September 16, 2018

The 5th International Water Regulators Forum in Tokyo: a driver for resilience and sustainable development

Event: Tuesday 18 September, 2018, 10:30 – 17:15, Room 101 and Reception Hall B at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan, 17 September 2018. Tomorrow, 82 participants from 36 countries –including jurisdictions as distant as Brazil and Mongolia – are expected at the 5th version of the International Water Regulators Forum that IWA organizes.

Building on previous editions, public officials with regulatory functions from all over the world will gather to address the SDG challenge towards water-related ecosystems and their services (SDG 6.6 and 15.1). How can regulatory authorities enable resilience and sustainable development? They propose the answer includes nature.

The mandate for “universal”, “equitable” and “adequate” access and sustainable supply in SDG6 demands long-term planning and collective actions of diverse and interdependent stakeholders. This is one, if not the most important, of the key principles the Forum outlined already in 2014 and inspired the Lisbon Charter. But making sustainable development for all a reality is crucial understanding the risks under given institutional settings (and capacity) and where accountabilities sit at operational, city and basin levels. Sound information on demand and use, system yields and hydrology are also necessary precondition to any robust planning and reforms, and ultimately, for moving from a contingency approach towards a water security one.

Today, cities like Cape Town –internationally recognized by their efforts in water management, but now struggling with running out of water, the “Day Zero”– remind us that natural systems underpins resiliency for water and wastewater services. They also remind us that “Day Zeros” can be postponed (if not avoided), if we mobilize the necessary actions. If we can look at nature as a source of inspiration and capability, then novel nature-based solutions can be strategically planned and engineered to respond to current and future water problems, in cities and basins.

The Forum of this year will advance the principles of the Lisbon Charter and elaborate in the complexity of including nature when answering the call for sustainable development. Nature-based approaches can involve different layers of government and engage diverse stakeholders in order to fulfill their potential to promote environmental, economic, societal and financial sustainability. During the Forum’s sessions, participants will be challenged to focus on the role of water regulators and regulations to enable the use of nature-based approaches, as to ease investment processes, strengthen governance models, design new business cases, and make the scientific, economic and financial case.

Discussions will conclude engaging policy makers, including interventions of ministerial leaders from Sri Lanka, Malawi, and Malaysia, the South African Parliament, national authorities in Japan, Singapore and Palestine, as well as high level representatives of the industry and private sector with EurEau, Arcadis and The Alliance for Water Stewardship.


About the Forum

IWA is home to the International Water Regulators Forum (IWRF) that gathers regulatory authorities and officials with regulatory and supervisory functions related to the provision of water, sanitation and wastewater management services. The IWRF facilitates dialogue across regulatory functions –e.g. economic, health, environmental regulation– and sectors to enable synergies, peer to peer learning and building new partnerships that facilitate collaboration and inform water-wise policies and regulations. To date, the Forum has successfully gathered in Lisbon 2014 (Lisbon Charter), London 2015, Brisbane 2016, Buenos Aires 2017 and Tokyo 2018, reaching to over 120 regulatory institutions from more than 90 jurisdictions in all continents and becoming a one of a kind global network of regulators that IWA is happy to host.

About the Lisbon Charter

In September 2014, the first IWRF with regulators and practitioners from 55 countries, including the OECD inspired the “Lisbon Charter”, an international framework of good practice for public policy and regulation in drinking water supply, sanitation and wastewater management services that contains clear reference to the rights and responsibilities of the various stakeholders and users. Through five key principles, the Charter provides a framework for transforming water regulation that can be universally applied. To avoid language becoming a barrier, IWA works with its members to prepare translations that reflect the meaning of the Charter across cultures, regions and continents. This year with the support of IWA young professionals, the Japanese version has been launched today in Tokyo, adding to the Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, French, Chinese and Romanian versions. Download the Lisbon Charter here:

The International Water Association is a global knowledge hub for water professionals and anyone concerned about the future of water. It has an over seventy-year heritage connecting water professionals worldwide to find solutions to the world’s water challenges as part of a broader sustainability agenda. As a non-profit organisation with members in more than 130 countries, the IWA connects scientists to practitioners and communities so that pioneering research delivers sustainable solutions. It further fosters technological innovation and drives best practice through international frameworks and standards.

Photo: Launch of Japanese version of the Lisbon Charter, 17 September 2018, in occasion of the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan.

For more information, please contact:

Carolina Latorre,
Ulrike Kelm,