China Europe Water Platform Launched

15 May

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, 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.

China’s large population of 1.3 billion, coupled with rapid industrial and economic developments, have led to serious environmental side effects, such as pollution and water shortage. Natural resources have been under strain to keep up with the enormous leap the country has made in various areas. Statistics on the annual GDP growth rate in China in 2011, for example, show the rate standing at 9.2 percent.

The platform will replace another program, the “EU-China River Basin Management Programme” (RBMP), which had already received some 33 million dollars from Europe Aid. The Chinese call the new platform for water policy not an aid project, but a definite partnership, to which they are also contributing financial support.

The scheme is a crucial step to ensure China’s economic development will not destroy the country’s or Planet Earth’s environment.


One Response to “China Europe Water Platform Launched”

  1. ags2g09 May 16, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    This is an idea that is extremely helpful, but may not be successful in practice. A platform for discussion about any topic is only effective if there is some action resulting from said discussions. Simply talking will not ensure any environmental benefit for either China or Europe.

    It may be that my skepticism is unfounded. A platform such as this will have uses in terms of research for both parties involved – if China discovers something unknown to Europe or vice versa, it might be that the research aids the cause even in the absence of any direct co-operation.

    However, it cannot be ignored that it does seem rather odd for China and the EU to unite on this topic. The new Chinese government, fronted by Xi Jinping, have barely been in office for a few months and yet are already warning China to be wary of ‘dangerous’ Western values – what kind of mixed messages are the government sending when despite publicly stating this, they nevertheless form a joint platform with Europe on something so crucial as water provision and sanitation?

    Indeed, it could also be argued that this new China/EU water platform is completely unnecessary – China and much of Europe (alongside the rest of the world) are already members of the Global Water Partnership (GWP), based in Stockholm – this Partnership has more than 2,700 organisations in 167 countries across 13 different regions. This already seems to me to be a more than adequate platform for discussing water-related issues – why create a new one, under the guise of more co-operation, when it is simply not necessary? Unlike the new China/EU platform, the GWP also provides for external influence as well as governmental influence, so professionals and experts know they will have their voices heard.

    Co-operation between China and the EU is, at least in theory, a positive step. But any positive vibe is negated in my view, if the platform is just for show. Indeed, if it achieves nothing in practice, it may even have the reverse effect on future co-operation between China and the EU. Only time will tell.

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