A cornerstone-laying ceremony for the China-Sri Lanka center for water technology research and demonstration was held on Nov 17.

Dignitaries gathered for the cornerstone-laying ceremony (Image from CAS)

CAS Vice President Ding Zhongli, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang, Minister Rauff Hakeem and Secretary Sarath Chandrasiri Vithana of the Sri Lankan Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply, and University of Peradeniya’s Deputy Vice Chancellor R.L. Wijeyeweera attended the ceremony.

Since 2014, CAS has been making use of its technology and talent advantages to co-build the China-Sri Lanka joint center for water technology research and demonstration with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply, the University of Peradeniya and the Ministry of Health. The project is under the framework of the China-Sri Lanka Joint Center for Research and Education, and is part of the effort to tackle chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) and supply of safe drinking water in Sri Lanka’s dry zone. The move has been supported by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The new water center currently consists of core units such as the CAS Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences and enjoys strong support from Peking University, Peking University First Hospital, and the Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control. Chinese water companies, including Lihero Technology (Hunan) Co, Beijing Jingrun Environmental Protection Technology Co, and Beijing Tidelion S&I Rainwater Harvesting Technology Co, have implemented the center’s undertakings.

A cross-institutional and interdisciplinary panel of high-level experts has been established, and test equipment developed and installed in the CKDu endemic region. Experts from both countries developed a working plan for identifying the cause of CKDu and conducted research on the supply of safe drinking water which was then presented to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, winning praise from the country’s top leadership.

Ding estimated that 60 Chinese and Sri Lankan scientists and researchers would be working at the center upon completion of the project. He added that CAS will be heavily involved in the operation and management of the center under the principle of “co-building, co-managing and sharing”, and will strive to turn the facility into a top research and education center with a strong regional influence in the next five to 15 years. In this way CAS will make an irreplaceable contribution to resolving issues related to CKDu and drinking water safety.

The China-Sri Lanka water center is the first entity co-launched by the two countries in the field of science and technology, a major step in the implementation of the consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders in an earlier meeting.

Yi said that both China and Sri Lanka are developing countries faced with severe challenges in economic growth, industrial upgrading and climate change, and science and technology should play a key role in tackling these issues. He also expressed the hope that institutions from both countries will continue to work toward early completion of the project and contribute to promoting friendship between China and Sri Lanka through this platform.


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