The state of global water resources and the environment is rapidly deteriorating despite international conservation efforts. The situation in the Asian monsoon region and regions in Africa, in particular, has become serious. Many past measures to conserve water resources have been ineffective because of weak governance and lack of capacity to tackle environmental and water-related issues. Adequate knowledge and information is therefore vital in the sound management of water resources, and a number of databases have been developed to share information on water issues. Only a few, however, deal in a unified manner with laws and regulations, how they have been evolving, and cases of policy response as governments strive to cope with water issues. In practice, in order to strengthen governance of the water environment, governmental officers and other stakeholders need to integrate past experiences into new approaches to effectively address water problems. A database including such background information would be an important tool for decision-makers. To this end the objective of the Water Environment Partnership in Asia project (WEPA), proposed by Japan's Ministry of the Environment at the Third World Water Forum in 2003, is to provide a platform to share knowledge and experiences related to the water environment in the Asian monsoon region and to promote good governance in this area by providing important information and past experiences.
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