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UNU-NIES International Workshop
Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater -
Technical and Policy Dimensions

Monday, 18 February 2002

Co-organized by:
United Nations University (UNU)
and Japan National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES)
In Collaboration with:
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET),
Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine (CAPM) and
Japan National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS)

Workshop Proceedings
Available for download in PDF format

Workshop Venue
Rose Hall (5F), UN House (UNU building) Tokyo

Workshop Background
The arsenic pollution crisis in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India is a disaster of unprecedented proportions. The number of people potentially impacted by this problem is far greater than that for any of the individual problem facing the humanity today. By the virtue of its sheer size, it is pushing the limits of our knowledge and the capacity to respond to it. It is a complex problem that is multi-faceted and multi-sectoral. In turn, it requires clear thinking and a comprehensive strategic response. This strategy should be cohesive and cover all aspects of the problem. This workshop can be considered another step in defining such a comprehensive strategy - that deals with both policy and technical issues.

The workshop builds on the previous work that UNU, NIES and their partners have undertaken with respect to the arsenic contamination - particularly with reference to Bangladesh, West Bengal (India) and China. It also follows up on the BUET-UNU workshop held in Dhaka during May 2001 on the technological solutions and a roundtable policy meeting also held in Dhaka in July 2001. The present workshop is co-organized with the Japan National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), which had held the first workshop on health risks of arsenic pollution of drinking water in South Asia and China, March 10 2001, as part of a study under the Human Dimension Programme (HDP) funded by the Japan Ministry of Environment.

Workshop Objectives
  1. Further the dialogue on development of a comprehensive strategy to deal with the problems faced in Asia, including identification of approaches towards developing a comprehensive strategy for various stakeholders;
  2. Identify means and ways to communicate the workshop's recommendations to a wider audience, with particular reference to the discussions to be held in the 3rd World Water Forum (March 2003);
  3. Discuss linkages to arsenic problems in other parts of the world and ways to extrapolate findings from Asia to other regions; and
  4. Involvement and awareness raising of Japanese researchers and the general public on the related issues.
Workshop Programme
09:00-09:15 Opening Remarks - Prof. Motoyuki Suzuki (Vice Rector, UNU)

Keynote Speakers
09:15-10:00 Key Issues for Arsenic Crisis and an Approach for its Remediation: West Bengal (India) Experience - Dr. Dipankar Chakraborti (Jadavpur University, India)
10:00-10:45 Dr. Jin Yanlong (CAPM, China)
10:45-11:15 Coffee Break

First Session:
Technological and Human Health Dimensions of the Arsenic Problem

Chairpersons: Dr. Han Haijnen (WHO) and Dr. Hiroshi Yamauchi (St. Marianna Medical University)
11:15-11:35 Fate of Arsenic in the Environment - Prof. Ashraf Ali (BUET, Bangladesh)
11:35-11:55 Study on Arsenism in Bangladesh - Dr. Chiho Watanabe (University of Tokyo) and Dr. Habibur Rahman (BUET, Bangladesh)
11:55-12:15 Technological Issues in Arsenic Monitoring - Dr. Masanori Ando (NIHS, Japan)
12:15-12:35 Risk Assessment of Skin Lesions Posed by Arsenic Contaminated Well Water in Shanxi, China - Dr. Zhang Yanping (Taiyuan CDC, Shanxi, China)
12:35-12:55 A Speciation Study Focused on the Identification of Proximate Toxic Arsenic Metabolites - Dr. Kazuo T. Suzuki (Chiba University, Japan)
12:55-14:30 Lunch

Second Session:
Policy Dimensions of the Arsenic Problem

Chairpersons: Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto (Univ. of Tokyo, Japan) and Dr. Roy K.Boerschke (World Bank)
14:30-14:50 Policy Development for Arsenic Remediation in Bangladesh - Prof. Feroze Ahmad (BUET, Bangladesh)
14:50-15:10 Linkages of Short- and Long-term Policy Measures - Dr. Zafar Adeel (UNU, Japan)
15:10-15:30 Preventive Policy against Hazardous Effects of Drinking Arsenic-Polluted Well Water - Dr. Feng Lizhong (Shanxi Health Bureau, China) and Dr. Jin Yinlong (CAPM)
15:30-15:50 Community Participation and Rural Water Supply in Arsenic Affected Areas: A Case Study from Rural Bangaldesh - Dr. Bilqis A. Hoque (EPRC, Bangladesh)
15:50-16:30 Coffee Break

Panel Discussion and Formulation of Recommendations
16:30-18:00 Panelists: Prof. Motoyuki Suzuki (UNU), Dr. Han Haijnen (WHO),
Prof. Feroze Ahmad (BUET), Dr. Bilqis A. Hoque (EPRC), Dr. Michinori Kabuto (NIES),
Dr. Yasumoto Magara (Hokkaido University, Japan)
Moderator: Dr. Zafar Adeel

18:00-18:15 Closing Remarks - Dr. Soichirou Iwao (Director of Environmental Health, MOE)

Last Update: 1 November 2002