The 4th ASEM Seminar Dialogue has emphasized the need to rethink the role of cities as drivers of change towards sustainable development. Such a role matters even more, when cities get twinned. City twinning is a long-term cooperation and catalyzes synergies for innovative ideas and practices. This first session will reveal the context, that called for twinning of cities from Asia and Europe, as well as some of their results and projects. Prospects for further twinning of cities in Bulgaria and Lao will be outlined, as well.Keynote speaker: - Mr. Dorin-Mihai Palaghiciuc, PhD, European External Action Service, Desk Officer in Charge of Bangladesh: "Europe- Asia Cooperation on Water: the Way Forward"
Panel speakers - Mr. Marian Tudor, PhD, General Director of Danube Delta National Institute, Tulcea County Council, Romania "Steps towards Practical Common Projects between Ben Tre Province (Vietnam) and Tulcea County (Romania): Development of Ben Tre Knowledge Center and Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary)" - Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Oanh , Ambassador of Vietnam - Mr. Strahil Karapchanski, PhD, Deputy Mayor on European Development, Ruse, Bulgaria "Ruse and Giurgiu – Shared Development Perspectives across Water Borders through Masterplanning; Ruse and Can Tho with a Common Vision on Cooperation" - Mr. Heaunchay Sangsomsak, LAO PDR "Presenting the City of Pakse"
ModeratorMr. Angel Orbetsov, Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ASEM Senior Official for Bulgaria
2. Water-Energy-Food Nexus as a Driver of Green Growth and as a Policy Response to Climate Change
Nexus thinking is a challenge to the one-sector governance of each of the three strategic resources. Therefore, this seminar session will emphasize the multi-sectoral approach. Being a globally recognized innovative policy tool, the nexus brings together environmental protection, economic efficiency and social equity, and thus refers to the green growth challenge as a technological experimentation. On the other hand, the nexus approach considers the negative impact of human activity, which aims to provide water, energy and food and calls for creative policy responses to climate change.
Key note speakersIntroductory video by UNESCO on the water cycle
ModeratorMrs. Emiliya Kraeva, Head of International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Environment and Water, Bulgaria
Cultural programme:"On the Beautiful Blue Danube", concert of Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra
The main nexus-related risks to security are access to safe drinking water and sanitation, access to clean, reliable and affordable energy services, and access to safe food in a sufficient quantity and quality.Nexus policy making calls for more knowledge on the interdependencies between the three resources and for consideration of three guiding policy making principles: invest to sustain ecosystem services; create more with less; and integrate the poorest to accelerate access. This session will regard formats of cooperation, which aim to prevent from nexus-relevant risks.
Key note speakers
ModeratorMr. Wong Poh Poh, PhD, Singapore, Professor at The University of Adelaide, Life Member of the Geological Society of Malaysia and the International Society of Mangrove Ecosystems
4.Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Quality of LifeImproving quality of life is a major goal of good governance. It takes into account objective and subjective assumptions about living conditions, health, education, leisure and social interactions, economic and physical safety, basic citizenship rights, etc.There is an emerging agreement, that the "ultimate end" of the Sustainable Development Goals is a prosperous, high quality of life that is sustainable and equitably shared.This session will concentrate on the nexus, as it brings together resources, which have direct and indirect impact on well-being of individuals and communities. To deliver water, energy, and food for all, and manage the synergies and trade-offs among them, to understand how these interactions are shaped by environmental, economic, social and political changes, these are all practices of socially responsible policy makers.
Key note speakers
ModeratorMr. Tran Duc Cuong, ASEM Senior Official for Vietnam
In Europe water resources are often shared and regional cooperation in water governance in terms of policies and institutions has been granted substantial importance. The contribution of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River and the Danube Commission are relevant examples of common decision making regarding world's most international river basin, which is shared by 19 countries.EU cohesion policy has strengthened the supranational and the subnational levels of governance, and has introduced cross-border and transnational regions with the aim to facilitate cooperation beyond national borders to resolve common problems.In Asia the Mekong River Commission provides a robust legal framework and promotes the sustainable use of water resources, preserves biodiversity and increases access to safe drinking water in the 10th largest river basin in the world. This session will render respect to the ethics of hydro-solidarity and the achievements of water governance beyond national borders.
Panelist views on:
Common challenges and knowledge exchange: Danube-Mekong, how to cooperate?Is there a model and path to follow for cross-border and transnational links?
ModeratorMr. Pierrick Fillon-Ashida, DG Research, Senior Administrator Asia Unit
River basins are multi-use resource areas, which accommodate diverse policy sectors, such as research and innovation; navigation; water supply; water treatment; energy production; agriculture; fishing; industrial development; residential development; conservation of bio-diversity; protection of cultural heritage; recreational & leisure activities; water diplomacy; flood management and civil protection; military training; mineral extraction; etc. This session will regard tourism and intermodal transportation, since they possess the potential to provide more balanced, smarter, and 'greener' river basin development opportunities.
Key note speakers
ModeratorAssoc.prof. Mimi Kornazheva, PhD, University of Ruse
Closing remarks by:
Ruse welcomes ASEM Seminar delegates to unique sites of cultural heritage and to the Natural Park and its life styles along the river Lom and the Danube:
Format : documentaryLength : 52 minutesCoproduction : Les Poissons Volants, La fabrique du géographe, FranceYear : 2015DIRECTOR Isabelle AntunèsAUTHOR Isabelle AntunèsEDITING Christian GirierPHOTOGRAPHY Guillaume MartinSOUND Jean-Luc VerdierMUSIC Kishon Khan
Every year, rivers and streams descending from China, Nepal, Bhutan and India join together and overflow, flooding and nourishing the Bangladeshi soil throughout the long monsoon months. While studying the maps of the Daudkandi region located 2 hours South-East of Dhaka, the capital, Morshed Millat Sakiul from the Shisuk NGO realised that certain flooded areas would be suitable for fish farming. After long discussions, he managed to convince local communities to invest and to create a fishing company together. A large portion of the capital went into building the infrastructure – the dams and water gates that would retain and control the water. Little by little, the villages became connected, and a whole new environment was created. Within 15 years, a whole new local economy, an entire value chain, had sprung up. Jobs were created in harvesting, sorting and selling fish. Some of the shareholders created new companies to supply fish food, ice and transportation and the rice harvest is better. All of this transformed their lives in an extraordinary way.
15 years later, how to make sure that the community doesn't become engaged at the service of the fishing company whose main objective today is the maximisation of profits.