China and the EU strengthen cooperation to improve water security
Today, on 21 September 2017, China, the European Commission and several EU Member States signed a Declaration in Turku to strengthen water cooperation between the EU and China. The aim is to join forces to promote sustainable development and improve water security. China and the EU also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish dialogue on water policy.
Solving water problems has a key role in the UN sustainable Development Goals that should be achieved by 2030. One of the 17 goals aims at securing access to clean water and sanitation for all. Water security is also important in terms of reaching many of the other goals.
– Finnish water expertise has a lot of demand in China, both in water protection and in the control of dam and flood risks. For example, our companies have sold equipment for the treatment of sewage sludge and monitoring dam safety. Joint efforts are also made to improve the state of Lake Taihu, the third largest lake in China. The work started by research in 2012 and now continues with practical measures as part of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Water Resources of China. The lake is the source of drinking water for many large cities, including Shanghai. The Finnish model of public-private cooperation and successful practical experiences, such as the restoration of Lake Vesijärvi in Lahti and Lake Pyhäjärvi in Säkylä, serve as encouraging examples, says Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen.
Cooperation between companies
Water is in a key position in circular economy as well. This is one of the sectors on the agenda in the discussions on business opportunities in the Business Event for Chinese and European companies held in Turku in the afternoon. There is also an extensive matchmaking event where more than 130 Chinese and European companies seek new cooperation opportunities.
The event is also the Annual High Level Dialogue Conference of the China-Europe Water Platform CEWP. The meetings and events have attracted almost 400 visitors from more than 20 countries. CEWP is a collaboration network of the European Union and China for the policy dialogue, research and business in the water sector.
Several ministers present
Finland is very active in the work of the CEWP. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will head the EU CEWP Secretariat in 2018–2019. The responsible organisation in China is the Ministry of Water Resources. Minister Jari Leppä met Minister of Water Resources of China Chen Lei yesterday. The ministers discussed the ways to develop bilateral cooperation and saw great opportunities in several fields, extending from water services and water protection to dam safety and climate change adaptation.
Besides the Finnish Ministers, the Minister of Water Resources of China Chen Lei, Minister of the Environment of Estonia Siim Kiisler, Minister for the Environment of Sweden Karolina Skog and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment are also present.
The event is organised by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Water Resources of China and the EU Commission together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland, City of Turku, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, Regional Council of Satakunta and Southwest Coast Platform for Water Expertise.
Seppo Rekolainen, Director of International Water Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry seppo.rekolainen(at)mmm.fi, tel. +358 295 162 086
Olli-Matti Verta, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, olli-matti.verta(at)mmm.fi, tel. +358 295 162 123
Antton Keto, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, antton.keto(at)ym.fi, p. +358 295 250 148