The Taihu Basin near Shanghai is one of the three priority wetland conservation areas for biodiversity listed by the China Academy of Science and generates more than 11% of China’s GDP but this has taken its toll, becoming highly industrialized and heavily polluted. This creates challenges for local communities and government alike and the textile plants and processing factories are facing significant water risk. WWF has been working in the Lake Tai (Taihu) basin for a number of years with support from our partners HSBC & H&M. Recently, WWF made significant head way in engaging all sectors of society to take responsibility and collective action to tackle the water challenge.
The work has included developing a methodology for water stewardship that can be applied to industrial parks, as well as initiating collective action within a key sub-basin of Lake Tai. Recently, WWF-China organised the ‘First International Forum on Taihu Basin Stewardship’ a real landmark event which builds on many years of work in the Lower Yangtze.
Over 180 people attended the event from government, industry, financial institutions and civil society to discuss the future of the Lake. The conference focused on defining a new governance model for Lake Tai and preliminary discussions of the ‘Beautiful Taihu Declaration’, which will be a commitment from all stakeholders about the role they will play in the process. The event also marked the launch of the Industrial Park Water Stewardship Guidance, which is a method for applying the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) site level standard in China’s industrial parks.
This is a great step forward for water stewardship in the Lake Tai basin and for driving collective action in the Yangtze, which is such an important part of the work WWF carries out in China, supported by the HSBC Water Programme.
WWF has leveraged extensive local networks as well as global expertise to develop strategies to facilitate collective action and engage communities, businesses and government to improve water management in river basins across Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America. The focus on collective action is essential to highlight our shared dependence on and responsibility for this vital resource.
WWF understands water-related risk, and brings stakeholders together to develop solutions. By design, these solutions are locally relevant, but WWF’s global perspective allows best practices to flow from basin to basin, continent to continent. The ultimate vision is for each river basin to have sustainably and equitably managed freshwater ecosystems that meet the needs of all users.