The Danube represented at China’s Yellow River Forum


The Danube represented at
China’s Yellow River Forum

The Yellow River in China may seem far removed from the Danube – but the two river basins share similar challenges. In an ongoing dialogue, lessons learned from both regions are shared for joint solutions.

ICPDR joined Mr. Li Guoying, Commissioner of the Yellow River Conservancy Commission, at the Yellow River Commission as part of the EU/China cooperation project.

On 20-23 October, an ICPDR delegation participated in the 4th Yellow River Forum in Zhengzhou, China. The forum, which is held every two years, was hosted by the Yellow River Conservancy Commission. The conference aims to promote the public awareness of river protection and strengthen river management, and the theme of this year’s forum was Ecological Civilisation and River Ethics.

The ICPDR’s participation was organised and funded by the European Commission as part of the EU/China cooperation programme. Participating on behalf of the ICPDR was Gheorghe Constantin, Head of the Romanian Delegation to the ICPDR, Gyula Holló, Head of the Hungarian Delegation to the ICPDR, and ICPDR Executive Secretary Philip Weller. In addition, the Cochair of the ICPDR’s River Basin Management Expert Group, Marieke van Nood, participated on behalf of the European Commission.

A delegation from the Yellow River came to visit the Danube twice in 2008 to learn about issues in the region. “They are particularly interested in how different jurisdictions cooperate in a forum such as ours,” says Weller. “Although they are one country, they have a number of different provinces which poses coordination problems.”

The Yellow River is a large river basin which faces many challenges, particularly in managing the high amount of sediment the river transports. “We can learn from them how to deal with sediment management,” says Weller, “But also how they have begun to deal with questions related to climate change.”

Nearly 1500 people participated in the Yellow River Forum. The forum provided an opportunity to share experience and solutions with the Yellow River Commission as well as representatives of other large rivers such as the Rhine and Rhone Rivers. The ICPDR delegation and the Yellow River Commission agreed to further strengthen the cooperation. It is likely that a delegation from the Yellow River will visit Europe next year to explore the ICPDR’s activities in more detail.

Kirstie Shepherd is a freelance journalist living in Vienna and has called the Danube River Basin home since 2000.