President Rodrigo Duterte has called for a “bolder vision” and “urgent action” to solve water-related issues in the Asia-Pacific region, saying developing countries like the Philippines still face challenges to ensure people’s universal access to safe, affordable and accessible water.
In a video message during the heads of states and government meeting at the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Kumamoto City on Saturday, Duterte said countries in Asia-Pacific and its partners must forge “a strong alliance” to address water woes in the region.
“Excellencies, now is the time for bolder vision and urgent action. We need to decide wisely for ourselves and for future generations,” Duterte said.
Citing the Philippines’ case, he said there remains an “enormous challenge” to ensure enough supply of drinking water despite the abundance of water in the country.
“This requires an urgent sense of community action in the region, an integrated and coherent policy and the resolve to create opportunities for investment and collaboration for technological solutions,” he told the participants of the water summit.
He suggested several other measures to address challenges such as creating a robust regime for sustainable water management, using the best available science in water resource generation and climate resilient infrastructure, and securing sustainable forest protection and watershed management.
Regional experts for technology development and transfer, he said, must also collaborate, and countries must promote transboundary benefits for the common people’s development towards 2050 and beyond.
He said solutions to water-related issues must come from government and non-government stakeholders alike.
Duterte said access to water and its related services is rightly considered a basic human right, since it is a resource so vital for humans and ecosystems for survival and sustenance.
Meanwhile, Duterte commended the Japanese government for the continued initiative in successfully organizing the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit.
Introducing the President during the leaders’ meeting, Climate Change Commission Secretary Robert E. A. Borje said central to the Philippines’s position in climate change mitigation and adaptation is climate justice.
“To the least responsible, to those with the least resources, to those most exposed, we need to do more,” Borje said.
Borje also expressed the Philippines’s solidarity with all nations, which had to deal with water-related disasters brought about by climate change drivers.
Last week, Duterte in his Talk to the People program said developed countries must compensate developing nations suffering from the impacts of climate change.