CUHK LAW GBA Forum 2024 Online Seminar – ‘Inter-jurisdictional Cooperation on Water Preservation in the Greater Bay Area’

CUHK LAW GBA Forum 2024 Online Seminar – ‘Inter-jurisdictional Cooperation on Water Preservation in the Greater Bay Area’

This seminar discusses the legal framework for inter-jurisdictional cooperation on water preservation the Greater Bay Area (GBA). Water is under pressure with as many as 8 out of the 11 cities in the GBA facing water shortages, including major economic centres, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Macao. Three tributaries of the Pearl River – Xijiang, Beijiang and Dongjiang – are the main drainage channels in the GBA, providing water services to vital sectors of the economy and to a collective population of 70 million people. Local management measures on improving water quality are insufficient to address the watershed challenges for the entire GBA. The “Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation in the Development of the GBA” provides a declaratory aim “to build stable and safe water supplies systems”, but omits specific cooperation mechanisms. This seminar asks what would inter-jurisdictional cooperation in the GBA entail? The GBA consists of 9 riparian cities and their provinces regulated under the laws of China and special autonomous regions, Hong Kong and Macao with their own legal systems. The legal framework underpinning inter-jurisdictional cooperation in the GBA relates to issues of (i) the status of riparian cities and their relationship with provincial governments and the Central Government Ministry of Water Resources; (ii) existing riparian policies and river basin problems; (iii) regime interaction between China’s national, provincial and local laws governing cooperation in river basins; (iv) the legal authorities upon which environmental cooperation between the PRC riparian cities is premised; (v) the relationship with existing water eco-compensation mechanisms and other water governance frameworks; (vi) upstream economic inequality issues; (vii) lessons learned from the Yangtze River Commission, Yellow Basin Commission and Pearl River Water Resources Commission; and (viii) the position of Hong Kong and Macao as non-riparian stakeholders and recipients of water benefits. As non-riparian stakeholders, the water security of Hong Kong and Macao is dependent on the sustainability of freshwater supplies upstream. The above factors contribute to understanding roles of stakeholders who commonly have an interest in GBA cooperation premised on the protection of water ecosystems. This may contribute to a discussion about appropriate institutional development and a future establishment of a GBA focus within an existing or new river basin commission.

About the Speaker:

Prof. Agnes Chong is an Assistant Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law. Prof. Chong gained her PhD in International Law (pass with no revisions) from the University of Hong Kong. Prof. Chong was an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong and visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge.

Prof. Chong is an editorial board member of the Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law, and Chair of the CUHK Law, Centre for Comparative and Transnational Law, Environmental, Energy and Climate Law Cluster. She is an Affiliate of the International Water Law Academy.

The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.


05 Mar 2024


12:45 pm - 1:45 pm