Nokia: connecting people with water

29 March 2010 | News story

Nokia and IUCN China have joined forces to improve local knowledge of watershed management in Miyun County - an area that Beijing relies on for its water supply.

Beijing has less than 300 cubic meters of water per year per capita – a thirtieth of the world's average. Located in a harsh, semi-arid environment and surrounded by degraded ecosystems, the city is expected to face increasing water shortages. Low rainfall, expanded domestic, industrial and agricultural water use, increasing levels of water pollution, erosion and inadequate flood protection infrastructure are all contributing to water scarcity in the region.

The Miyun Reservoir is the main source of drinking water for Beijing’s 17 million residents. Whilst the watershed has significant forest cover, large areas are degraded. Natural forests have largely disappeared and the existing secondary forests are being severely degraded by unregulated fuel wood harvesting.

Working with the Sino-German Financial Cooperation Project for Watershed Management on Forest Land as part of IUCN’s Landscapes and Livelihoods Initiative, China’s State Forestry Administration, the Beijing Forestry Society and the Beijing Parks and Forestry Department are undertaking activities to improve rural livelihoods, promote sustainable forest management, protect critical watersheds and generate appropriate changes in policy.

These activities are expected to improve watershed function for the benefit of local people. But if expectations are to be met, there needs to be a significant scaling up of work from selected pilot sites.

With more than one billion users, Nokia is a market leader in mobile devices and also wants to be a leader in environmental performance. Its vision is a world where everyone can contribute to sustainable development. The company has a substantial workforce based in the Beijing area and has joined in local efforts that benefit both biodiversity and people. Through an extensive communications campaign in Miyun County, it is making sure that local residents and relevant organizations have convincing evidence and sufficient knowledge of watershed management. The Miyun programme will act as a model for improving 5,000 other similar watersheds in China.

This partnership will also promote opportunities for private sector participation in financing rural development initiatives and collaborative watershed management. It aims to achieve a fair balance between the interests of city- and rural- based stakeholders.

For more information contact:

Ms Zhuang Hao, IUCN China Programme Coordinator
e: zhuanghao@iucn.org.cn
t: +86 10 8532 4919