Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services

Role of information platform for integrated lake basin management (ILBM) in Asia: Lessons and pathways for SDGs
Workshop at the World Lake Conference 2018 Ibaraki

IGES, in collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TokyoTech) and Institute of Technology Cambodia (ITC), and with support from JST and JICA-funded SATREPS project “"Establishment of Environmental Conservation Platform of Tonle Sap Lake" organised a workshop at the 17th World Lake Conference in Ibaraki, Japan on 16 October 2018.
The workshop discussed the needs and modality of an information platform from the viewpoint of the Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) process and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the experiences of three major lakes in Asia: Lake Biwa in Japan, Laguna Lake in the Philippines, and Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia.
A high-level gathering of distinguished experts shared their experiences in the platform presentation followed by a panel discussion.

Prof. Masahisa Nakamura, Chairman of the International Lake Environment Commission Federation (ILEC) Scientific Committee, presented the ILBM process at Lake Biwa by revisiting the historical context of the 1896 floods and subsequent measures to prevent flooding in downstream Osaka, and a shift towards water supply and adoption of Lake Biwa Comprehensive Development project.

Ms. Jocelyn G. Siapno from the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) mentioned that LLDA is the only lake-basin management authority in the Philippines. The lake is under extreme stress from key sectors, such as fisheries, and the LLDA has come up with flagship programmes to address the environmental threats by maintaining good partnerships with local government officials and adopting the principles of ILBM for integrated management of 24 sub-basins feeding into the lake.

His Excellency Hel Tony General Secretary of Tonle Sap Authority (TSA) mentioned protection of the lake, poverty reduction in the lake-basin, and coordination of a multitude of projects in the lake-basin as the three main reasons for the establishment of TSA. Despite spending massive amounts of funds and resources on different projects and activities through multiple channels and sectors, the situation around the TSL basin could not improve. TSA intends to coordinate all development and conservation activities related to TSL. More than 30 government agencies at national and sub-national level are members of TSA.

Following these presentations, Prof. Hironori Hamanaka, Special Research Advisor and Former Chair of the Board of Directors, IGES/ Advisor and Former Director General of ILEC, moderated a panel discussion in three rounds:

  • 1) Current information gaps for implementing ILBM and bridging science-policy interface;
  • 2) Information platform’s structure and functionality and role of stakeholders as contributors and users of the information platform; and
  • 3) Implications for SDGs in terms of co-achieving SDGs through ILBM and use of information platform for tracking and updating progress on SDGs.

ILBM is a process to improve the governance of the lake basins and should not be viewed as a one-shot goal. The government plays a significant role and offers dynamism in the broader national level policy process, such as investment in infrastructure, including sewers and wastewater management around Lake Biwa, and the establishment of research institutes for the conservation of the lake could play a detrimental role in progressing ILBM. LLDA and TSA stressed the need to communicate the research findings for the benefit of stakeholders. In the meantime, Prof. Chihiro Yoshimura emphasised that research and generation of information should be guided by stakeholders’ needs and their future vision on the lake basin. Information should be accessible, easy to integrate and interpretable. More efforts are required in these three areas. While stakeholders can be both providers and users of information, there should be a strong linkage between activities by stakeholders and government policies/plans.
Development of user-friendly guidelines and tools can help stakeholders to replicate the methods and generate scientific information for own use and sharing.

While discussing complementarity between ILBM, SDGs and the information platform, we should always keep in mind the historical context of institutional development and its capacity to deal with multiple challenges. We need to approach the scope of the information platform and ILBM from a broader policy context. Similarly, SDGs are not enough to describe the function of the lake because of its broader scope (national or global). It is not always necessary to align ILBM with SDGs because there is a considerable time lag between necessary and sufficient conditions in the ILBM process. Instead, SDGs are symbolic and should be assessed in retrospect to see the impacts of ILBM process and identify what could be done further. On the selection of indicators, we need to consider three characteristics: stress reduction, enabling environment, and the state of the environment. The first two indicators are easy to pursue while there is a considerable time lag to see an improvement on the third one. Providing synergistic inputs for the implementation of ILBM, SDGs and conservation of the lake environment is one of the most exciting aspects of the information platform.

In his concluding remarks, Prof. Hamanaka summed up the discussion by emphasising the need for further discussion on the types of information to be shared, how the information should be used, stakeholder involvement, and necessary institutional setup. In addition, political and economic dynamism could also play a decisive role in addressing important questions. Localising SDGs in a different context is another significant question to consider.

Date 16 Oct 2018 (Tue)
Venue Conference Room 303 at Tsukuba International Congress Center Access
Organisers SATREPS project (Establishment of Environmental Conservation Platform of Tonle Sap Lake)
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Institute of Technology Cambodia
Language English
Fee Free for registered conference participants
Related Link http://www.wlc17ibaraki.jp/en/
Programme PDF(104KB)

MC: Dr. Rajendra Khanal, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Programme
Welcome Remarks
Prof. Chihiro Yoshimura, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Leader of the SATREPS project
Framing Presentation
Dr. Binaya Raj Shivakoti, Senior Water and Adaptation Specialist, IGES
Panel Presentation
A Case of the Lake Biwa Story, Japan
Prof. Masahisa Nakamura, Chairman International Lake Environment Commission Federation (ILEC) Scientific Committee/ Professor at Center for Sustainability and Environment, Shiga University/ Former Director of Lake Biwa Research Institute (LBRI)
The Legacy of Laguna Lake Development Authority, the Philippines
Ms. Jocelyn G. Siapno, Project Development Officer, Lake Laguna Development Authority (LLDA)
Establishment of the Tonle Sap Authority and its Impacts, Cambodia
His Excellency Hel Tony, Secretary General, Tonle Sap Authority (TSA)
Panel discussion
Chair: Prof. Hironori Hamanaka, Special Research Advisor and Former Chair of the Board of Directors, IGES/ Advisor and Former Director, ILEC
Panels
  • 1) Prof. Masahisa Nakamura, Chairman ILEC Scientific Committee/ Professor at Center for Sustainability and Environment, Shiga University/ Former Director of LBRI
  • 2) Engr. Jocelyn G. Sta. Ana - Chief of Environmental Laboratory and Research Division, LLDA
  • 3) His Excellency Hel Tony, Secretary General, TSA
  • 4) Prof. Chihiro Yoshimura, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Leader of the SATREPS project
Discussion
  • Round 1: Information gaps
  • Round 2: Structure and function of information platform and role of stakeholders
  • Round 3: Implications for SDGs
Photos

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