HOME > Programs > TIP Platform > TIP Platform > Global Implications and Lessons for Good Water Governance System at the River Basin Level in Korea

Session Introduction

In order to cope with current and future water challenges that we are facing, we need more well-defined policies and action rules, targeting measurable objectives in pre-determined time-schedules at the appropriate scale, relying on a clear assignment of duties across responsible authorities and subject to regular monitoring and evaluation (OECD 2015). To establish those systems or structures at the River Basin level in Korea which is just beginning, we need to learn from diverse successful experiences and lessons relevant to good water governance systems and their partnership structures from a global angle. It is true that good water governance can contribute to the design and implementation of such policies and rules, in a shared responsibility across multi-levels of government, civil society, business and the broader range of stakeholders who play a crucial role with alongside policy-makers in Korea now

Session Schedule

Time Contents Speaker/Participants
17:00 - 17:05 (5’) Welcome Address Mr. Gi-Sung Hwang
(K-water Research Institute)
17:05 - 17:20 (15’) Water Conflicts in the Mekong River Basin and the
Role of Institutions for Conflict Resolution
Ms. Eunhwa Choi
(K-water Research Institute)
17:20 - 17:35 (15’) Multi-stakeholder Partnership for Sustainale Use of Water in Sri Lanka - Futuristic Views Mr. Ranga Pallawla(Janathakshan)
17:35 - 17:50 (15’) Best Management Practices in South East Aisa to secure Water Governance Dr. Sang-Young Park
(ADB, Indonesia)
17:50 - 18:05 (15’) Water Governance Change of Korea Prof. Chang-Soo Kim
(Pukyoung National University)
18:05 - 18:25 (20’) Panel Discussion and Q&A 1 Moderator and 4 Panelists
18:25 - 18:30 (5’) Wrap-up Moderator



Water Conflicts in the Mekong River Basin and the Role of Institutions for Conflict Resolution (Ms. Eunhwa Choi, K-water Research Institute)

This presentation introduced the elements of the conflict resolution related to transboundary river and adaption in the Korea water conflict. Ms. Eunhwa Choi highlighted three elements; Building Institutional Capacity, Understanding the Conflict & Priority for Resolutions, and Binding Force. In order to achieve these three, firstly all stakeholders should be included in institutions and decision-making processes, common interests should be identified and pursued together, and lastly, an appropriate funder that can provide sustainable funding to carry out the relevant projects. These factors can be applied in Korea’s water conflict and its resolution. Currently, Korea established the National Water Management Committee and the Basin Water Management Committee. In light of the Mekong River case, she suggested that these institutions in Korea need to consider three principles, all stakeholder’s participation in the committees, identification of common interests in the river basin, and securing an appropriate funder.

Multi-stakeholder Partnership for Sustainable Use of Water in Sri Lanka – Futuristic Views (Mr. Ranga Pallawala, Janathakshan)

Water management and partnership in Sri Lanka were introduced by Mr. Ranga Pallowala, CEO of Janathakshan. Janathakshan is an environmental Non-government Organization in Sri Lanka which has carried out diverse projects related to the environment. Sri Lanka has rich water resources but there are spatial and temporal variations of water availability. The majority of people highly depend on agriculture which is water intensive. So, a pertinent development plan is necessary. Currently, the cost of non-collaboration in Sri Lanka is increasing and the sense of water ownership also continues to increase. Thus, he highlighted the need for multi-layer cooperation from central to local and common information platforms for gathering and sharing information and quick analysis and smart decision-making.

Best Management Practices in South East Asia to Secure Water Governance (Dr. Sang-Young Park, ADB)

Dr. Sang-Young Park presented on intensive consultation for flood risk management with local stakeholders during project preparation to ensure that the project addresses the full range of problems and issues. He stressed that the government should routinely collect and analyze flood damage data. Support is needed for designing, developing sustainable long term flood management concepts and watershed management programs should be implemented to enhance the impact and sustainability of flood control works.

Water Governance Change of Korea (Prof. Chang-Soo Kim, Pukyoung National University)

Korea’s water governance has progressed over time. Recently, Korea showed a dynamic transformation on the water governance structure. Government departments related to water governance were over-fragmented on a multi-level before 2018. However, the departments were partially unified after 2018. He saw that this is the pathway to bridge seven gaps, which OECD mentioned, administrative, information, policy, capacity, funding, objective, and accountability gap. He highlighted three to create a better path for water governance in Korea. First, Basic Water Laws and a good steering committee would work well for the integrated water system in order to bridge the seven water governance gaps. Second, a cooperative government and civil society need to jointly participate in the decision-making stage rather than the implementation stage. Third, comprehensive participation between stakeholders including NGOs could enhance the socio-institutional capacity of coordination.



The overall discussion was about water governance in light of the features of each country. Ms. Choi, Mr. Ranga, Dr. Park, and Prof. Choi described the cases of the Mekong River basin, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Korea respectively. In terms of the Mekong River, a major feature is the transboundary river basin so that it needs to coordinate each benefit. Thus, six countries agreed to establish an institution to adjust potential conflicts and the institution which is called Greater Mekong Subregion plays a critical role in economic development as well as water governance in the region. Sri Lanka has tried to build a policy-making process which multi-layer governments are able to participate in. However, a concrete structure for the policy-making process with all stakeholders has yet to be settled in Sri Lanka. Indonesia is characterized by decentralization and religion based governance. Geographically, Indonesia is composed of thousands of islands, so the administrative power has been dispersed. This environment creates decentralized water governance. In addition, Islam highly influences governance so much that females have been excluded in decision-making processes. Lastly, Korea has just started with Integrated Water Resource Management based on Korea’s Basic Laws since last year. When seeing the laws, it shows the tendency of a decentralized water governance system through the Basin Water Management Council. This tendency is expected to give more opportunities for comprehensive participation for water governance.

Major messages

Successful water governance should include all stakeholders from the central government to civil society. Domestically, public and private participation is very important and in terms of the public sector, multi-level governments should be included in decision-making process. Internationally, institutions that coordinate interests among countries plays a significant role in good governance. Each presenter displayed different examples in different regions. However, the core message is that countries need to build institutional capacity to discuss different interests and to foster cooperation.