PIANC Holds Session on Inland Waterborne Transport at the World Water Forum
PIANC, in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, organized and conducted a Special Session on Inland Waterborne Transport at the 5th World Water Forum (WWF) in Istanbul, Turkey on March 17, 2009. The WWF is one of the largest international water-related events, organized every three years by the World Water Council (WWC) in collaboration with the host country. It is aimed at putting water firmly on the international agenda and dependent on a lengthy, multi-stakeholder preparatory process that culminates in one week of sessions, debates and related cultural activities. For the first time in WWF's history, inland navigation was included on the agenda, and PIANC stepped up to serve as the international authority on this topic.
Eric Van den Eede, President of PIANC, began the session with an introduction of Inland Waterborne Transport (IWT), emphasizing how IWT has contributed to the development of mature economies over many centuries and created many bridges between nations. In this century, IWT can help less developed countries to achieve several of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly eradicating extreme poverty (MDG 1), ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7), and developing a global partnership for development (MDG 8). IWT can help because it provides a safe, environmentally friendly form of transport, which can stimulate the development of regional economies and connect land-locked countries to sea ports and world markets.
Since many rivers cross international boundaries, their use for IWT requires cooperation and collaboration among nations. IWT is also just one of the many uses of rivers, so it must be planned and managed in the context of Integrated Water Resource Management.
Opening remarks were also made by Narikuni Nakao, Deputy Minister for Technical Affairs, Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Mr. Nakao's central message was that IWT is a tool for addressing climate change. Transporting goods by water generates less greenhouse gases per tonne than any other form of transport.
Mr. Harald Koethe, Chairman of PIANC's Environmental Commission, discussed the topic of "Inland Waterways – procedures and concepts to ensure environmental sustainability." He presented evidence showing that IWT is the most climate-friendly mode of transport, having a small carbon footprint in relation to other modes. However, IWT needs to prepare for the impacts of climate change, which may result in more frequent low flows, and/or increased flooding in inland waterway systems. Mr. Koethe also described the environmental impact assessment procedures which are required for inland waterway development projects and for the management of dredged materials. He then introduced the concept of "Working with Nature" which is being developed and promoted by PIANC. Under this approach, IWT projects are designed in an integrated fashion, with early consideration of environmental issues and the needs of other water users.
The remainder of the session was devoted to case studies of inland waterways in various parts of the world, and at various stages of development. In conclusion, the Session proposed the following Draft Ministerial Statement to the Forum organizers:
The IWT session was organized by Mr. Ian White, Chairman of PIANC's Inland Navigation Commission, and Ms. Anne Cann, Secretary of PIANC USA.
PIANC also contributed to the World Water Forum by producing a Side Paper entitled, "Inland Waterborne Transport: Connecting Countries" (pdf, 6.98 MB). The paper was published by the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme.
— Anne Cann, PIANC USA Secretary
posted 14 Apr 2009
Inland Waterborne Transport: Connecting Countries (pdf, 6.98 MB)