United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Please Check Against Delivery .
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yishan,
Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations,
at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for the CSD13 on Water
(1 March, 2005, New York)
Mr. Chairman,
As a basic natural resource, water is a controlling element of the ecological
environment, as well as a basis on which mankind depends for its survival . The
sustainable use of water is an important component of sustainable economic and
social development . Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right and
also an important element of poverty eradication . Both the Millennium Summit and
the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) have incorporated safe
drinking water into their priority development agenda . According to related statistics,
over the past decade or so, the situation of drinking water of nine hundred million
people in the world has been improved . Yet, to attain the goal of safe drinking water
by 2015, there is a need to solve the drinking water problem facing another 1 .6 billion
people. Urbanization, industrialization and population growth have given rise to an
increased demand for water resources, aggravated pollution of water sources and
mounted pressure on water supply facilities, adding to the difficulty in realizing preset
At present, developing countries are lagging behind in terms of the sustainable
use, preservation and management of water resources . The major obstacles to
achieving safe drinking water goals relate to scarcity of funds, backwardness of
technology, imperfection of systems, poor intersectoral coordination, inconsistency
between national and local policies and regulations, mismanagement, and lack of
holistic human settlement planning .
The period between 2005 and 2015 has been proclaimed as the International
Decade for Action, "Water for Life" . The international community should
capitalize on this opportunity to step up cooperation, so as to promote the
accomplishment of safe drinking water goals . Countries should take steps to beef up
integrated water resources management, improve water allocation, enhance water use
I r,
efficiency, reduce costs, implement pro-poor policies, and strengthen governments'
capacity in water resources planning and coordination . The international community
and developed countries should also take practical actions to assist developing
countries in tackling some perennial problems in the field of financial resources,
technology and capacity building .
Mr. Chairman,
China regards the development and management of water resources as the
foundation and safeguards for its national economic development and , has
incorporated it into the overall planning for national sustainable development . The
Chinese Government has undertaken the following activities in the sustainable use of
water resources:
1 . In a follow-up to the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and
Development, the Chinese Government formulated China's Agenda 21, which
includes its Water Agenda 21 ;
2. To fulfill the commitments at the WSSD, the Chinese Government has,
since 2002, been developing a comprehensive national water resources plan, which is
expected to be completed by the end of this year . The planning encompasses the
following components : water resource survey and assessment, including its
development and utilization ; forecast of water demand and supply ; water conservation,
water resource preservation and allocation ; the layout and programme of
implementation as regards the development, utilization and protection of water
resources; and assessment of the results of implementation . In addition, in a bid to
attain the safe drinking water goals by 2015, the Chinese Government has stepped up
its effort to solve the drinking water problem in rural areas . To date, China has solved
drinking water problems for nearly 300 million rural residents in total .
3 . Over the years, through practices and explorations, the Chinese Government
has gradually come up with a line of thinking governing the sustainable use of water
resources . The focus is on the harmony between man and nature . While emphasizing
the development, utilization and harnessing of water resources, due attention is paid to
their allocation, conservation and preservation . An integrated water resources
management system has been established gradually, characterized by a water-right
regime, water markets, and a combination of management by catchment with
management by region . Along this line of thinking, a series of concrete measures
have been developed and put in practice .
4. A preliminary legal and policy framework regulating water sustainability
has been established and implemented, composed of the Water Law, Anti-Flood Law,
Law on Water and Soil Preservation, and Law on Prevention of Water Pollution, as
well as policies regarding water industry, water conservation, reforestation and
poverty reduction .
China has made some achievements in the sustainable water use by feeding 22
percent of the world' s population and supporting their economic development with 6
percent of the world' s renewable water resources . However, due to the extremely
uneven distribution of water, China remains a developing country susceptible to
frequent floods and droughts . Such problems as scarcity of water, water pollution,
deterioration of water environment and soil erosion are yet to be completely solved .
Due to the complex nature of the question of water, China needs to intensify its
international cooperation in the field of technology, funding and management . China
looks forward to further collaboration with all parties in this field in a joint effort to
promote the realization of safe drinking water goals .
Thank you, Mr . Chairman .