The 10th board meeting of Asia Water Council (AWC) was held in Wuhan On September 24. Tian Xuebin, Vice Minister of Water Resources, attended the opening ceremony of the meeting and delivered a speech. Haksoo Lee, Chairman of AWC and President of Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water), Thongphat Inthavong, Vice Minister of Energy and Mines of Laos, and Somkiat Prajamwong, Secretary-General of Office of National Water Resources of Thailand, were also present at the meeting.
Tian Xuebin pointed out that AWC provides a platform for Asian countries and international organizations, to exchange water management experiences, builds a bridge of communication and cooperation, and promote regional sustainable development. The Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) spoke highly of achievements made by AWC over the past three years. As a founding member, MWR has supported and participated the AWC activities for personnel exchanges and technical assistance, and has made great contribution to its sustainable development.
According to Tian Xuebin, Asia is the birthplace of ancient human civilization, and feeds two-thirds of the world's population with only one-third of global land and one-third of global water resources. Asia also gives birth to prosperity and development of 47 countries and more than 1,000 nations. Affected by rapid progress of industrialization and urbanization and intensified impacts of global climate change, Asia suffers from more prominent water shortages, frequent water disasters, water ecological degradation and water environmental pollutions.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to water, and highlights the role of water governance in economic and social development. After years of efforts, China has built up a complete flood control, irrigation and water supply systems. In recent years, development and utilization of water resources as well as management and protection of rivers and lakes have been strengthened in an all-round way, and water security capability has been constantly improved, along with the implementation of stringent water resource management system, river chief system, lake chief system and other innovative measures.
Under the “Belt and Road” Initiative, China is willing to conduct technical exchange, share knowledge and experience with all countries in the world, in a bid to cope with water challenges and issues. Tian Xuebin called on joint efforts in achieving water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to advance economic and social prosperity and development through sustainable utilization of water resources.
Mr. Haksoo Lee expressed gratitude to MWR and Changjiang Water Resources Commission for hosting this meeting, and highly appreciated MWR’s contribution to AWC and its efforts in encouraging Chinese institutions to join AWC. It is expected that the board meeting of AWC could boost cooperation and implementation of water projects, and contribute to capacity building and personnel exchanges, for sustainable development and effective water governance in Asian countries.
AWC was established in March 2016, and its Secretariat is located in Seoul, South Korea. Currently, it has 137 member units from 27 countries, including 27 board member units. The 10th board meeting of AWC was aimed to review AWC’s recent progress and working plans in the next stage, and also make preparations for the 2nd Asian International Water Week. About 60 representatives from Asian countries attended the meeting.