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China-EU water cooperation took a leap forward – historical meeting at the Turku Castle

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Publication date 6.10.2017 14.43
News item

The annual meeting of the China Europe Water Platform CEWP in Turku on 20-22 September was comprised of a high-level ministerial conference, a business event and a section on research. The Annual High-Level Dialogue Conference of the CEWP was held on Thursday 21 September at the Turku Castle.

Also present were 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. The Finnish representative was the Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen.The China Europe Water Platform CEWP is a collaboration network of the European Union and China for policy dialogue, research and business in the water sector. 

Global actions to address global problems

The spacious Kings Hall at the Turku Castle gave a royal touch to the event. The themes of the panel discussions that followed the welcoming speeches included water objectives in the UN sustainable development goals, circular economy and green development.

As the Minister of Water Resources of China Chen Lei said in his opening speech, to achieve the sustainable development goals we must provide the best possible opportunities for water cooperation between the EU and China that also serves as an example for other, and take an active part in the management of water issues on the global scale. The aim is to promote recycling, water protection, efficient use of water and water security. 

The discussions were followed by the signing of a Declaration on deeper EU-China water cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding to establish dialogue on water policy.

– The Memorandum of Understanding on water policy dialogue signed today is not only welcomed but a necessity.  This is how we can show our commitment to taking joint action to address the common challenges. Water is the source of life. Climate change, pollution and the growing demand impose completely new kinds of pressures. Now we are showing that global actions are needed to deal with global problems, Environment Commissioner Vella said in his press release.

– Today we took a major step forward. Water is a precondition for all wellbeing.  The only way to solve the global water problems is through international collaboration and public-private partnerships, says Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Cooperation between companies and researchers

The business section of the meeting included an extensive matchmaking event where almost 150 companies sought new cooperation opportunities. Participants from China, Finland, Sweden and Portugal were the largest in numbers. The research section was held at the same time with the business event.

At the end of the event the participants learned about Finnish water expertise at Clewer, a company that offers solutions to wastewater management, and Kakola wastewater treatment plant.

The three-day event attracted almost 400 visitors from more than 20 countries. Next year the CEWP will convene in Beijing. The event was organised by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry together with the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland, City of Turku, Turku Science Park, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, Regional Council of Satakunta, Southwest Coast Platform for Water Expertise, Ministry of Water Resources of China and the EU Commission The CEWP Secretariat is currently being managed by Denmark, and for 2018-2019 this task will be transferred the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland.

Pictures from Turku Castle
Pictures from business event
Pictures from Kakola wastewater treatment plant