Surabaya, Indonesia - 21 May 2014. Indonesia's Minister of Public Works Djoko Kirmanto opened the Stakeholder Forum for the Indonesia International Water Week in 2015 with a plea to explore innovative approaches to increasing Indonesia's water security in all five key dimensions (household, economic, urban, environmental, and resilience). Among the invited speakers, Wouter T. Lincklaen Arriëns, Leadership Coach at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and TransformationFirst.Asia Pte Ltd prompted the participants to discover investments in leadership development as the least-cost solution to Indonesia's water security challenges, arguing that leaders who have learned to work effectively across boundaries will be able to development partnerships to find and implement the necessary creative solutions more cost-effectively and efficiently.
He recalled how more than 90 percent of the people in Asia and the Pacific live without water security, according to the Asian Water Development Outlook 2013. Indonesia’s water security was rated 2 on a scale of 1 (hazardous) to 5 (model). Indonesia shared that position with 28 other countries, out of the total of 49 countries assessed in the study, which recommended smart policies to increase water security with better water governance.
With its commitment to increasing water security, Indonesia has taken the lead to organize this Stakeholder Forum for Indonesia’s International Water Week by focusing on creative solutions for water management to promote livable and sustainable cities, towns and communities. It seeks to link “areas of interest” that are often still addressed separately, such as “upstream” concerns for conservation and “downstream” needs of consumers.
The need for integration is both a strategic issue for vision and planning, and an operational issue for everyday management and coordination across the many water-related uses and users. Indonesia’s policy and legal framework emphasizes the need for integrated water resources management. In some areas of application, in particular its corporate river basin organizations, Indonesia’s practice can be considered world class and it inspires other countries in Asia. In others, such as urban water and sanitation services, much work lies ahead to reach up to regional benchmarks of good practice and match customer expectations.
Meanwhile, urbanization in Indonesia and Asia continues at a rate that is unprecedented in human history, and climate change introduces unprecedented levels of uncertainty into planning and decision-making, including for managing extreme events and their impacts. Finding creative solutions within the “water box” will therefore not be enough. Leadership is needed at all levels to manage water more creatively to sustain economies, livable cities, and the environment and ecosystems that serve as our green infrastructure, all at the same time.
How to discover the least-cost and most sustainable options and develop creative solutions? First, by focusing on the quality of human resources, and in particular the empowerment of a new generation of water leaders who will confidently work across boundaries to bring synergy between upstream and downstream interests, engineering and other disciplines, the multitude of local governments and, importantly, through collaboration among government, businesses, and civil society organizations, including the academe, NGOs, and youth leaders. Without such leadership, even costly infrastructure projects do not necessarily deliver solutions that are least-cost and sustainable.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works has therefore expressed a keen interest to become a Strategic Partner in the International Water Leadership Program that is being created jointly by UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Nyenrode Business Universiteit, and the International WaterCentre. See www.iwaterleadership.org.