UNESCO keen to help Brunei solve water issues
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is keen to assist Brunei in tackling excess water usage.
This was said by UNESCO’s Water and Environmental Management consultant Alain Michel Tchadie during a seminar to commemorate World Water Day at the Ministry of Development Training Centre Monday.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Tchadie said UNESCO is trying to establish long-term collaboration with Brunei, especially through the Public Works Department, in helping Brunei identify and overcome problems related to water resources.
“Perhaps in the past UNESCO was not really involved in Brunei’s activities, but now we are trying to develop some projects with Brunei but it will all depend on its government,” he said.
“If the government is keen to be linked with UNESCO, we are more than happy to welcome and work with them,” he added.
Tchadie was one of the invited speakers at the seminar during which he presented his paper, “Customising Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) guidelines for water security and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific”.
In terms of projects and other collaborations in managing water resources, Tchadie said that the UNESCO would have to understand the key problems faced by Brunei.
“Everyone is just talking about the over-consumption, wasting and overuse of water but is that the only problem for Brunei?” he asked.
“We see that this morning, some of the presenters raised issues on water pollution, and perhaps there are also problems related to flood; I see that although some may not be major now but they are already identified.
“We need to make larger studies to understand the real problems faced; what are the needs and expectations, and based on that we can then see how we could work this out together, allowing further improvements to water resources management in Brunei,” he added.
Tchadie also said that it will be difficult to preserve Brunei’s water resources without a good and smooth management. “There will always be more room for improvements to the overall water management system and this even applies to countries worldwide,” he said.
Tchadie added that UNESCO’s scope of collaboration is not only limited to the Bruneian government should they work together in the future, but the joint venture would also include other institutions based in the country.
“For instance, we also work with universities, perhaps on determining the quality of waters because universities have local resources – the researchers who would be able to survey and understand the needs that may arise,” he said.
“At this stage however, they are no official discussion whether to have such collaboration yet and I would say, we are really still at the preliminary stage.
“But we are very keen to initiate things, not only in terms of discussions for water resources projects, but also to improve our relationships by working together perhaps in science, education, communication – all the five mandates of UNESCO,” he added.
The Brunei Times