UNDP kicks off second year of 'Water for People' partnership

22 Sep 2012

image UNDP Thailand/Sutharin Koonphol | MWA Governor Charoen Passara and Yuxue Xue, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Thailand.

BANGKOK--The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) kicked off the second year of their joint partnership on Friday, September 21 in Bangkok with a small ceremony. The four-year partnership is helping communities who live along Thailand's two major river basins--the Chao Phraya and the Mae Klong--both restore the environment and improve their livelihoods.

"The partnership has also provided the opportunities for MWA staff to learn more about communities’ conservation efforts on the ground as well as to learn from the wealth of experts involved in this small grants process," said MWA Governor Charoen Passara.

"It has been the first and most important step for this partnership; and a strong foundation for the years to come for us to collaborate to support more communities to conserve the water resources in the Chao Phraya and the Mae Klong River Basins."

UNDP's "Water for People" partnership is the first case where the majority of project resources come from a government organization. Small grants are helping communities better manage water resources along Thailand’s two major rivers basins and we’re improving livelihoods at the same time. The results speak for themselves.

First year results are already coming in. In Samut Prakarn province is home to a habitat for fireflies is a natural wetland that's home to a variety life. The region also serves as a water "lung" to Bangkok. But poor community wastewater management has led to degradation of waterways, poor drainage, and deserted natural orchards. But a  small grant from UNDP and MWA has begun the restoration of a 16-acre orchard and a 5-acre waterway. Villagers have installed 10 nutrient filter pits, which treat wastewater before it reenters the system.

UNDP and MWA are helping restore a natural orchard and are planting 1,000 fruit-bearing trees like the gag fruit will be planted and harvested, creating organic soaps and body wash. As many as 260 farmers and 100 students are benefiting from organic farming trainings, up to 250 families will soon see increased crop yield and improved water quality.

"It’s quite exciting to see what we’ve accomplished over the course of our first year and UNDP is looking forward to an even more successful second year," said Yuxue Xue, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Thailand.

Over the remaining three years of the 20 million baht project, the partnership aims to 1) Preserve water quality and improve environment in target river basins; 2) Enhance community-based co-management efforts along river basins; 3) Promote local awareness and capacity building in river basin management; 4) Promote the exchange of best practices and lessons learned among stakeholders; 5) Support MWA in meeting its CSR mandates in cost effective, sustainable manner.

UNDP Thailand’s Environment Portfolio has managed the GEF/SGP for over a decade. The programme has become a well-established financial mechanism to channel resources to community-based environmental conservation. Since 1993, GEF SGP has provided supported to 388 community-based organizations, totaling over $5 million across Thailand, covering issues such as climate change, water, land degradation, biodiversity, organic pollutants, and more.