Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)
Fifth Dialogue on Environmental Education:
"Education on Water and Sanitation Issues"
2 -3 October 2008
Otsu, Shiga, Japan
On 2-3 October, the Fifth Dialogue on Environmental Education, Japan's prime mover project within the framework of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), was held in Otsu, Japan, on the theme "Education on Water and Sanitation Issues." Co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Shiga Prefecture, and United Nations Environment Programme/International Environment Technology Centre (UNEP/IETC), the dialogue took place in two parts. On the first day, there were site visits to the relevant facilities and institutions in Shiga Prefecture; on the second, there was a workshop, which attracted some 60 attendees, including 32 participants from 17 ACD countries and one international organization.
On 2 October, participants visited the following Shiga Prefecture water and sanitation facilities and institutions: the Konanchubu Purification Centre, Shiga Prefectural Science Museum of Water Environment, UNEP/IETC Shiga Office, International Lake Environment Centre, Lake Biwa Museum, and the elementary and junior high schools attached to Shiga University, Faculty of Education.
On 3 October, a two-part workshop on "Education on Water and Sanitation Issues" was conducted at the Piazza Omi in Otsu, Shiga. At the opening session, following the welcome remarks by Mr. Hiroshi Oe, Deputy Director-General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, there were speeches by Dr. Yukiko Kada, Governor of Shiga Prefecture, and Mr. Osamu Uno, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Financial Services and Administrative Reform. Session 1, entitled "Introducing each country's measures and activities on water and sanitation issues," began with a presentation by Japan on the efforts and initiatives that had been undertaken at both the central and local governmental levels. Participants from China, Cambodia and Tajikistan then presented their countries' efforts. Session 2, entitled "Challenges and cooperation on water and sanitation education," began with a presentation on the efforts and initiatives undertaken by the Government of Japan and the Lake Biwa Museum. Following UNEP/IETC's presentation, participants from the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Bangladesh then presented their countries' efforts. Having shared information on the efforts and initiatives they had undertaken in the water and sanitation sector as well as environmental education on water and sanitation, participants engaged in a discussion of ways and means of promoting effective environmental education on water and sanitation, which was moderated by Prof. Munetsugu Kawashima, Shiga University.
At the conclusion of the workshop, the Chair, Ms. Kikuko Kato, Principal Deputy Director of the Global Environment Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, summarized the discussion as follows:
- recognized that it was important to share experiences, good practices, and know-how in education relating to water and sanitation;
- also recognized that, for the purpose of effective environmental education on water and sanitation issues, it was essential to have education that gave due consideration to local needs, and to have a "participatory approach" involving all stakeholders;
- shared the view that there was a need for a national programme on water and sanitation education;
- also shared the view that necessary financial resources should be provided;
- recognized that there was a need not only for financial resources but also for facilitators or teachers who promoted environmental education on water and sanitation in an appropriate manner;
- also recognized that there was a need for training for those facilitators as well as cooperation among relevant educational institutions;
- acknowledged that public-private partnerships were needed for there to be effective environmental education on water and sanitation;
- recognized that media could be utilized for effective public information services;
- shared the view that environmental education should be integrated into basic or regular education programmes;
- shared the view that non-school education facilities such as museums and learning-centres were also useful in providing the public with relevant information in water and sanitation sector as well as environment; and
- also shared the view that environmental education should be provided not only to school children, but also to adults and senior generations.
The Chair also announced that it was her intention to follow up this year's dialogue by sending participants questionnaires in several months' time, as had been done this year, with a view to conducting a more effective and useful environmental dialogue within the framework of ACD in the years to come.
The Chair concluded this year's dialogue by thanking all participants and co-organizers for their cooperation and announcing that the successful outcome would be reported to ACD Foreign Ministers at their meeting on 16 October 2008 in Kazakhstan.
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