The 4th Local and Regional Authorities Conference at the 7th World Water Forum

A Roadmap for the Implementation of Sustainable Water Management Policies by Local Governments


Sustainable water management led by local governments is the key topic of the 4th Local and Regional Authorities Conference held on 13-14 April at the HICO in Gyeongju. Over 250 local government representatives, international organizations and NGO's from 26 countries including Japan, France, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam and China have joined the conference.

Main focus

The Forum was dedicated to four central issues:

  • acknowledging the importance of local government’s role in addressing global water challenges
  • examining the global trend of region-based integrated water policies and projects to strengthen the implementation of sustainable water management and services
  • searching for close cooperation between the national government and local levels to enhance the local government’s competency 
  • monitoring progress against the targets and commitments of the local and regional authorities that have been developed since the Istanbul Water Consensus (IWC)

The Forum identified future targets and outlined measures to enhance integrated water management policy and service provision led by local governments in the context of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that will be adopted in September, 2015. 


Major Achievements

I. Adoption of strategy document ‘Daegu Gyeongbuk Water Action for Sustainable Cities and Regions’

The strategy document calls on the national governments to establish a foundation for the local and regional authorities to be actively involved in the definition and implementation of political strategies of international consensus taken at the national and supra-national level for sustainable water management.

The local and regional strategies are: 

  • To speed up development and implementation of equitable measures that could be carried out in regional units
  • To strengthen the alliance of various tiers of stakeholders in terms of cause and purpose 
  • To reinforce current water-related legislation on principles of equity, transparency founded on the basis of Istanbul Water Consensus and spirit of sustainable development
  • To realize the ‘good governance’, to effectively link water management policy with various areas of city management including the urban planning and development
  • To expand creative awareness-raising campaigns on the value of water and how this limited resource should be treated


II. Launch of the Korea’s Pilot Project ‘Sustainable Watershed Management of Urban Areas’

The pilot project is launched by Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, together with local governments from Korea. It also receives support from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Public Safety and Security and related public corporations.

Aims: to strengthen the collaboration among the central ministries, and between the central and local governments; to expand citizens’ participation and connecting the regional areas with the world at the local and global level.

Participants: Regions covering 21 urban rivers across Korea, including Gyeonggi Province, Busan Metropolitan City, Gyeonsangnam-do, and Chungcheongnam-do. Stakeholders aforementioned, along with citizens, will jointly take part in every step of the project from developing flood prevention plan to the completion of the project. The project will be a pioneering initiative that solidifies the outcomes of the Local and Regional Authorities Process. The project process and accomplishments will be reported at the 8th World Water Forum 2018 in Brazil. 

Significance and expected outcomes: The local and regional authorities that have participated in the 4th LRAs conference described the project as “a creative and collaborative implementation project established on the foundation of participation of various stakeholders” and expressed their expectation that “it will encourage and promote more implementation projects around the world”. 

Background of the Local and Regional Process


Now in its fourth year, the Local and Regional Process was introduced at the 4th World Water Forum (Mexico City, 2006) as the official conference of the Political Process. The Local and Regional Authorities Conference is designed for local and regional governments to identify the water challenges they face and share their experiences, solutions and achievements in addressing these water issues.

The Process acknowledges the key role of LRAs in water management:

  • LRAs is the level of governance closest to citizens, they must provide public service that ensures citizens’ safety and quality of living, including identifying water related issues and managing them in integrated and sustainable means
  • LRAs is the main agent that carries out urban water management policy and water governance with the participation of various stakeholders. With migration and rapid urbanization, sustainable and integrated urban city water management has become more important than ever. The international community is focusing on the policy competency of the local government in this regard.

The Local and Regional Authorities Process is jointly organized by the ICLEI, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), UN-HABITAT/Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance(GWOPA), World Water Council (WWC), Daegu Gyeongbuk Development Institute, and National Committee of 7th World Water Forum.

Session Highlights

The 4th Local and Regional Authorities Conference opens at Gyeongju during the 7th World Water Forum

The 4th Local and Regional Authorities Conference, held under the title of “Toward a Roadmap for implementation”, opens today at Gyeongju, South Korea during the 7th World Water Forum. [Read more]

Host Cities of the 7th World Water Forum shared local challenges and successes

The host cities of the 7th World Water Forum: Daegu and Gyeongbukdo, shared the water actions in their cities on the first day of the 4th Local Governments and Regional Authorities Conference. [Read more]

Cities showcase water actions in response to urbanization and climate change

Chaired by Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Founding Director of ICLEI East Asia Secretariat and Chairman of ICLEI Urban Agendas, the session on water, urbanization and climate change on 14 April during the 7th World Water Forum saw the experience sharing from cities from Japan and Korea. [Read more]

Successful water management case studies from cities show water as an enabler of nature and man

Cities from Japan, Korea and Slovakia shared their case studies in enhancing water quality, treating waste water and improving the overall condition of the ecosystem through water management during the breakout session chaired by Martin Brennan, Director of ICLEI Oceania, on the second day of the 4th Local Governments and Regional Authorities Conference at the 7th World Water Forum. 
[Read more]

The 4th LRAs Conference concluded with the adoption of ‘Daegu-Gyeongbuk Water Action for Sustainable Cities and Region’ and the endorsement of the ‘Korea Initiative’

At the high-level panel on the second day of the 4th Local and Regional authorities Conference, experts and cities reiterated the value of water as an essential resource for wellbeing of mankind, and that local and regional authorities (LRAs) are important partners for water management. [Read more]

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