The Third United Nations Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters was held at the UN Headquarter on July 20, 2017. At the invitation of His Excellency Han Seung-soo, Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea and chairman of HELP, academician Xie Heping, President of Sichuan University, attended the meeting and delivered a keynote speech. "Sichuan University has been developed into an institution 'paying attention to the world's disasters' from one which 'drew the world's attention for disasters''', said academician Xie.
The Highest-level Conference in the World
The was indeed a high-profile event. Mr. Peter Thompson, Chairman of the 71st Session of United Nations General Assembly and Mr. Antonio Adair, UN Secretary-General, addressed this Conference separately. Mr. Ader Janos, President of Hungary, Ms. Amena Gurib-Fajim, President of Mauritius, Mr. Henry Van Thio, Vice-President of Myanmar, Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Special Envoy of Japanese Prime Minister& General Secretary of Liberal Democratic Party, gave a keynote speech respectively.
Academician Xie, President of SCU, made a keynote report titled The Wise Find Pleasure in Water - Wisdom in water control and disaster response. He introduced the Dujiangyan Irrigation System in detail: more than 2000 years ago, Chengdu Plain of Sichuan, China, had a harsh living environment due to frequently plagued floods and drought disasters; the turbulent Minjiang River crashed its way through the narrow channel, which often caused the outbreak of floods in spring and summer, the jamming of sandstone all the way, and the floods in west and drought in east due to blocking of waters by Mt. Yulei. In B.C. 256, Li Bing, Governor of Shu Prefecture, and his son directed the construction of Dujiangyan Irrigation System in an effort to eradicate the water disasters. Since 2263 years ago, this Irrigation System continued to play its due role as an unparalled model in water control, providing a strong support to the social and economic development of Chengdu Plain and even Sichuan Province.
Adhering to the Taoist thought of “following the natural world for the unity of heaven and humanity”, Dujiangyan Irrigation System adopted non-dam diversion, automatic sediment disposal and natural flood control in tackling the water-related disasters and maintaining the function of water conservancy over 2000 years. This project, which plays an important role so far, is listed into the world’s cultural and natural heritages.
Sichuan University won the praise from UN officials
Academician Xie noted at the forum that, West China is often severely afflicted by flood disasters. China's central and local governments have attached great importance to all kinds of natural disasters and comprehensively improved the state's comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation capacity by perfecting the irrigation system, integrating resources and overall planning of forces. SCU boasts the state key laboratory in water and disaster control, an oldest one of its kind in China and also the single one in west China. It plays a crucial role in mountain flood and sediment disaster control, high dam structure safety, flood discharge& control safety and basin ecological environment protection, etc. The key laboratory has completed the structural stability analysis and model failure test of more than 30 high dams, including the Three Gorges, Xiaowan and Xiluodu Hydropower Stations; completed the flood discharge and control safety model test and study of almost all over 200m world-class high dam projects in China, and offered technical parameters; and participated in the study on ecological environment protection for about 30 projects including: Jinsha River, Yalong River, Jialing River and Dadu River, as well as Three Georges, Zipingpu, Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba Hydropower Stations. In the field of flood and sediment disaster prevention and control, the lab revealed the mechanism of “small flood versus serious hazard” under the action of mountain flood and sediment, and proposed the technology of reduced-order prevention and control with a reference to the water control idea of Dujiangyan Dam, providing technical support to the prevention and control of extraordinary serious mountain floods and sediment disasters.
Academician Xie once again proposed the concept that "people on earth should have disaster awareness and receive disaster education". Toshio Koike, Director of the UNESCO International Centre for Water Disaster and Risk Management, spoke highly of the special report delivered by academician Xie, adding that he agreed well to the concept of Mr. Xie and highly appreciated the efforts made by SCU for caring about the world, the human race and future. It's our bounden duty to tackle and solve major global disaster crisis, and promote the common progress of the mankind
, he stressed.