No Water, No Growth: Asia’s 21st Century Challenge

debra tan

Source: © Debra Tan

Afternoon Forum
Registration 4:00pm 
Discussion 4:15pm 
Close 6:15pm

Asia’s future could be dampened by limited water. Two of the world’s most most populous countries — India and China — are water stressed, and rampant water pollution from decades of rapid development and population growth has only further exacerbated this. The “Third Pole” or the Hindu Kush Himalayas — the common source region from where 10 major rivers of Asia flow — including the Amu Darya, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Irrawaddy, Mekong, Salween, Tarim, Yangtze and Yellow — is experiencing the same climate change impacts as the North and South Poles, threatening their upper watershed. The flow of these 10 rivers that provide water to 16 countries could be affected, along with one in every 2.5 Asians living along these waterways. Does the continent have enough water to develop, if “business as usual” continues? The key findings of a new report by China Water Risk (CWR), will also be announced during the session.


Asit K. Biswas is founder of the Third World Centre for Water Management in Mexico, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He was President of the International Water Resources Association and member of the World Commission on Water. He served as senior advisor to 19 governments and six heads of UN agencies. Prof. Biswas is the author or editor of 81 books and 680 papers. He is the recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize                                                                                         


Jeff Fuchs is an award-winning Himalayan explorer and author. He was the first documented westerner to have travelled by foot the entire legendary Tea Horse Road, the Nomadic Route of Salt in Qinghai and the ‘Hor-Lam’ Route of Pashmina through Ladakh. A resident of Yunnan province, Mr. Fuchs’s work focused on the documentation of Himalayan trade routes. He is author of The Ancient Tea Horse Road and host of the documentary                                          “Tea Explorer”.

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Jia Shaofeng is Deputy Director of the Center for Water Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has been involved in more than 40 scientific research projects in China and acted as the lead of several key projects at national level. Prof. Jia has published more than 100 papers and authored five books; his main research areas are water resources management, integrated basin management and regional sustainable development.

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David Molden is Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental knowledge organization dedicated to the mountains and people of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Dr. Molden has been instrumental in positioning ICIMOD as a regional organization working in areas such as climate change, adaptation and resilience building, ecosystem management, air pollution, water resource management and information systems.


Debra Tan heads China Water Risk (CWR), the ‘go-to’ resource on water issues in China. She has worked to “mainstream” water risk into financial decision-making and corporate strategies on both a macro-level through the concept of “water-nomics” and on a micro-level through the quantification of water risk in credit/equity valuations. Ms. Tan worked in finance, spending over a decade as a chartered accountant and investment banker specializing in M&A and strategic advisory.


Cecilia Tortajada is Senior Research Fellow within the Institute of Water Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. She has advised major international institutions including FAO, UNDP, ADB and OECD, serving as a member of the latter’s Initiative in Water Governance. Dr. Tortajada is a past President of the International Water Resources Association. Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Water Resources Development. She is the author or editor of more than 30 books.

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Event Details

Thu 20 Sep 2018
4 - 6:15 p.m.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

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Free admission; Online registration required
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