Norway and China: Joining Forces for a Sustainable Future

Recently at the Norwegian seminar, at the China International Environment Protection Exhibition & Conference (CIEPEC) in Beijing, a historical agreement was signed between Norwegian Water Research Institute (NIVA) and Inner Mongolia Environmental Science Institute (IMESI). Hopefully this will encourage further collaborations between the two countries within waste, water and energy utilization sectors to ensure a sustainable development in China.

– With the signing of the cooperation today, we hope and expect to see more cooperation between Norwegian and Chinese companies and China. We believe we will set an example and demonstrate the success nationwide and hopefully this will lead to more projects and improvements, says Bai Zhifeng from IMESI.
Long history

Sino Norwegian environmental cooperation has enjoyed a long history. NIVA started to work in China with 4 projects in 1995 financed by the Norwegian government, and has been involved in over 15 projects in China ever since. One major project is the restoration of the Lake Wuliangshuai in Inner Mongolia, which is heavily polluted. The Inner Mongolia government will now invest almost 10 billion RMB on this lake restoration.

– Norway is a forerunner in this field; we got the experience through meeting the needs of finding a sustainable solution for Norway’s largest lake some 30 years ago. The lake, of approximately the same size as Lake Wuliangsuhai, was faced with similar problems. This made us more competitive in the field and we have the innovative technology to help China with the challenges in the field, says Dr. Harsha Ratnaweera, Director International Projects, Norwegian Water Research Institute – NIVA and Director, DOSCON AS.
Preventative strategies

The goal of the collaboration and establishment of the research & development facility on innovative environmental technologies is to solve the immediate environmental challenges in China. Both the Inner Mongolia University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences will parties in this significant agreement.

– The preventative strategies leading to the industrial development in harmony with the sustainable environment are key to a financially and socio-economically successful future, says Dr. Harsha Ratnaweera.  

Hetao Water Group has been assigned the project by the Inner Mongolian government and becomes project owner of the Lake Wuliangsuhai Restoration initiative and will be responsible to implement the projects together with NIVA.

– We would love to see the water becoming clear again and the birdlife returning to the beautiful lake. We also hope that more people will know about Lake Wuliangsuhai, says Qin Jinghe, Chairman of Hetao Water Group and Secretary of Party Committee, Hetao Irrigation Scheme Management Bureau of Inner Mongolia. 
Waste is value

Norway has a growing number of companies engaged in technological solutions that transform waste into valuable products and biogas.

One such company is Norminor which established a joint venture company YMCI Sino-Norway Bio-Engineering Co.Ltd together with Yunnan Cyclic Economy Investment Co.Ltd last year.

-We have had a positive development and have now reached the stage where we have a good and direct communication with our partner. We now have the same perception of the company, the management style and the economy. We see great potential in China and have ambitions to expand in the future, says Per Inge Langeland, Chairman of the Board, Norminor.

Norminor specialises in recycling and refining organic waste. This technology has proven valuable for the waste management process in Yunnan Province where the set-up of fertiliser plants utilizing organic waste from sewage sludge and solid waste has encouraged further processing of local waste sources.

This is well in accordance with the 12th five year plan and the government policies regarding energy development strategy which Professor Yu Cong from Energy Research Institute of NDRC presented at the seminar. She also gave an introduction to what kind of impact the national strategies will have for the development of Chinese renewable energy and environmental management sectors.

– We need to change the model “meet the demand from excessively rapid increase by extensive supply” to realize “to meet the rational demand by scientific supply” for the sake of energy balance of energy demand and supply. The government policy has also stated that we need to be innovative in the further development in China, says Professor Yu Cong, Energy Research Institute, NDRC

The seminar, “Sustainable Management; Waste, Water and Energy Utilization – Norwegian Cleantech Solutions”, was organized by Norwegian Energy & Environment Consortium which assists Norwegian companies within this sector to find opportunities in China and aims to strengthen the collaboration on technology and competence between the two countries.

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