SOAS University of London

Centre for Water and Development

The Three Red Lines and Water Policy/Institutional Reform in China in Global Context

Prof. James E Nickum

Date: 6 February 2013Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 6 February 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 273

Type of Event: Seminar

In recent years, the Ministry of Water Resources of China has promoted “the strictest system of water resource management,” operationalized in the very ambitious “Three Red Lines” policy, which sets targets for total water use, water use efficiency, and ambient water quality for a number of benchmark years to 2030.  These targets are then to be subdivided to the provincial and then the county level, and included among the performance objectives for officials.  The Three Red Lines initiative is an impressive example of policy formation in China’s “fragmented authoritarian” system, and in its sweep and the foreseeable obstacles it will face highlight problems facing effective water governance in coming years, and not just in China.

James E. Nickum, a resident of Japan with a PhD in economics from the University of California (Berkeley), is currently Vice-President of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) and has served as Editor-in-Chief of Water International since 2007. He is a widely published institutional economist specializing in various facets of water and environmental governance, especially but not exclusively in China, which he visited for the first time in 1974.  He has worked at Cornell University, Winrock International (Beijing), the East-West Center in Honolulu, and the University of Tokyo, among others.