During the regional process leading up to the 4th World Water Forum, it became clear that several water-related issues and challenges were common across the entire Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, with the increased interactions in the implementation of follow-up activities to the 3rd World Water Forum held in Kyoto in March 2003, stakeholders in the region quickly recognized that the region’s diversity was not an obstacle but rather an asset to the identification and adoption of solutions to specific water issues. Based upon this common understanding, a new network called the Asia-Pacific Water Forum was established, to work in complete solidarity to identify and adopt solutions to water issues in the region.

The Asia-Pacific region faces formidable water related challenges. These include the need for increased access to improved water supplies and sanitation through investments in infrastructure and capacity building, the protection and restoration of river basins as the fundamental provider of freshwater resources through Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and the need to drastically reduce the vulnerability of human populations to water-related disasters.

In calling for the creation of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), the region’s water ministers sought to establish an effective mechanism to encourage more collaborative efforts on water resources management and to accelerate the process of effective integration of water resources management into the socio-economic development process of the Asian and Pacific region.

The APWF, which is housed in the Japan Water Forum, also organizes the Asia-Pacific Water Summit, the first of which is to be held in Japan in 2007.