On March 22, World Water Day, the MWR China-UNESCO-Africa Water Side Event was convened in the UNESCO Pavilion of Water Exhibition of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal in a combination of online and offline modes. Abou Amani, Director of the UNESCO Division of Water Sciences, presided over the Opening Ceremony. Li Guoying, Minister of Water Resources of China, and Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant DirectorGeneral of UNESCO, attended and addressed the Water Side Event. Yu Zhongbo, Chairman of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), Professor of Hohai University (HHU), and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, attended the Water Side Event online.
Minister Li said that the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic of China (MWR China) and UNESCO have carried out extensive cooperation in such areas as high-end forums, promotion of science and technology programs, scientific research cooperation and talent cultivation. In recent years, through signing memorandums of understanding, establishing regularexchange mechanisms,the MWR China has kept deepeningbilateral water partnershipwith African countries, and harvested rich fruits in the spheres of integrated water resources management, comprehensive river basin planning, green development of small hydropower stations, and hydraulic and hydropower engineering survey. Minister Li proposed to take the tripartite water cooperation between China, UNESCO and Africa as an opportunity to make targeted efforts in key areas, innovate in cooperation models, strengthen cooperation on water resources, enhance African capacity for water resources security, and make positive contributions to Africa's accelerated realization of the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Professor Yu Zhongbo introduced the cooperation framework between MWR China and UNESCO and the recent action plans to support the capacity building and cooperation on water resources in Africa. Under the framework of the Ninth Phase of UNESCO-IHP (2022-2029), UNESCO prioritizes strengthening the human resource and institutional capacity building of African member states to address water challenges in terms of scientific research and innovation, water education, integrated water resources management, and scientific water governance. China will support African member states in facilitating multi-party cooperation, exchanges and experience sharing on water issues, promoting the training of young experts in water-related technologies, strengthening thecultivation of international students, establishing the Belt and Road Science and Technology Fund, and organizing international water-related activities.
The Water Side Event is an important high-level activity held during the 9th World Water Forum. Attendees included Liu Zhiguang, Director of the Department of International Cooperation, Science and Technology of MWR China, Lin Zuoding, Director of the Department of Hydrology of MWR China, and Chairman of the Chinese National Committee for the UNESCO-IHP, and other heads of relevant departments of MWR China, as well as Shen Xuesong, Minister Counselor of the Permanent Mission of China to UNESCO, and representatives of the Secretariat of China'sNational Commission for UNESCO.