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China is willing to promote sustainable development in global water resources management by sharing its water-control technologies and experiences, a senior official said this week.
Ye Jianchun, vice-minister of water resources, made the comment at the opening ceremony for the 8th Global FRIEND-Water Conference, which is being held in Beijing from Tuesday to Friday. FRIEND stands for Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data.
Water safety problems, including drought and flood, water shortages and pollution, and damage to aquatic ecology, have been becoming more pronounced in countries around the world, including China, and have been hindering sustainable global development, he said.
The Chinese government has been endeavoring to promote ecological protection and a water-saving society and has established the largest system for river governance and water resources development in the world, Ye added.
With only 6 percent of the world's fresh water and 9 percent of the world's farmland, China manages to support 20 percent of the world's population. The country has also managed to provide safe drinking water to 500 million rural residents, he said.
"China would like to make use of the important platform of the conference to discuss water-control experiences, share water-control technologies, and promote the capability of safeguarding water safety with countries across the world to promote the sustainable global development of water resources management," Ye said.
Cai Jianyuan, director-general of hydrology at the Ministry of Water Resources, said on Thursday it was the first time China has hosted the conference.
The country has seen great developments in water resource management, especially in the past decade, and the country's green development philosophy is in accordance with international society's call for better water resources management, Cai said.
However, he said many foreign experts were unaware of those developments due to a lack of communication, and the conference offered them an opportunity to learn more about them.
Andras Szollosi-Nagy, chair of the planning committee for the Sustainable Water Future Program, a platform facilitating international scientific collaboration in addressing the world's water problems, highlighted China's contributions to addressing the water safety issue.
China boasts of the only university in the world devoted to water science and education, Hehai University in Jiangsu's provincial capital Nanjing, which "has become a powerful and leading intellectual force in water science in the whole world", he said.
"And particularly now, as climate change has become an important political issue and as water is the most important component of the climate system, China has already played a very important role in looking at how water resources management strategies can be adapted to climate change," he said.
He also said China has been undertaking large-scale water ecosystem restoration programs unmatched elsewhere in the world.
Abou Amani, chief of UNESCO's Section on Hydrological Systems and Water Scarcity, said the conference is important [MG_SEO]as it has gathered many scientists together to share knowledge and scientific research and identify key issues so that water management can be improved around the world.