High-Level Roundtable on Water in China

Posted: 2012-05-22

The High-Level Roundtable on Water Resources Management System Development in China was organized by GWP China on April 20, 2012, in Beijing. The meeting aimed at establishing water management mechanisms with well-defined duties, rights and responsibilities, coordination mechanisms for the development of river basins, and facilitating stricter and better water management through the integrated water resources management approach.

The meeting was supported by the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Asian Development Bank, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) China, the UNESCO Office Beijing and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as co-sponsors and had invited 140 participants from the key water-related ministries under the State Council, and relevant departments of the Ministry of Water Resources, UN organizations’ offices in China, foreign embassies in Beijing, universities, research institutes and NGOs.

The following common understandings were reached:

1) China is facing a severe challenge of water scarcity and heavy water pollution. The No.1 Policy Document on Reform and Development in the Water Sector and related laws were issued by the Chinese Central Government last year pointing out the countermeasures to these challenges. The system will be supported by “three red lines”, i.e., the sub-systems on flood control, drought prevention and disaster reduction; rational allocation and efficient use of water resources, water resources protection and river-lake health security; and water scientific development; 

2) The implementation of the No.1 Policy Document and relevant laws has to face major challenges which are necessary to promote further reforms of mechanisms and systems as well as to formulate coordinated laws and rules. It must set up details of relevant technical standards, pricing indicators and technical systems, and improve enforcement systems of rewards and penalties;

3) The implementation of the strictest water resources management system involves different sectors, including water, environmental protection and others. The key message of the No.1 Policy Document is to discuss how to establish coordination mechanisms and the methods of promoting widespread participation of the public, private and NGOs;

4) The core technical supports to the “three red-lines” are information monitoring systems for water resources, the environment and ecosystems, and for lake and river health;

5) The need to develope international cooperation and sharing advanced concepts, models and technologies relating water management from other countries. The EU-China Water Platform established in March at the 6t World Water Forum in Marseille is a beginning.

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