Grand plans to become beautiful
by China Water Risk 19 March, 2020
Grand plans to become beautiful: Everything is shutting down because of COVID-19: restaurants, malls, cities, even countries. Many events have been postponed including China’s largest annual political “Two Sessions” which usually takes place in early March. But now that its grand efforts have brought the virus under control in China, grand efforts to become beautiful will resume. As you can see from the Tapping In column, there are already multiple “beautifying” plans and policies released.
Yes, there is life beyond the virus … so to help from bouncing off the walls while working from home or self-quarantining, this month, we explore some of China’s grand plans to become beautiful…
First off, is a landmark property rights system for natural resources, an important cornerstone of China’s ministry reform in 2018. The creation of this rights system for each natural resource, from coal and gas to forests and water is envisaged to help China’s Ministry of Natural Resources achieve comprehensive management of these resources. What does this mean and where are the pilots? Read all about it in our review.
China has also drawn up grand plans for its river basins. We’ve talked about these for the Yangtze, but plans also exist for the Yellow River. Home to 150 million people and key to sustaining China’s food, energy and ecological security, it’s not surprising that President Xi reiterated the Yellow River’s importance in his New Year speech. So with China working on a draft of “Water Resource Special Plan for Ecological Protection and High Quality Development of the Yellow River”, get up to speed with Dr Zhanfeng Dong from the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning on various policies to achieve “黄河宁，天下平” – a stable Yellow River, peace in China.
Grand plans for the Yellow River also include mega infrastructure projects. Talk of the western route of the South-to-North Diversion Project diverting water from the Yangtze to the Yellow has resurfaced. Should water be diverted from the Upper Yangtze watershed? Is diversion even necessary given climate change? Chinadialogue’s Baiyu Gao shares her views.
Another area of focus is CSR. No doubt, China aims to transform and beautify its corporates through CSR. Chinese businesses have made big strides in embedding ESG and CSR issues into their decision-making, but they still have a long way to go – from the quality of reporting to polluters being protected by local governments. Water gurus Prof. Asit Biswas & Dr. Cecilia Tortajada expand the evolution of Chinese CSR.
We are also pleased to announce that Prof. Biswas and Dr. Tortajada have now officially joined our advisory panel – their combined global water knowledge and network are invaluable in helping CWR achieve our vision.
Closer to home in Hong Kong, we have the Total Water Management Strategy to secure our water supply. Are our three current water supply “taps” good enough? Given climate change, is a commercial agreement between Hong Kong and a listed company sufficient to ensure water security? Hear from Dr. David von Eiff on the need for diversified supply in Hong Kong, while Chenlin Zhao examines the advantages of international water sharing agreements over Hong Kong’s commercial water contract.
The bottom line is that life goes on and since water is life, we still have to protect it in these dark times. But this global shutdown/economic downturn has a silver lining – with international travel almost grinding to a halt, what’s bad for the global travel industry (more than 10% of global GDP) is good for emissions which will likely not grow in 2020.
Surely, we can all cope with short term inconvenience for long term gain? So be positive – just think of the emissions you are saving from social distancing.