On July 13th, 2017, Mr. Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources, met a Malaysian delegation headed by Mr. Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, in Beijing. The two sides conducted in-depth discussions on the issues related to adaptation to global climate change, flood control, drought relief, disaster mitigation and integrated water resources management, and exchanged ideas on the implementation of MOU on water sector cooperation.
Minister Chen pointed out that currently the impact of global climate change aggravates and the suddenness and unpredictability of extreme weather events are increasingly prominent, which lead to severe challenges to all countries in the world. Due to special water situations in China, water problems including flood, water scarcity, water pollution and soil erosion are intertwined, and flood, water logging, drought and typhoon disasters frequently occurred. The Chinese government attaches great importance to flood control, drought relief and disaster mitigation, gives top priority to safety of people’s lives, formulates rules and regulations for flood control and drought relief under the framework of Water Law and Flood Control Law, establishes a 5-tier commanding structure for flood control and drought relief at central, river basin, provincial, municipal and county levels, implements administrative leader accountability system, and forms an integrated disaster reduction system for flood control, drought relief and typhoon prevention. Since the beginning of this flood season, some provinces have been hit by severe floods and the Chinese government has been striving to defend flood and safeguard people's lives, and trying its best to reduce flood damage.
At the request of the Malaysian side, Minister Chen made an introduction on the situation of integrated water resources management in China. With focus on the important concept of green development which highlights conservation and protection of water resources and the harmony between people and water through entire process of water conservation, protection, governance, allocation and management, the Chinese government has established the most stringent water resources management system, released action plans on water pollution prevention, implemented “three red lines” approach for regulation of water development and utilization, water use efficiency and pollutant load in water function zones, carried out dual control of water consumption in both quality and intensity, popularized highly-efficient and water-saving irrigation, promoted the campaign of water-saving society, encouraged utilization of renewable water, rainwater, desalinated water and other unconventional water resources, strengthened supervision of water function zones and protection and restoration of water ecosystem, and vigorously boosted the progress of urban and rural water ecological civilization.
Minister Chen noted that, in April of 2017 China and Malaysia signed the MOU on water resources cooperation, which was included in the outcome document of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. He suggested that, under the MOU framework, both sides shall upscale high-level visits, policy discussions, technical exchanges and personnel training, deepen pragmatic cooperation between river basin authorities, research institutes and water enterprises, share state-of-art concepts, technical know-how and cutting-edge expertise in water sector, enhance the level of water resources management, and make joint efforts for comprehensive strategic partnership between two countries.
Minister Wan Junaidi introduced the challenges faced by Malaysia in terms of adaptation to climate change, flood control, disaster alleviation and water resources management, as well as current situations on water governance and mechanism, water legislation, water allocation and conservation, early-warning and forecasting system for water-related disasters. Minister Wan Junaidi spoke highly of the Chinese achievements in water sector, and further expressed his readiness to learn the Chinese experiences in water resources management, especially successful practices of flood and drought disaster prevention, to facilitate new progress of water exchange and cooperation between China and Malaysia.
Officials from relevant departments of Ministry of Water Resources attended the meeting.