tools, each with their own advantages and challenges, and the OECD is currently undertaking an inventory of how OECD countries allocate water in order to develop recommendations for effective allocation regimes for green growth.
Dr. Thomas Panella presented ADB’s work on water security and its relation to green growth. Comprising five dimensions—household, economic, urban, and environmental water security and resilience to water-related disasters—ADB’s national water security index (WSI) shows that most countries in the Asia-Pacific face appreciable water security challenges. This tool was used to analyze how variables such as water resources per capita and growth rates influence water security across its various dimensions, with results suggesting that high growth developing economies face water security challenges across the urban, water disaster resilience, and especially household dimensions. With regard to the relationship between water security and green growth, Dr. Panella pointed out their complementarity in that both concepts seek a balance among economic, environmental, and social considerations but that green growth is often viewed as a “strategy and process … where water security can provide an output-based measure” of how well green growth objectives are being met. Thus, these two concepts can work together, with continuous improvement on the WSI providing a multi-dimensional approach to suggest appropriate water security and green growth policies.
Dr. Mark Smith spoke of green growth as an opportunity to think differently about nature for growth strategies and conservation benefits. Referring to the African Union’s NEPAD growth corridor strategies and the AfDB’s green growth strategies, he expressed the need for the two to converge to avoid social and economic costs stemming from the former outpacing the latter. He then made the point that ecosystem services offer practical benefits for water and green growth. First, as demonstrated in IUCN’s experiences in northern Nigeria, ecosystems, along with investment and appropriate governance and institutions, are an essential part of building water security. Secondly, ecosystems can have direct benefits for mobilizing growth strategies, especially when treated as natural infrastructure. For example, lakes, rivers, and wetlands function as reservoirs, canals, and filtration plants. This implies that ecosystem services can be valued, that investment in ecosystems can recover costs through the services they provide, and that they can be combined with built infrastructure for an optimized infrastructure portfolio for water and green growth.
Following the four main presentations, the panel discussants spoke about the related work of their organizations. Dr. Thomas Chiramba of UNEP highlighted UNEP’s Green Economy report and emphasized the importance of water quality and of valuing ecosystem services. Dr. Akissa Bahri of the African Water Facility (AWF) and the AfDB presented the AfDB’s green growth approach as well as some cases in Africa. Professor Lawrence of SOAS, University of London addressed catchment management toward green growth with reference to the English context. Mr. Hervé Lévite of the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) of the World Bank presented CMI’s case for green growth in the Mediterranean region with reference to the 2012 MED Report.