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Comments by the Chinese Delegation on the Issue of Water at CSD12
(20 April 2004, New York)


Mr. Chairman:

In pursuing sustainable development strategy, our understanding of the sustainable use of water resources is its supporting role in the sustainable social and economic development. Major progress in China in sustainable water use include:

1. Water Agenda 21 was part of China's Agenda 21 after the 1992 UNCED;

2. After 2002 WSSD, China undertook a massive water-resource mapping and planning endeavor at the national and local levels. The planning encompasses the following components: water-resource survey and assessment; survey and assessment of water-resource development and utilization; forecast of water demand and supply; strategies and action plans for water conservation, water-resource protection and allocation; and assessment of the effectiveness of planning. Compared with previous plans of a similar nature, the new plans are much more comprehensive, in-depth and extensive and are expected to complete by 2005.

3. Efforts are being made by the Chinese Government to realize the JPOI goals to 2015, especially to solve the drinking water difficulties in rural areas. Between 2000-2002, the central government invested a total of 5.7 billion yuan special treasury bond funds in water supply project in rural China, with the concentration on helping western provinces solve the problem of lacking water. And 3.409 million people benefited from this project. Up to 2002, China has solved drinking water difficulties for 2600 million rural population in total.

4. The Chinese Government has summarized experiences in water management and

has crafted a water strategy that meets China's national conditions:

- Human-centered and promoting harmony between man and nature.

- Enhancing the allocation, conservation and preservation of water resource while emphasizing the development, utilization and harnessing of water resource.

- Establishing in a gradual manner a water-right system and water market.

- Establishing an investment and financing regime and project management procedure for water conservation works that is compatible with market economy practices.

- Establishing a unified system for managing water resource that combines management by catchment with management by region.

- Modernizing water conservation with information technology and supporting sustainable socioeconomic development with water sustainability.

Following this strategy, some pioneering practices have been proceeded, such as water saving pilot communities, water-right trade pilots, irrigation management participation by water user, reform on the water administration and water pricing, flood management, catchment management for soil erosion control and vegetation recovery, integrated water distribution in Yellow River and other rivers, increase water use for wetland recovery.

5. A preliminary legal framework regulating water sustainability and relevant policies has been established, such as Water Law, the Anti-Flood Law, Law of Water and Soil Preservation, and Law of Prevention of Water Pollution, as well as water sector policy, water saving policy, "grain for green" policy.

Mr. Chairman,

China has made some achievement in the sustainable water use by feeding 22 per cent of the world population and support its economic development with 6 per cent of the world renewable water resources. However, China has very uneven water distribution, frequent flooding and draught disasters, plus water pollution and soil erosion. In addressing our water issue, China will seek international cooperation in terms of technology, finance and management experiences.

The Chinese delegation suggests:

1. In addressing sustainable water use issues, the integrated water management plan should be made based on the combination of the universal sustainable development concept and the domestic conditions;

2. Better government management is very important in order to help the poverty region and vulnerable communities, to provide the laws and policies, to formulate and enforce the integrated water plan, and to manage the river basin from both the river basin manner and administrative zone manner;

3. Capacity in water management is crucial. Developed countries should help developing countries in this respect.

Thank you.

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