Program for Capacity Building in
Global Water-Environmental Engineering
“The first International Symposium on Water Environment” was held on the Korakuen campus of Chuo University in 2013 on March 22, the World Water Day.
Chuo University has been implementing the Program for Capacity Building in Global Water Environmental Engineering since academic year 2010 as part of a project for establishing university network for internationalization (“Campus Asia” for promoting exchange and cooperation among universities), and improving the water environment from an interdisciplinary viewpoint while developing water environment and treatment engineers as highly skilled professionals and increasing exchange with academic organizations in the world.Chuo University has also positioned the Program as an effort for international contribution for an initiative for “promoting sustainability through education (Principle 9)” of the United Nations Academic Impact to make social and international contributions from academia, and has been nurturing highly skilled water environment and treatment engineers.
A total of 117 people participated in the symposium including the researchers playing a leading role in the field of water environment, those concerned with the consortium universities participating in the Program for Capacity Building in Global Water Environmental Engineering, those concerned with the businesses and public organizations related to the Program and the students taking courses in the Program. The symposium aimed at giving presentations and making discussions concerning the scientific and engineering research results for solving national, regional and global water-related issues; and examining measures to adapt to flood disasters under the influence of global warming from a professional viewpoint.
At the start of the symposium, President Tadahiko Fukuhara of Chuo University gave a welcome speech to the participants. President Fukuhara expressed his pleasure in holding the symposium on the memorable World Water Day. He referred to the cherry blossoms that happened to be in full bloom and noted that excellent water environment is essential to beautiful natural cycle. He also hoped that Chuo University would continuously make contributions to the improvement of water environment through the implementation of the Program for Capacity Building in Global Water Environmental Engineering
Then, a video message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was shown. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described that water plays an important role in realizing sustainable development through environmental preservation and the eradication of poverty and hunger, is essential to human health and welfare and is a key to the achievement of millennium development goals (MDGs). It has, however, been worried that little and non-uniform progress has been made in halving the population with no constant access to safe drinking water and basic sanitary facilities. In the meantime, global climate change and other phenomena have been seriously impacting water quality and quantity. The secretary-general suggested that dialogue and cooperation should be strengthened at all levels through the establishment of the International Year of Water Cooperation.
Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, President of Foreign Press Center, Japan and former Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, the United Nations then gave a keynote speech. Mr. Akasaka touched upon the serious condition in which global water environment is placed and described that sustainable development goals (SDGs) are considered for post-MDGs, in which water occupies the most important position. He expressed his hope that Japanese universities with their strength for maintaining water sustainability and improving water environment would take the initiative.
Guest speeches by experts engaged in pioneering work in relation to water issues and presentations by the representatives of consortium universities followed. Lecturers from Japan, the United States, China, Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Thailand presented the current issues and solutions, appropriate water resources management and relevant methods, and other matters using such keywords as sustainable development and disaster risk management.
Japanese speakers, reviewing the Great East Japan Earthquake and reconstruction measures, gave presentations concerning the “need and promotion of water-related international cooperation for reducing disaster risk and the consensus building for building society adaptive to flood disasters based on the river administration issues in Japan”. Lecturers from the United States touched upon such topics as the “methods for identifying the global changes and effects of present and past precipitation and changes in precipitation due to climate change” and “effectiveness of the Watershed Environmental Hydrology Model Coupled with Hydro-Climate Model (WEHY-HCM) that integrates watershed-scale atmospheric and hydrological processes”.
Chinese speakers from the consortium universities presented “changes in water resources and environment in China”, “water issues in the Zhu Jiang (the Pearl River) delta in southern China and the need of comprehensive administration throughout the delta”, “improvement of water supply capacity through appropriate water resources information management”, “hydrological processes and response models under varying environment” and “examples of burdens at non-point rural sources of pollution and corrective measures”.A Korean lecturer from a consortium university gave presentation about the “definitions concerning the responsibility for water management and sustainability from a long-term viewpoint for future generations”. Vietnamese and Thai lecturers gave presentations about the “effectiveness and usability of the results of analysis of large-scale flooding using a two-dimensional FEM model in the Mekong delta” and “community participatory flood management”, respectively.
In the presentations and wrap-up discussions, not only lecturers but also general audience asked numerous questions about the future direction of water management policies, data collection for taking appropriate measures and other matters.The symposium identified various water issues through dialogue and discussions and provided our university with a valuable opportunity to present the results of recent global efforts for solving problems and the importance of preparedness against mega disasters.