From March 18 to 22, the United Nations convened a High-Level Meeting on the Implementation of the Water-Related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at its headquarters in New York. Mr. Li Guoying, Minister of Water Resources, attended the meeting and delivered a speech by video.
Minister Li pointed out that water is the fundamental resource supporting sustainable economic, social, and ecological development. The outbreak of COVID-19 has shed light on the significance of basic drinking water services for the treatment of epidemic diseases, therefore, realizing the water-related goals and targets of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is vital and urgent.
Minister Li noted that China has been adhering to the new development concept of innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing, and thoroughly practiced the water governance philology of “prioritizing water conservation, balancing spatial distribution, taking systematic approaches,and giving full play to the roles of both government and market”.
During the period of the 13th Five Year Plan, considerable progress has been made in achieving the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. In the sphere of comprehensively improving the level of drinking water security for rural residents, the level of water supply security for 270 million rural populations has been consolidated and improved, and the rural tap water penetration rate has reached 83%. According to the current standards, drinking water safety for China's once poverty-stricken population has been ensured.
In relation to implementing integrated water resources management and raising water use efficiency, China has rolled out the strictest water resources management regime, accelerated river basin protection legislation, strictly managed water withdrawal permits, and pushed forward primary water right allocation and unified scheduling of water resources for key cross-provincial rivers. Besides, China has introduced National Water-Saving Action Plan and vigorously enforced the dual caps on total water consumption and water use intensity. National water consumption has been effectively controlled under 610 billion m3 a year.
In the aspect of improving water ecosystem protection, China has intensified the river/lake chief system, stepped up the holistic management of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands, and geared up river and lake protection and water ecological restoration. The protection of water resources and the monitoring of water quantity, quality, and ecology have been enhanced, and the comprehensive control of groundwater overdraft has been actively practiced.
In the respect of deepening transboundary water cooperation, China has set up cooperation mechanisms that are commensurate with national conditions and river basin characteristics with neighboring countries, and has achieved pragmatic and fruitful results regarding hydrological information sharing, flood control, and disaster mitigation, emergencies response, and joint water project construction, etc.
Minister Li stressed that China stands ready to comprehensively accomplish water goals of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda through adhering to a safe, green, low-carbon, circular, and sustainable development strategy. Li proposed that all countries should strengthen cooperation on water resources, take advantage of various UN mechanisms to exchange best experiences extensively, adopt effective measures to overcome epidemic impacts, and jointly push forward the process of delivering water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting was presided over by H.E. Mr.Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Heads of state or government from Tajikistan, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Thailand, Egypt, and Nepal, as well as ministers from more than 70 countries attended the meeting and spoke by video. In their speeches, representatives from various countries confirmed their great attention to the progress of water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, and called for reinforcing water resources protection, deepening international cooperation and upgrading technological innovation, and realizing water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda in an expediate manner.
The goal of the High-Level UN meeting is to raise global awareness of the importance and urgency of implementing the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as to promote partnership-building, share solutions and lessons, and coordinate and synergize actions.