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China, EU ink joint statement on water cooperation


08:28, March 15, 2012

MARSEILLE, France, March 14 (Xinhua) -- China and the European Union (EU) signed the Joint Statement upon Establishment of China-Europe Water Platform (CEWP) to boost water cooperation on Wednesday.

China's Ministry of Water Resources and the EU presidency currently held by Denmark, on behalf of the EU member states and Croatia, agree to establish the CEWP with the political support of the EU Water Initiative (EUWI) "based on reciprocity and mutual benefit," the statement said.

The platform will involve various stakeholders, which may include government agencies, river basin authorities, research institutes, municipalities, NGOs and the private sector etc., according to the statement inked at the China-Europe Water Platform Conference held on the sidelines of the Sixth World Water Forum.

The cooperation "will be assisted by a European Secretariat hosted by one of the member states and a Chinese Secretariat hosted by Ministry of Water Resources," said the document.

"The activities of the CEWP may include policy dialogue, joint research, and business-oriented projects and will be implemented with funding made available by both sides," said the joint statement.

China's Ministry of Water Resources has signed bilateral agreements or Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with water authorities of 17 European countries, said Chen Lei, China's Minister of Water Resources, at the China-Europe Water Platform Conference.

The minister highlighted the five years' successful implementation of the EU-China River Basin Management Programme (RMBP), which has promoted policy dialogues, technical exchanges and reciprocal cooperation between river basin authorities of China and Europe.

The CEWP marks the establishment of the long-term cooperation platform between China and Europe, he said.

"I hope that that our two side will ... boost the collaboration to continually promote China-Europa water cooperation in breadth and depth and make new contributions to the development of the existing comprehensive strategic partnership between China and EU," said Chen.

Danish Environment Minister Ida Auken signed the statement together with Chen.

The joint statement could be upgraded into a MOU after passing relevant procedures and obtaining legal approval.

As the world's largest meeting around water, the triennial water forum was launched under the theme of "Time for Solutions" in the southern French city of Marseille on Monday to address the planet's deepening crisis of fresh water.


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