Japan and the United States have been working together to promote sustainable development goals for water management in South East Asia for many years now.
This partnership has been beneficial, and Japan has been implementing water management strategies around Asia through its own cities and partner cities since the 90s.
The partnership between the two nations is worked out through summits, conferences, and idea-trading, leading to more sustainable infrastructure in both countries.
Relief Web reports:
At the global level, the USAID and JICA have executed a cooperative water financing project for the Philippines Water Revolving Fund (PWRF), as a part of the US-Japan Clean Water for People Initiative launched in 2002. Initially, the United States and Japan announced that they would pursue jointly financed water projects in Africa, but none were realized in the end.
However, under both governments’ current strategies for infrastructure development in Asia, the United States and Japan could consider collaboration in sharing water-financing mechanisms in Southeast Asia. At the regional level, the United States has called for closer cooperation in the US-led Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) with its allies including Japan, which aims to work together with the Mekong region to achieve SDGs.
At the local level, Japanese and American subnational governments, as well as the government of Singapore, are leading the way in water and climate issues. Moreover, both the United States and Japan regard the current global water crisis as opportunities for the domestic private sectors and aim to take advantage of the experience gained from overseas water projects to solve domestic challenges.
The emphasis on disaster relief has played a major role in the partnership over the last couple of decades as South East Asia is prone to natural disasters, particularly cyclones, hurricanes, and floods.
An upcoming potential collaboration could take place in Sri Lanka – where the US has assisted in the installation of disaster-resilient infrastructure.
Looking to the future, this partnership between Japan and the US could be very significant for designing new ways to safeguard water infrastructure projects in vulnerable South East Asian countries.
In this, accountability and transparency would be crucial, but if done well, we could see amazing benefits for SE Asia and its water infrastructure management in the years to come.
The application of asset management principles and practices will ensure these water management projects will provide long term sustainable benefits to the communities they serve.