By Pratch Rujivanarom
This article is being moved with special arrangement with Thailand’s Nation newspaper
BANGKOK (IDN-INPS | The Nation) – Eight countries signed a ministerial declaration in Chiang Mai on November 6 to cooperate on improving irrigation systems among member countries to ensure food and water security.
A high-level advisory group on ‘Partnerships for Agriculture Water Management’ was established by the Chiang Mai Declaration to facilitate improved agricultural water productivity and management. It aims to ensure food security according to sustainable development goals, amid fears of water scarcity caused by climate change.
The Chiang Mai Declaration was signed by eight ministers from the eight countries of Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal and Thailand during the second World Irrigation Forum (WIF2), which was hosted by Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department (RID).
RID deputy director-general Thongplew Khongjun said Thailand was nominated as the leader on irrigation development in Asean, and that ministers from ICID member states that attended WIF2 were interested in learning from Thailand’s irrigation projects and royal projects.
“Thailand has a long history of irrigation works since the Sukhothai era and right now our country has implemented the new royal agricultural theories, which suit the sustainable development goal,” Thongplew said.
“Moreover, Laos has proposed that Thailand be the leader on irrigation development for other Asean member countries, according to our great performance on irrigation work.”
Ministers from four countries visited the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre in Chiang Mai’s Doi Saket district on November 7 to learn about a sustainable water and agriculture project initiated by HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Ministers from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Bhutan and Sudan visited the centre.
After the declaration was signed, Saeed Nairizi, president of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), said the new advisory group would primarily support member countries to achieve sustainable development of agricultural water as threats of climate change loomed.
“Irrigation and drainage are keys to enhancing water security and achieving food security in a world confronted by limited natural resources,” Nairizi said.
“It is clear that there is need for enhanced investment, means of sharing experiences, exchange of best practices and transfer of technologies with focussed attention on more effective and sustainable management of agricultural water.
“The new advisory group will be an action-oriented, multi-stakeholder partnership, which has a goal to support member countries in achieving the sustainable development goal and share experiences in implementation of targets related to agricultural water management, which is key to both water and food security.”
During the visit to Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre, Hassabelnabi Musa Mohamed, Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, said he was delighted to have a chance to learn from the King’s projects.
He said he intended to send engineers from his country to study Thai irrigation works to improve projects in Sudan.
Deputy head of Nepal’s Irrigation Department Bashu Dev Lohanee said Thailand provided very good examples of irrigation development, which could help to deal with problems in Nepal, such as land degradation and the lack of irrigation infrastructure.
Objectives of the ICID
– Establish a high-level advisory group on partnerships for agricultural water management
– Use the partnership to share experiences on sustainable development goal implementation
– Encourage the United Nations system to contribute to the efforts
– Encourage member countries to organise national multi-stakeholder partnership platforms in agricultural water management
– Direct the ICID to establish a task force to provide support to the advisory group. – Source: ICID. [IDN-InDepthNews – 10 November 2016]
Photo: Dignitaries at the 2nd World Irrigation Forum, Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 2016. Credit: Nation
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