China and Europe have agreed to establish a platform for dialogue, joint research and private sector cooperation on better management of water resources.
On March 14, 2012 Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources of China and the European Union, represented by the Danish Minister of the Environment, Ida Auken, signed a joint statement to establish the water platform.
This statement, signed at the 6th World Water Forum in Marseilles, France, recognizes that China and Europe face similar challenges in managing water resources, and that water resources are expected to become increasingly strained due to socio-economic development and climate change.
The Platform is lead jointly by the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources and Denmark and Portugal on behalf of the EU. Assunção Cristas, Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning, also attended the launching ceremony.
The water platform was also introduced during the high-level meeting on 2012, European Year of Water at the World Water Forum chaired by EU Development Commissioner Piebalgs.
Much of China suffers from scarcity of available water resources, and most areas from severe water pollution. To deal with these challenges, the Ministry of Water Resources has recently adopted new strategies and measures, especially calling for strengthening water demand management, pollution prevention, and taking an integrated approach to water resources management.
The establishment of the China Europe Water Platform comes at the close of the EU – China River Basin Management Programme, a five-year successful bilateral cooperation programme, in which officials and experts have shared experience in water management.
The Ministry of Water Resources confirms the importance of this cooperation: “Strengthening of cooperation and dialogue, especially establishing the China Europe Water Platform, will lay a solid foundation for dealing with the water challenges which the world is facing today and in the future.”