Dr Evgeny Simonov

Dr Evgeny Simonov

Eugene is Russian environmental activist and expert residing in China, International Coordinator of the Rivers without Boundaries Coalition (RwB) focusing on North Eurasia rivers. He cooperated with WWF to design methodology for basin-wide environmental impact assessment of hydropower and analysis of hydropower role in flood management in Amur Basin. He also works with trilateral “Dauria” International Protected Area . Since 2012 the RwB works to prevent threats from World Bank sponsored hydropower projects in Selenge River-Lake Baikal basin in Russia and Mongolia. Eugene also works on accountability and environmental sustainability issues of the China’s Silk Road Economic Belt integration initiative.

Transboundary River Management In The Era Of The Belt And Road Initiative

This report describes cooperation and competition between China  and Russia in hydropower, water transfer and flood control to illustrate transboundary river management patterns in the Amur River Basin. We establish a baseline account of transboundary water management in this shared river basin in the wake of major changes dictated by China’s wider transboundary and domestic policies such as “Belt and Road Initiative” and “Ecological Civilization” and to question to which extent the emerging shifts in environmental and development policies have been already manifested in cooperation on the transboundary river.

Many policies and patterns in transboundary cooperation between China and its neighbours are now influenced by the China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), that promotes trade, international investment in infrastructure and sharing of China’s industrial capacity with more than 100 countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to have profound influence on natural resource management and environmental protection in Eurasia. In particular, major changes may happen in management of transboundary rivers basins. While previously China was interested in ensuring water security within its national borders, nowadays it has to pay attention to water-related problems in whole transboundary basins to ensure at least that water is available for planned investment schemes. On the other hand, environmental health of shared river basins should also receive much greater priority due to more environmentally responsible domestic development polices in China illuminated by Ecological Civilization Policy, that prescribes comprehensive set of reforms driving the whole China’s governance system towards sustainable resource use and nature conservation.

Findings in the Amur River Basin can be compared with  dynamics of China’s river management relationships in other shared basins to identify common patterns of change in the era of Belt and road Initiative.

 

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