Today 21 April 2022 the 19th meeting of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) was held in Kumamoto, Japan on the eve of the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Han Seung-Soo, Head of HELP, former Prime Minister of South Korea, and aimed to discuss the progress of initiatives under the HELP platform, as well as plans and actions of this platform in global water events, including the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit, UNDRR Global Platform, Second Dushanbe Water Decade Conference, High Political Forum in New York, COP-27 in Egypt and etc.

The meeting was attended by H.E. Dr. Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of Public Works and Housing, Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Kingdom of the Netherlands (video message), Dr. Armida Salsiah, Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General, and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Mr. Woochong Um, Managing Director General, Asian Development Bank, Mr. Loic Fauchon, President, World Water Council and other high-ranking officials.

Dr. Han Seung-Soo in his speech noted the importance and timeliness of the UN 2023 Water Conference and the significant role of the Second Dushanbe Conference in its preparation. He emphasized HELP’s willingness to work closely with the organizers of these conferences to achieve their goals. In this context, he noted the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction issues into the agenda of these conferences, since more than 80% of natural disasters are somehow related to water resources.

At this meeting, Mr. Sulton Rahimzoda, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan to the High-Level Panel on Water and Climate Issues, made a presentation on the 2nd Dushanbe Water Decade Conference and on the preparations for the UN 2023 Water Conference.

At the end of the presentation, an exchange of views took place on how the issues of disaster risk reduction could be interconnected with the water theme and what commitments could be made collectively or individually by the members of HELP on the way to the UN 2023 Water Conference, considering its focus on stimulating and accelerating actions.

The participants of the meeting were invited to participate in the Dushanbe conference, as well as to be more actively involved in the preparatory process of the UN 2023 Water Conference, co-chaired by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.