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Water Policy
ADB remains optimistic about the region’s water future despite significant challenges

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) views water management as a crucial challenge for the Asia and Pacific region, where more than 600 million people lack access to safe drinking water and nearly 2 billion people have inadequate, or no, sanitation facilities. Strong global economicgrowth, population pressures, and increased urbanization have combined to sharply increase water use, while pollution and climate change pose rising threats. In 2001, ADB outlined its vision for water management in the region in its “Water for All” policy. It recognizes that as a resource, water must be managed to meet needs without causing conflict, or stressing natural resources. As a service,people must have access to safe and reliable supplies. ADB also recognizes that sustainability of the resource is key, and that this can best be met by the active involvement of people at all levels—national and local government, civil society groups, and communities. In its 2007 Asian Water Development Outlook report, ADB notes that while worldwide competition for water is increasing and climatechange is creating a new level of uncertainty in planning, there is sufficient technology and expertise in the region to solve both existing and future water problems. However, managing the precious resource will require strong political will and recognition that water management is intimately linked to policies on energy, food, the environment, and the industrial sector.

Partnership BuildingEstablishing and strengthening partnerships helps to broaden stakeholder participation and catalyze water reform activities. In its day‑to‑day operations, ADB works with civil society groups across the region on both resource management and service delivery projects. Networking among ADB water professionals and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) specializing in water issues, such as Global WaterPartnership (GWP), Gender in Water Alliance, and Water Aid, helps ensure that ADB’s approach is current, relevant, sensitive to community circumstances, and practical. In its Water Operators Partnership Program, ADB provides a platform for cooperation among water operators and utilities that is designed to improve their capabilities and financial viability, attract private sector investment, and,ultimately, free up government resources for other projects. The Program also targets the creation of regional water utility networks geared toward promoting knowledge exchange and performance efficiencies. Under the Water for Asian Cities program, launched in 2003, ADB and UN‑Habitat have partnered to provide financing and to catalyze investments to improve water supply and sanitation services to theurban poor in Asia. The first phase of the partnership, from 2003– 2006, exceeded its grant financing target of $5 million each, and in 2007, ADB and UN‑Habitat agreed to continue their collaboration and double the amount of financing they provide.

ADB’s approach to water supply and management is current, relevant, sensitive to community circumstances, and practical

Innovative andcooperative financing efforts are crucial for the success of water projects

The Water Summit
The 1 Asia–Pacific Water Summit was held in Japan in December 2007 and brought together leaders from government, private sector, and civil society. ADB was one of the key organizers. At the end of the Summit, the participants agreed to increase their investments in water and sanitation. They also agreed toestablish knowledge hubs on increasingly important water concerns, including disaster management, climate change, and integrated water resources management. The Summit was an initiative of the Asia Pacific Water forum—launched in 2006—with ADB playing a significant role as lead convener for water financing and for increasing public outreach. This multistakeholder forum is a network that aims to...
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