Only zero point zero one percent of all the water resources on Earth is freshwater that is readily available for human use, with about ninety percent of this portion being composed of lakes. In addition to the fact that lakes provide the widest variety of ecosystem services to human beings they also are the most susceptible to the impacts of human activities in their drainage basins.
Many of the environmental conditions of the world’s lakes continue to deteriorate because of over-exploitation resulting from human activities within and outside their basins, as well as accelerating global warming. According to the ”Global Risks Report,” which features perspectives from experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of potential risks over a 10-year time frame, “water crises” have been highly ranked for the three consecutive years since 2015. Nevertheless, lakes are not given due priority in the global water arena. Accordingly, it is imperative that the importance of lakes, their basins and their ecosystem services be recognized once again on a global basis. Because of their unique characteristics, compared to other freshwater systems, lakes and their basins are extreamly difficult to manage, thereby requiring a special focus. Indeed, achieving sustainable management of lake and their basins also provides a solid foundation to ensure sound management of all freshwater systems.
At a September 2015 summit in New York, the United Nations adopted the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” as well as “17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” to be achieved over the next 15 years. The newly established 6th Goal (SDG6) was to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Since its establishment in 1986, ILEC, in cooperation with its international, national and local partner organizations, has been engaged in research activities (e.g., preparation of the World Lake Database; Guidelines of Lake Management Series; World Lake Vision) and capacity building activities (e.g., environmental education; JICA training courses) to promote the environmentally-sound management of the world’s lakes. In recent years, ILEC has been promoting the Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) as the appropriate means of managing lakes and their basins for sustainable use of their ecosystem services for humanity and the environment. Leveraging support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) from 2003 to 2005, ILEC has conducted international studies and research to develop and advocate for the Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM), or an initiative for long-term, progressive, and continuous watershed governance improvement through proactive involvement of all stakeholders in the lake basin society in pursuit of sustainable ecosystem management.
The ILBM has now gained recognition as a supplemental framework to the Integrated Water Recourse Management (IWRM), with its developing cyclic process, known as the ILBM Platform Process, being introduced and utilized in a number of lake basins around the world. As the center of global promotion of ILBM, ILEC will continue its long-term international commitment to lake environment conservation.
Furthermore, ILEC renewed its cooperation and collaboration MOU with the United Nations Environment Programme in August 2016 to committ to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through these initiatives.
We sincerely thank you for your continuing support to our Foundation, and look forward to our future collaborative activities in ensuring the sustainable use of lakes, their basins and their life-sustaining ecosystem services.
International Lake Environment Committee Foundation