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Commentary

A movement’s vision, mission

On Dec. 27, leaders from various groups met to discuss the vision and mission of the Movement for Water Security (MWS). Two of them were the pioneering nongovernment organizations that form part of the legislative executive-private sector steering committee President Duterte created for the National Water Roadmap and Summit. They are the Agri Fisheries Alliance (AFA) and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

The other committee members are from Congress and six departments: DA, DENR, DPWH, DILG, Neda and the Office of the Executive Secretary.

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Though progress has been made, some critical recommendations from seven water subsector presummits held nationwide have not been acted upon. This is because the national summit was postponed twice. It is now scheduled for the water month of March this year.

To improve the delayed water initiative implementation, the AFA and PCCI have decided that a broader private sector initiative is needed.

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The Dec. 27 meeting started with the concept of water security. UN-Water defines this as ” the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods , human well-being, and socioeconomic development.”

Three elements from this should be included in the draft MWS vision: “a nation where the quality of water is ensured, the quantity of water managed, and competent water governance provided.”

The first is quality. A majority of the 73 people who die daily from water-related causes is due to poor quality. Water.org reports that nine million Filipinos have no access to safe water. Unesco states: “Intestinal worm infestation in the Philippines goes up to 67 percent, higher than most countries in Southeast Asia. ”

The second element is quantity. There is water nowhere and everywhere.

Nowhere, because much of this water is no longer available from our 5.7 million hectares of denuded forest.Our water harvesting is only 4 percent, compared to India’s 60 percent in certain areas. During droughts, we do not have enough water for daily personal needs and agriculture for food security. Irrigation water is often not provided efficiently.

Everywhere, because the 300,000 lost mangroves and the denuded forests are main causes of damaging floods. An example is the report that 20 of Lope De Vega’s 22 villages are now under water due to Usman.

The third is governance. Our 34 government water-related agencies are not coordinated. They should have a united approach , which should include private sector participation.

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To fulfill this vision, a draft MSW mission should include increasing and synergizing water initiatives of the business sector and civil society, and add working closely with government.

First step is for each NGO to list all its water Initiatives and rationalize them to achieve synergy and strategic direction. The NGOs can then discuss common areas of interest, fill in gaps, decrease overlaps, and formulate a coordinated water strategic plan for a given area.

For example, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines can get support from business organizations. They can discuss with farmer and indigeneous people organizations the best ways to do reforestation. It can then coordinate with and help from government.

This is best done in a local setting. Consultations should be done with the priority 18 Multisector River Basin Management Councils. They already have water master plans.

With a clear MWS vision and mission, specific objectives can be formulated with the appropriate key result areas done on the local level.

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TAGS: mission, Movement for Water Security (MWS), Vision
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