China has organized training programs for the development of water resources that could serve the needs of countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior official said.
Such programs have benefited 1,700 officials and technicians from 112 countries.
Liu Zhiguang, director for international cooperation, science and technology of the Ministry of Water Resources, said China looks forward to contributing more to world water governance, making full use of opportunities the initiative creates.
In its latest move, the ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, initiated a project that awards full scholarships to 150 people from BRI countries to earn master’s degrees in China, Liu told China Daily.
In cooperation with Hohai University in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, the ministry has provided funding to 60 officials and technicians from countries along the Mekong River basin, including Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, for training in postgraduate courses, including hydrology, water resources and hydropower, he said.
The Hangzhou Regional Center (Asia-Pacific) for Small Hydro Power, established in 1981 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, stands out as one of the major contributors to the development of water projects in BRI countries.
The center has organized training since 2014 in Indonesia, Nepal, Rwanda and Ethiopia, and many of the participants are from BRI countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Africa. The center started to hold training especially for BRI countries in China in 2017. In addition to English, the center is capable of offering training in French and Russian. It has research centers established in Pakistan, Indonesia and Ethiopia, and will build another one in Serbia, it said.
Liu said his ministry has signed cooperation agreements with more than 60 countries and has set up at least 30 regular exchange mechanisms that include flood defense, water resource protection and management, irrigation and drainage, hydropower development and capacity building.
China and the European Union held the first EU-China Water Policy Dialogue early in April, and the China-Europe Water Platform, which was established in 2012, has held six high-level dialogues that have “effectively promoted policy exchange, cooperation over scientific research and development, and business partnership”.
China has also been promoting cooperation over cross-boundary rivers with neighboring countries, which “has not only helped these countries improve their capability in water resources management but also enhanced mutual understanding and trust”, Liu said.
With cooperation mechanisms on cross-boundary rivers with 12 countries, China holds more than 40 conferences, seminars and joint investigations with these countries every year, he added.
When countries downstream are stricken by flood or drought, China takes a series of measures, including launching emergency water diversion and offering flood control consultation, to help them through difficulties, he said.
“With the Belt and Road Initiative, which creates more cooperation opportunities with even a stronger collaborative environment, the prospect for China’s international cooperation on water conservancy will be increasingly broader.”