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The main elements of the meeting included information on the incidents of flooding in China this year as well as the reconstruction efforts following the major earthquake in Wenchuan in 2009. The Swiss representatives presented modern flood protection concepts such as that in effect on the Rhone, as well as the OWARNA project being implemented in Switzerland on the optimisation of warning and alert mechanisms. The meeting is intended to promote exchanges between the two countries and harnesses existing knowledge.
The Chinese Vice-Minister for Water, Liu Ning, led a delegation of around 20 experts to the meeting. On the Swiss side experts from universities, federal government, the cantons, professional associations and insurance firms were present. During their stay, the Chinese delegation will be visiting model concepts for natural hazard prevention in the cantons of Vaud and Valais.
The meeting took place in connection with the Sino-Swiss agreement on sustainable water management and hazard prevention. The agreement was signed by Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger and his Chinese counterpart, Minister Chen Lei in April 2009. It is intended to promote the discussion of international environment policy challenges, as well as the exchange of experiences in the field of water management. Particular emphasis is placed on integral risk management in the field of natural hazards and the impact of climate change on water management.