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Environment Minister visits China to propel cooperation in green transformation

Danish Minister for Environment Ms. Lea Wermelin is visiting China from the 25th to the 29th of November to strengthen cooperation with China in areas such as circular economy and green water solutions. The minister will visit Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.

In Denmark, each Dane produces 781 kilograms of household waste every year, which has imposed great challenge upon limited natural resources and the environment. China is facing similar problems, as one of the first countries that promote circular economy and take active steps in dealing with waste and pollution.

On November 26, at the State Guesthouse of Beijing, Danish Environment Minister Lea Wermelin launched a cooperation platform during the ‘Improving Resource Efficiency and Reducing Food Loss and Waste’ Conference. The aim is to improve resource utilization, to propose practical solutions, and to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“We invite key policy makers, academia, business, key opinion leaders and social celebrities to join in on the discussion of food loss and waste in China. It is my hope that the initiative will strengthen the already great collaboration between Denmark and China,” says Lea Wermelin. 

Circular economy

High on the Minister’s agenda is circular economy. Many Danish food manufacturers invest in sustainable energy, water, and packaging solutions that will not compromise the quality. Other agricultural sectors such as slaughterhouses, dairies and breweries work hard to reduce water consumption. The Danish wastewater plants are also required to treat wastewater as a resource by turning sludge into biogas.

“It is curtail that we move away from linear mind-set of ‘take-make-dispose’ to a circular mind-set that keeps products and materials in use. And we definitely need to support more circular business models,” says Environment Minister Lea Wermelin.

To create opportunities and exchange knowledge and ideas, the Minister’s five-day trip in China includes meeting with public sectors from local ecology and environment bureaus and a visit to a technology company that provides environmental services in Shenzhen.

Strengthen ties in water management

The Environment Minister’s trip highlights bilateral cooperation in the water sector. Over the past ten years, Danish exports of green technology solutions to China has been continuously increasing. In 2012 Denmark became part of the China-Europe Water Platform together with the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources. China is now the fourth largest export market for Danish water technology.

“China is undergoing a major change these years with a high degree of urbanization and economic growth. Green solutions are needed to ensure the sustainable use of limited resources. It is our responsibility to use our knowledge where it makes a concrete, green difference, and clean water and sanitation are essential to delivering on our common world goals,” says the Minister of the Environment.

On Monday, the Minister kicked off her trip to China by meeting with her counterpart from Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. E Jingping. Both parties expressed strong interest in continuing the current bilateral governmental cooperation.

On Tuesday, Minister Wermelin opened a water seminar where the paper “Danish Water Technology in China: 21 good cases” was presented.  The paper showcases how Danish green solutions contribute to the sustainable development of China in areas including water supply, wastewater treatment, climate-related adaption, and digitalization.

“In Denmark, we have decades of experience in developing sustainable solutions and we have the lowest water loss in our drinking water system in the world. In addition, we have treatment plants that produce more energy than they use. We provide wastewater system with highly scalable solutions, which is necessary in a large country such as China,”says Director of DI Water, Jesper Daugaard.

On November 27, the Minister will head to the Greater Bay Area where she will meet Vice Mayor of Shenzhen first to talk about cooperation in water sector and then open China-Denmark Shenzhen Water Day the next day.

In Guangzhou, the last stop of her Chinese trip, Minister Wermelin will also meet top officials from Guangdong Province to discuss about the bilateral cooperation on projects within water treatment.

27.11.2019  06:48