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The 7th AASSA Regional Workshop - Feb. 12-13, 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
admin 2015.01.19

The 7th AASSA Regional Workshop on

"Sustainable Development Goal of Water and Sanitation after MDGS"


February 12-13, 2014

Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Jointly Organized by
Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA)


Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST)


Supported by
IAP – the global network of science academies

Scientists and Engineers Without Borders (SEWB)


Sharing Community of Science and Technology (SCOST)

AASSA Regional Workshop on ‘Sustainable Development Goal of Water and Sanitation after MDGs’ was held at the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (NPIC), Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 12th February, 2014.


At 2000 Summit Meeting in New York, UN set up the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It includes 50% reduction of the people who suffered from improper water and sanitation by the year of 2015. Fortunately the original goal of water connections by 2015 was achieved in 2010, but approximately 1.9 billion people still depends on unsafe water quality. UN prepares a new set of goals to water and sanitation by 2030. Without a proper sanitation, quality of life as well as the quality of drinking water cannot be secured. Further, we may not have healthy food for our family. Ultimately, we need a holistic approach with green concept to reduce the risks in our society. In order to meet the urgent goal of water supply, technologies based on people’s need not high technologies have to be applied. In this regard, technologies suitable in Asia should be studied and effectively disseminated through various organizations and exchange programs.


The aim of this regional workshop was to increase the relationship among Asian countries for the purpose of providing safe and stable water supply and sanitation for healthy society. In order to discuss and promote these important issues, AASSA and KAST jointly organized this regional workshop.


In the keynote speech given by the KAST President, Prof. Sung Hyun Park, importance of Asia as a rising world was emphasized. He also proposed ‘Asian Union’ comprising ASEAN + three countries (China, Japan, and Korea) and ASIASTAT which is similar to EUROSTAT for sustainable development of this region.


It is recommended that the Asian countries concerning about the importance of water supply and sanitation for their people, should try every effort to solve the water shortage and wastewater treatment through proper water resources management. In this regard, AASSA provided a practical platform for exchange knowledge and technologies among Asian countries. It was significantly encouraging that China and Korea formulate overseas cooperation through their agencies


In this workshop, there were three sessions of (1) General Perspectives, (2) Purification Technology and Sanitation, and (3) Arsenic Poisoning. Summary of presentations is attached.

Summary of Conclusion and Recommendations:

1. In the first presentation, Dr. Liu reported that ferric and manganese binary oxide (FMBO) had high capacity to remove arsenic in water based on both lab- and pilot-scale studies. Also, with incorporation of in-situ regeneration methods, the authors suggested that their technology is “an innovative technology for arsenic removal with a high efficacy but a low cost” for both small and large-scale treatment plants.


2. In the second presentation, Dr. Hul presented the test results of arsenic levels in wells from different regions of Cambodia and also the survey results of alternative sources of drinking water in those arsenic-affected communities. He founded that most of the wells tested was contaminated with arsenic – sometimes with very high concentration (>450 ppb) and, surprisingly, people had limited knowledge on the level of arsenic in their drinking water and even the health effect of arsenic.


3. In the third presentation, Dr. Eliyan presented the current status of water usage as well as the current knowledge on arsenic in three provinces of Cambodia in order to estimate the magnitude of exposed population. She founded that rainwater is the most widely used source of drinking water followed by bought water and tube well water and majority of people interviewed were aware of arsenic in tube well water (which is somewhat contradictory to that of Dr. Hul’s study). Also, she reported that about 6.3 % (37,620 people) of the three provinces were exposed to >50 ppb of arsenic (the Cambodian standard of arsenic).


4. As a conclusion of first presentation, the authors of the first presentation claimed that “this technology is highly efficient, cost-effective, easy-to-handle, with good feasibility in developing countries“. However, some participants in the workshop – especially from Cambodia – were concerned about the availability (and the cost) of the key material (FMBO) in developing countries, which makes the substantiality of this technology in developing countries somewhat questionable.


5. As a recommendation of the second presentation, the authors of the second presentation stated that “water from wells should not be the option” for drinking water and “education on arsenic should be provided to the residents to give them more understanding on bad impact from its pollution”. There was a consensus among workshop participants on more survey in other regions of Cambodia (perhaps on a national-level survey) and more widespread implementation of appropriate technologies for arsenic removal is necessary.


6. On third presentation, many workshop participants showed a serious concern over the Cambodian standard of arsenic (50 ppb), which appears to be too high. Also, several participants recommended more thorough risk assessment on the arsenic exposure through groundwater in Cambodia. In addition, there was a concern over one of the recommendations from Dr. Eliyan’s study - “surface water as an alternative water source.” Due to the lack of wastewater treatment systems and seemingly shallow water table in Cambodia, there could be a different type of health concern (human pathogens) when surface water is used as a source of drinking water.


AASSA, The Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia
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