On August 23, 2017, Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) convened the press conference to report the progress on implementation of River Chief System. Mr. Zu Leiming, Director General of Department of Construction and Management and Head of Leading Group Office for River Chief System Promotion, and Mr. Cheng Xiaobing, Counselor of Department of Water Resources, introduced relevant situations and answered questions from reporters.
In November 2016, General Office of the CPC Central Committee and General Office of the State Council unveiled the Guidance for Full Implementation of River Chief System. Currently, the work have been smoothly progressing, and the implementation of river chief system has drawn wide attention from all circles of the society. Since the release of the Guidance, MWR has worked closely with relevant departments to vigorously promote the system. It has progressed in a smooth way and the overall results have been beyond our expectations.
I. General situation
1. Working plans of all provinces were completed and put into implementation. The working plans of 31 provinces and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps were all completed before July 20, five months ahead of schedule.
2. River chiefs at all levels were appointed successively. All provinces appointed the general provincial chiefs of rivers and river chiefs of major rivers and lakes in provinces.
3. Offices of river chiefs were set up. All provinces (including autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government) have set up offices of river chiefs, and specified leading department and participating departments.
4. Management systems have been built by MWR, including river chief consultation conference, information sharing system, information reporting system, monitoring and supervision system, performance evaluation and accountability system as well as incentive and award, and finally check and acceptance system.
5. The timeline for the establishment of provincial river chief systems was defined. A total of 23 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, declared to establish river chief system by the end of 2017, and other 8 provinces, including Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Guangxi, Shaanxi, Tibet, Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang, as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, shall complete the establishment of river chief system by the end of June, 2018. According to the plans, the goal of establishing national river chief system by the end of 2018 that defined by the central government shall be accomplished ahead of schedule.
II. Effort made by MWR for implementation of river chief system
Early this year, MWR issued Working Contents for Full Implementation of River Chief System, specified work priorities in 2017, and worked closely with relevant departments to take various measures for implementing the system at local level.
Firstly, leadership has been highlighted by establishing inter-ministerial coordination mechanism. With the approval of the State Council, the inter-ministerial joint meeting mechanism for full implementation of river chief system was built. It was led by MWR and composed by National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Environmental Protection, and other concerned ministries.
Secondly, supervision and inspection have been strengthened by MWR for improved implementation and a Leading Group headed by Minister Chen Lei was established.
Thirdly, training and other exchange activities have been carried out. Two training courses on the river chief system were held by MWR in Zhengzhou and Nanjing respectively.
Fourthly, strong guidance has been provided in order to make progress in a well-organized manner. Work Priorities in the near future for River Chief System issued by MWR include 16 key tasks, such as “one river one policy” program and establishment of information system and platform.
Fifthly, performance evaluation and supervision have been emphasized by launching the mid-term assessment program which shall be initiated by the end of 2017.
Sixthly, local practice has been guided. With release of Notice on Strengthening Working Principles for Full Implementation of River Chief System, MWR has urged the locals to speed up perfection of working principles for implementing the system.
III. Work and Arrangements in the near future
1. MWR will formulate the Guidelines of “One River One Policy” Program for the preparation of program at all levels across the country.
2. From August 2017 onwards, MWR will convene video conference at the end of each month.
3. During the period of September-October 2017, MWR will launch the second nationwide supervision and inspection mission, and urge local governments to rectify problems discovered in the process.
4. MWR will collect success stories, summarize and refine good practices and successful experiences, and demonstrate good practices through briefings and media reports.
5. MWR is accelerating the development of information system for full implementation of river chief system, and formulating technical guidance for the establishment of management information system.
At the press conference, Director General Zu Leiming and Counselor Cheng Xiaobing also answered questions from People’s Daily, CCTV, Xinhua News Agency and other media agencies regarding to how to define the complete river chief system, how to supervise river chiefs by the public, how to use accountability and incentive measures to ensure the effectiveness of the river chief system, etc.