The International River Summit (IRS) is a biennial multi-partner national initiative spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and the host City. It serves as a venue for leading experts, scientists, policy makers, river administrators, indigenous communities, support groups, people’s organizations and practitioners to identify opportunities, problems and best practices towards effectively managing rivers.
The IRS traces its first initiative in Iloilo City when local officials led by Mayor Jed Mabilog and Senator Franklin Drilon organized the summit last May 30-June 01, 2012, with the support of the DENR. With the theme “My River, My Life”, it convened at least 1,500 both foreign and national delegates, the biggest delegation of river stakeholders. At the end of the summit, participants manifested their commitment through a document dubbed as the “Iloilo Declaration”, which calls for bigger investment on river systems that have already been degraded by climate change and rapid urbanization.
The 2nd International River Summit was hosted by Marikina City last 19-21 November 2014 with the theme “Reviving Rivers, Rebuilding Civilization”. The summit featured paper presentations, fora, exhibits, and learning tours. Like the Iloilo IRS, the 2nd IRS came out with a “Marikina Declaration”.
- Highlights of the 3rd International River Summit
The 3rd International River Summit was held on 24-26 November 2016 at the Pryce Hotel with the theme “Healthy Watersheds – Clean Rivers – Safer Communities”. It consisted of plenary discussions and thematic breakout sessions on specific river management issues. Plenary sessions were held in the morning, while Thematic Breakout sessions were conducted in the afternoon. There were also learning tours organized for interested participants. A parallel exhibit showcasing efforts and best practices, as well as bazaars were put up.
The Summit has produced the Cagayan de Oro Accord which contains the values, principles as well as recommendations and action points which were summarized as follows:
- Forge partnerships among stakeholders in the planning and implementation of Integrated Water Resource Management;
- Create a “Center of Excellence” on Integrated Water Resource Management;
- Formulate guidelines on Integrated Water Resource Management;
- Develop “Watershed Monitoring Platforms” to boost public appreciation and participation;
- Undertake studies to assess the impact of agricultural practices on the river basins;
- Use different modalities of “Payment for Environmental Services” to generate funding for the rehabilitation and protection of watershed forest areas;
- Explore pioneering fields on PES or rewards for ecosystems services which also resonates to indigenous community watershed management efforts and biodiversity conservation initiatives;
- Establish flood forecasting and warning system in every major river basin in the country for preventive measures and reduce disastrous effects of flooding;
- Collaborate among multi-sectors in particular urban sector and private sector, LGUs and government agencies for effective flood management;
- Develop or enhance software measures(internet/mobile phone) for easy access of information of the public during flooding; and
- Conduct studies on flood risk assessment especially in flood prone areas.
Around 800 delegates from Government Agencies, Academe, Local Government Units (LGUs), Business/Private Sector, International Partners, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Professional Organizations participated in the Summit.
Undersecretary Demetrio L. Ignacio, Jr. represented Secretary Regina L. Lopez, as the Guest of Honor, during the Summit’s Closing Ceremonies. Likewise, Mandaue City was named the host for the 2018 IRS.
What makes the 3rd IRS different from the other two (2) IRS is that the local organizing committee for the IRS is composed of NGOs, POs, government organizations and the host local government unit (Cagayan de Oro City LGU). The Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC), chaired by Archbishop Ledesma and CDO Mayor Oscar Moreno, led the preparation of the 3rd IRS. The CDORBMC is a multi-sectoral body organized by different stakeholders to coordinate, manage and supervise the collaborative efforts to protect, conserve and rehabilitate the Cagayan de Oro river basin.
The Philippine Water Partnership handled two (2) Thematic Breakout Sessions. It spearheaded Thematic Session 5: “Partnership, Community Empowerment and Governance” and co-managed with the DENR-River Basin Control Office (RBCO) in Thematic Session 1: “Implementing Integrated Water Resource Management: Approaches and Challenges”
Thematic Session 5 was attended by around 150 delegates in one of the ballrooms of the hotel. The speakers were from the Cambodia National Mekong Committee / Global Water Partnership, River Care Programme, Global Environment Centre, Maynilad, Manila Water and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC). Moderators for this thematic session were RBCO Deputy Executive Director Donna Gordove and Ms. Yolanda Gomez of PWP.
Speakers for the Thematic Session 1 were from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Japan (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism). The session was attended by around 105 delegates. RBCO Deputy Executive Director Gordove and Engr. Rodora Gamboa of PWP chaired and co-chaired the event, respectively.
3rd International River Summit
Break-out / Thematic Session on:
“Partnership, Community Empowerment and Governance”
November 25, 2016
|Welcome Remarks and Introduction to the Session||Atty. Nathaniel C. Santos Chairman, Philippine Water Partnership (PWP) and Senior Deputy Administrator, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)|
|Perspectives and Approaches in River Basin Governance in general and with a Case from Mekong River Countries – Challenges||H. E. Watt Botkosal Deputy Secretary-General of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee and Chair, Global Water Partnership-Southeast Asia|
|River Management through Local Community Empowerment – a success story||Dr. Kalithasan Kailasam Coordinator River Care Programme Global Environment Centre|
|Question and Answer||Facilitator|
|Service Beyond Water – Maynilad as a Partner in Nation-Building||Ms. Abigail L. Ho AVP – Head, Advocacy and Marketing Commercial and Marketing Maynilad Water Services, Inc.|
|“Toka Toka” Environmental Advocacy: Bringing Back the Glory of Rivers Through Community Engagement and Partnership||Mr. Jeric T. Sevilla, Jr. Head, Corporate Strategic Affairs Manila Water Company, Inc.|
|Convergence: Key in the Rehabilitation and Development of the Pasig River System||Executive Director Ramil R. Tan Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC)|