How can young Japanese researchers and professionals contribute toward tackling global water challenges? On July 22, 2018, World Bank professionals, Toru Konishi, Senior Water Economist from Water Global Practice and Shoko Takemoto, Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist from Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) Tokyo DRM Hub, were invited to participate in a Discussion Session on “Water Policy, Business, and Research” organized by Japan Society for Hydrology and Water Resources’ Youth Division, which was held as part of the Society’s 30th Anniversary events.
The event was held at the University of Tokyo, where presenters from the private sector, international development agencies, and academia provided an overview of key themes related to water from their respective work, followed by interactive group discussion sessions to spark new ideas on how to collaborate across private, public and academia in the water sector. Mr. Takashi Yamamoto from Mizuho Information and Research Institute, Inc. presented water issues related to private firms particularly from the perspective of Environment, Society, and Governance (ESG) investments. Dr. Toru Konishi from the World Bank Group (WBG) shared the WBG’s efforts towards operationalizing water security around the world, drawing upon his own professional experiences working on water resource management in the Mekong Delta, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Dr. Dai Yamazaki from the University of Tokyo presented his cutting-edge research on Global Hydrodynamic Modeling, including his future plans and visions for partnering with private and public-sector stakeholders around the world to apply his research to helping find practical water management solutions on the ground.
Dr. Konishi’ s presentation was concluded with the following message for the young discussion participants.
“There is no “recipe” for development. That’s why it’s important to work with diverse, multidisciplinary teams to understand and find solutions that suit the unique context of each water-related issue. And for this, strong partnerships between private, public, academia, and international institutions including the WBG is critical. In tackling emerging topics such as climate change, integrated water resource management, dam safety, transboundary water, and water borne disaster risk management and resilience, these partnerships are even more important. But above all, the key ingredient for tackling complex water challenges is the passion toward your respective work and research, and water is certainly an incredibly exciting field in which I hope that we all can continue to work together.”