Published: 10:10, May 27, 2024
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President's insights well received by intl experts
By Hou Liqiang
Photo taken on Sept 2, 2023 shows the Datengxia water resources management facility in Southwest China.  (PHOTO / XINHUA)

An English-language publication highlighting President Xi Jinping's insights into water governance has been well received by international experts, who noted its potential in offering solutions to countries grappling with a water crisis exacerbated by climate change.

The experts shared their observations during the eight-day 10th World Water Forum, which concluded on Saturday in Bali, Indonesia. The event featured the launch on Tuesday of the book Water Governance in China: Perspectives of Xi Jinping.

One of the key parts of the book is an innovative philosophy on water governance that Xi proposed in 2014.It focuses on "prioritizing water conservation, balancing spatial distribution, adopting systematic approaches and leveraging the roles of both government and market".

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The president stressed that water governance includes multiple aspects, such as development and utilization, regulation and allocation, and conservation and protection.

The key focus at present, in terms of mindset, awareness and action, is water conservation, and "we must prioritize water conservation to orchestrate a coordinated approach to water governance throughout the entire cycle", according to the book.

Li Guoying, minister of water resources, says in the book's foreword that Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, proposed the philosophy from the strategic perspective of achieving sustainable development for the Chinese nation.

The president has also provided insights into a series of significant theoretical and practical issues, including why water issues should be addressed in the new era, and what should be done and how to do it, forming a body of new concepts, ideas and strategies for water governance, Li said.

"Guided by his water governance principles, China has achieved historic successes and undergone transformative changes and improvements in water governance," the minister said, highlighting the country's capacity "to prevent floods and droughts, save, optimally allocate, and make efficient use of water resources, and protect and manage river and lake ecosystems".

With only 6 percent of the world's freshwater resources, China has managed to ensure food and water security for nearly 20 percent of the global population, and has contributed more than 18 percent of the world's economic output, Li noted.

Highlighting the book as the first systematic introduction to China's water governance principles and technologies, Li Lifeng, director of the Land and Water Division at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, said he believes it will contribute to the future water management practices of countries around the world.

With a series of methods and concepts ranging from water conservation and storage to flood management, China has an array of practices that can be shared with other nations, he said.

Philippe Gourbesville, president of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research, said the book "is presenting a strategy for China for addressing the main issues that are coming in the next decades, especially achieving water security".

Nebiyou Kassahun, from the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, who is a doctoral student majoring in hydrology and water resources, said, "The book gives a detailed description of philosophical aspects of water conservancy all over China, and I think that it is a good idea to share this with the rest of the world."

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"I also appreciate the fact that General Secretary Xi Jinping is able to emphasize these things, because it is actually a really current global issue, a global problem right now," he added.

Pedro Liberato, former director-general of the department of international relations of Portugal's Ministry of Environment and Climate Action, lauded China's timely mindset on water governance.

China's experiences in water resources management hold significant global relevance, particularly as the nation is adapting its water governance strategies to address evolving challenges posed by climate change, he said.

"China has the experience that is very important to have at this moment," Liberato said, adding that the nation recognizes "that some of the good solutions 10 years ago are not the best ones anymore because of the extreme events".

houliqiang@chinadaily.com.cn