Recently, a delegation led by Mr. Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources, paid an official visit to Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, with the aim of strengthening cooperation in water sector with key countries along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative.
During the visit to Indonesia, Minister Chen Lei carried out extensive and in-depth exchanges on water resources with Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, and visited the Jatigede Dam – the second largest reservoir in Indonesia, which was constructed by PowerChina. Minister Chen Lei pointed out that China and Indonesia are good neighbors, good friends and good partners, and two sides have a broad space for cooperation in the field of water resources. Minister Chen Lei introduced the relevant measures and experiences of China in the aspects of water resources management, water project construction, Taihu Lake restoration and protection, and river chief system. The following suggestions were raised for furthering up bilateral water cooperation. First, to conduct high-level exchange and policy dialogue and deepen mutual understanding. Second, to encourage river basin authorities and research institutions to conduct technical exchange and cooperation in an innovative way. Third, to strengthen cooperation under the framework of International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, Asian Water Council and other multilateral cooperation platforms. Fourth, to enhance cooperation in obtaining UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals with joint efforts. Minister Basuki Hadimuljono conveyed his high appreciation of above future cooperation proposals. He expressed his readiness for all-round cooperation with China in the fields of climate change adaptation, dam construction and management and lake restoration and protection.
During the visit to Malaysia, a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Water Resources Field between Government of People's Republic of China and Government of Malaysia was signed. The delegation visited flood control project of Smart Tunnel and port development project. Minister Chen Lei emphasized that although Malaysia and China have different national and water conditions, both countries are confronted with severe challenges in safeguarding sustainable development of economy and society with sustainable utilization of water resources, under the context of accelerated industrialization, urbanization and unfavorable impacts of global climate change. Minister Chen Lei proposed five areas for future cooperation. First, to strengthen cooperation in the formulation and implementation of water laws, regulations and policies. Second, to deepen cooperation in the fields of integrated management and sustainable utilization of water resources, and exchange and cooperation between water authorities, river basin authorities and local water departments of the two countries. Third, to expand cooperation in the field of construction of water infrastructures and water and hydropower development between the two countries. Fourth, to enhance cooperation in the aspects of flood control, drought relief, disaster mitigation, hydrological forecasting and early warning, as well as flood risk management. Fifth, strengthen coordination in international water affairs. Minister Wan Junaidi highly appreciated China’s green development strategy and Minister Chen’s suggestions for future cooperation. He emphasized the importance of improved bilateral water cooperation, especially in the fields of water project construction, project financing, personnel training and capacity building under the framework of MOU. He also highlighted the cooperation between China and Malaysia under the Belt and Road Initiative.
During his stay in Bangladesh, Minister Chen Lei conducted a friendly and fruitful meeting with Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and visited Water Development Commission and Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Center. Minister Chen Lei mentioned that the peoples of two countries drink water from the same Brahmaputra-Jamuna River. He expressed China’s willingness to share experiences, enhance mutual understanding and deepen effective cooperation with Bangladesh within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Minister Chen also raised five proposals for deepening bilateral cooperation between two countries. First, to further strengthen high-level communication and exchanges on water issues of mutual concerns. Second, to jointly promote the successful implementation of the Bangladesh flood control planning cooperation project undertaken by Yellow River Engineering Consulting Co., Ltd under the Yellow River Conservancy Commission. Third, to carry out more training activities for young engineers in Bangladesh. Fourth, to accelerate cooperation between Water Development Commission of Bangladesh and China’s institutions for water resources and hydropower research. Fifth, to promote bilateral cooperation in the fields of hydrological monitoring and water information system. Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud mentioned that Bangladesh is facing a series of water problems such as floods, droughts, sedimentation and seawater intrusion etc. and China’s achievements and experiences are worth of learning. He expressed his hope that the two sides cooperate in the fields of river dredging, embankment reinforcement, construction of drainage facilities, reform of agricultural water pricing system and pollution control. Minister Mahmud further highlighted that companies are welcomed to participate in the construction of water infrastructures in Bangladesh and provide technical support in planning, design, scientific research and training.