On March 22, the MWR China - UNESCO - Africa Water Side Event of the 9th World Water Forum was convened in Senegal. Mr. Li Guoying, Minister of Water Resources of China (herein after as MWR), attended the event and delivered a speech by video.
Minister Li pointed out that MWR attached great importance to its cooperation with UNESCO. Since 1984, when the first UNESCO Category II Center was established in China, MWR has carried out extensive cooperation with UNESCO in such areas as high-level forums, promotion of science and technology programs, scientific research collaboration, cultural exchanges and talent cultivation. In recent years, through signing memorandums of understanding on cooperation and establishing regular exchange mechanisms, MWR has kept deepening bilateral water partnership with multiple African countries and harvested rich fruits in the spheres of integrated water resources management, comprehensive river-basin planning, rural drinking water, green development of small hydropower stations, water-saving irrigation, rainwater collection and utilization, and hydraulic and hydropower engineering survey.
Minsiter Li highlighted that Africa was the world’s second most populous continent, and sub-Saharan Africa was home to half of the world’s population without access to basic drinking water. Africa has a long way to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly and the 2035 Vision for China-Africa Cooperation jointly announced by Chinese and African leaders are highly compatible with Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. MWR stands ready to join hands with UNESCO to focus on key areas, innovate cooperation models, strengthen water collaboration, share and exchange successful experience and mature technologies, enhance African capacity for water security, and make positive contributions to Africa’s accelerated achievements of the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Minsiter Li proposed to take the traditional China-Africa friendship as the cornerstone and the tri-party water cooperation between China, UNESCO and Africa as an opportunity to pool resources, deepen practical cooperation and jointly step up green, stable and sustainable development in Africa.
Madam Nair bedouelle, Assistant Director General of Natural Science of UNESCO, was in attendance at the meeting and delivered a speech. She noted that affected by water shortage and climate change, the disaster resistance and response capacity of Africa was relatively weak, and there was an urgent need to gear up the comprehensive utilization, management and governance capacities of water resources. China and UNESCO have accumulated abundant experience in relevant fields and are willing to help Africa better push forward the implementation of the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through cooperation in practical projects.
The MWR China - UNESCO - Africa Water Side Event was an important high-level event held during the 9th World Water Forum. The meeting reviewed the fruitful results of China-Africa Water cooperation and UNESCO cooperation projects in Africa, and discussed accelerating the implementation of the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Africa. Heads of relevant departments of MWR, representatives of the permanent mission of China to UNESCO and the Secretariat of China's National Commission for UNESCO attended the meeting.