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Water Ecology Compensation - looking after city and rural communities

Site visit to water treatment plant by study tour participants

ANUedge designed a project that would provide a benefit cost analysis and build Chinese capacity in Payment for Environmental Services (PES) and Ecological Compensation (EC) policies.

When water supplies are limited, and city demand continues to grow, rural communities can suffer from foregone development opportunities due to declining water provisions. In countries like China, the rate and scale of change affects millions of people, and water plays a major part.

In 2009, China looked to bring together its Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) and Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) with a specialist team from Australia to formulate processes and policies that provided practical, efficient, effective and equitable compensation to rural communities disadvantaged by loss of water.

Funded by AusAID, ANUedge services were sought to advise a Chinese team on matters relating to integrated schemes such as PES and EC.

In response, the ANUedge specialist team led by Prof Ian White and Associate Prof Chuxia Lin scoped and designed a project that would enable Chinese and Australian stakeholders to meet face-to-face, provide a benefit cost analysis and build capacity in China for PES and EC schemes.

The project introduced the Australian water reform process, policy actors, policy initiatives and implementation mechanisms to Chinese counterparts responsible for China’s water agenda.

The collaboration targeted capacity building at individual and institutional levels. It provided sufficient scientific and policy information to allow MWR and MEP to develop EC and PES policies for application at the national level which will benefit the country in the short term and well in to the future.

Much was gained through the collaboration, however, just as important as the policy work was the trust and collaborative spirit that formed between the Chinese and Australian teams. An important link between Australian and China Environmental Development Partnership (ACEDP) core partners was forged.  

Furthermore, through this project the two Chinese Ministry partners were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of internal collaboration, improving the capacity for integration with other Chinese ministries and regional and local authorities.

About ANUedge

We are part of ANU Enterprise, delivering consulting and project management services based on the research and expertise of the Australian National University.

ANU is renowned among universities for its research intensity and special mission to contribute to nation building; advancing Australia's place in the world through research, education and policy engagement.