By Lin Ning
Entrusted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Water Sources, P.R. China, organized by National Research Institute for Rural Electrification (NRIRE) of the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministerial Workshop on Water Resources Management and Development Planning for BRI Countries was held successfully in Hangzhou during October 18-24, 2019. 17 ministers, state ministers, senior officials and experts from Cape Verde, D.R. Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Grenada, Lebanon, Uzbekistan and Zambia took part in the one-week workshop.
Mr. Li Ge, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Ministry of Water Resources of China, and Mr. Shi Junyue, Chief Engineer, Department of Water Resources of Zhejiang Province, were present at the opening ceremony and delivered the speeches.
Mr. Li Ge pointed out in his speech that, China is characterized by a large population and less water, and water resources are unevenly distributed in time and space, while water resources do not match the economic and social development. In the context of new concept, new requirement and new task of water conservancy, Chinese government adheres to the basic policy of conserving the resources and protecting the environment and proposes that the construction of ecological civilization is the fundamental plan for sustainable development. It is highly expected to share management methods, policies and practices in the field of water resources in China with the high-level officials from the BRI countries, and exchange relevant experiences and achievements among the participating countries, thus to jointly improve the development, utilization and management of water resources.
Mr. Shi Junyue mentioned in his speech that, Zhejiang is a water town in the south of the Yangtze River basin. It gets its name from water, which makes it beautiful and prosperous. Meanwhile, people in Zhejiang have been deeply suffered from water disasters since ancient times. It is hoped to take this seminar held in Zhejiang province as an opportunity to share the advanced experience of water resources development among various countries and promote the water conservancy industry in Zhejiang to a new height.
Mr. Winston Garraway, Minister of Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information of Grenada, delivered a speech on behalf of all the participants from the BRI countries. The minister quoted the conclusion from The Dublin Conference (International Conference on Water and Environment) held on Jan 31, 1992 that, "Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good…. It is vital to recognize first the basic right of all human beings to have access to clean water and sanitation at an affordable price". All the officials attending the workshop appreciated the practice and achievements that China had made in the field of water resources and took a pleasure to attend the rewarding event for exchanging views and sharing experience.
Mr. Li Yun, Vice President of Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute presided over the opening ceremony. Mr. Fan Aihua, Director of Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, Mr. Qian Yinfang, Director of Department of Water Resources of Zhejiang Province, Mr. Xu Jincai, Director General of NRIRE and Mr. Dong Dafu, Deputy Director General of NRIRE were also present at the opening ceremony.
After the opening ceremony, Mr. Li Ge delivered a keynote presentation titled "Water Resources of China", expounding the characteristics of water resources in China, the achievements in water resources development, the challenges in water control and the related strategy in the new era, and he answered the questions on international cooperation in water resources as well as water and soil conservation.
The one-week workshop focused on the topics concerning water resource management and development planning with rich programs, inclusive of the presentation titled "Water Resources Management in the Context of Climate Change" delivered by Mr. Zhang Jianyun, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, the attendance in the opening ceremony of 2019 CHES Annual Conference, the visits to the world-famous Three Gorges Project and the local university as well as the culture experience in China Water Museum, etc.
At the hour of departure, the honorable minister Garraway concluded: "we really had an excellent journey…… with the exciting nine or ten days, we share experience and we realize that we have brothers and sisters around the world……China did more than we expect……how much we have learned and appreciated what you do, and our thankfulness should go to the organizer…… It has been an enjoyable moment!".
As the 115th foreign-aid training program conducted by HRC since its establishment, and the 3rd ministerial workshop organized by HRC, the implementation of the program has received strong support and conscientious guidance from Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Water Resources, Zhejiang Provincial Government, and gained great assistance from associated departments and other organizations. The success of the workshop has strengthened the communication between China and other BRI countries in the field of water resources management and development planning and laid a solid foundation for future cooperation.