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Speech at the Closing Ceremony of the Inaugural Meeting of CCICED by Song Jian


  Respected members, ladies and gentlemen:

  In the past few days, we have, in a cordial, friendly and pleasant atmosphere, h ad a sincere and honest exchange of ideas on environment and development issues, over which China has been showing great concern. We have come to a common under standing on almost all key issues, which has made us even more confident in the success of the Council's future activities. There is an old saying in China: " Even Mount Tai will be removed if people are of one heart." We are sure to score achievements as long as we combine our efforts and work in the spirit of sincere cooperation. Undoubtedly, the final success in China's environment and development depends on the Chinese Government and on the awareness of and efforts by the Chinese people. God would help those who help themselves. However, without the help given by our friends, the Chinese people, even though they try hard, may only get half the result with twice the effort, due to their lack of experience. This is why various departments of the Chinese Government, the press and all those concerned with environment and development have shown a tremendous interest in t his meeting. It is felt by all that the three-daylong Inaugural Meeting is of historical significance. It will benefit our future generations and therefore surely merits our congratulations. Now on behalf of all those who support the Council, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

  The Chinese Government has attached great importance to the meeting. Vice Premier Wu Xueqian made an excellent speech at the opening ceremony and Premier Li Peng took valuable time, out of his busy schedule, to meet with the international members and some Chinese members and spoke highly of the meeting. As a matter of fact the Premier extended the meeting time by one hour, an act rarely seen in hi s foreign affairs activities. This very clearly demonstrates the great concern given by the Premier to the Council. As the former chairman of the Environmental Protection Commission of the State Council, the Premier had done a lot of pioneering work. Today it is our great advantage that he, form a higher level, exercises leadership over and pays great attention to the environment and development work. Furthermore, this illustrates the sincerity and determination of the Chines e Government in unswervingly carrying out the policy of reform and opening to the outside world, and in seeking even more extensive international cooperation in the fields of environment and development in order to solve China's problems in these areas.

  The Council members have come to the same understanding that the decision of the Chinese government to set up the Council is, indeed, a timely one, especially a t this crucial juncture when the whole world is being challenged by environmental protection and sustainable development. We all agree that the meeting is very satisfactory and successful for the following reasons:

  1. The Council established by China is a fine forum for the promotion of international cooperation, indeed one which can form a model others. The Council does not only facilitate the solution of China's environmental and development problems, but also serves as an organization through which people can learn from exchanges with each other.

  2. All members consider the work of the Council to be of great importance, generously devoting their time and energy and willingly contributing their wisdom and experience.

  3. The Council members, who are leading personages in their respective fields, have rich experience and extensive knowledge. This is, indeed, an intellectual reservoir and a high level think tank, made up of the respected associated of the Chinese counterparts. As a result, the suggestions, recommendations and conclusions of the Council may very well form a reliable ground for the Chinese government and people in their scientific decision making. During the meeting, the Council members have openly and frankly put forward some new and constructive suggest ions concerning the environment and development issues in China. They are mainly as follows:

  (1) The development of the economy and protection of the environment are two sides of the same coin. It is imperative to redress the onesided view that developing the economy will surely lead to environmental destruction and instead acquire a new concept that the protection of the environment need not be burden on economic development. So long as we adopt correct principles, policies and measures, and make full use of the science and technology concerned, the problems of environment and sustainable development are certainly resolvable.

  (2) The pattern of energy development and utilization in China is not yet rational: the energy consumption per GNP unit is still high and the energy utilization efficiency is still low. However, it is very likely that China will greatly reduce its energy consumption per GNP and at the same time raise its total GNP, if t o utilize economic policies and management policies are worked out advanced and suitable energy-saving and energy-efficient technologies. This will benefit the improvement of the environment in China.

  (3) It is essential to further coordinate the policies in the fields of environment and development, to set up a macro-management mechanism for a harmonious development and to bring into full play the enthusiasm of all departments concerned with environmental protection.

  (4) Efforts should be make to set up, as soon as possible, a resource pricing accounting system, which takes into account not only the renewable but also the non -renewable resources. Only when a set of mechanisms beneficial to a rational utilization of natural resources is established in the areas of tax collection, pricing, etc., can we fully utilize and renew the limited resources.

  (5) As a big agricultural country with 80% of its population in the rural areas, China takes agriculture as the foundation for its national economy. Protecting the ecological environment in the rural areas is of vital importance to grain production. China has attained some miraculous achievements in agriculture but, serious environmental problems exist in agricultural production and in village and township enterprises. Land degradation, water pollution and other problems have directly effected the agricultural ecosystem. Merely by relying on new and high technology alone, we can not handle these problems, at least not in the rural areas. In order to obtain a sustainable development of the rural economy and at the same time protect and improve the agricultural ecological environment, we must combine advanced technology with traditional technology, and organize production in a scientific and rational manner.

  Many other very good suggestions put forward during the meeting will form an important base of reference for our policy making. After the meeting, a repot will be drafted in the name of the Council and mailed to all the members for comments before it is passed on to the authorities of all related departments. The Bureau will consider the publications.

  The Council meeting has accomplished all of its agenda items, achieved its agenda items, achieved its expected objectives and scored a complete success. This is , first of all, reflected in the establishment of the Bureau, the adoption of the Terms of Reference, Rules of Procedure, the review and adoption of the Council 's Financial Report and budget for 1992-1993, and the fact that some common understanding has been reached through honest and thorough discussions on such issue s as energy strategy, resource accounting and environmental investment. With a great sense of responsibility, the members have had discussions on the primary are as of the Council's future activities and the establishment of Expert Working Groups. Decisions have been made to initially set up 5 Working Groups, determined in accordance with the urgency of the issues and the limits of the Council's finance. Unanimous agreement has been reached on the Chinese co-chairman for each Working Group. As for the international chairman, it is hoped that the procedure and methods determined at the meeting will be utilized, so that the Working Groups will be able to start work at an early date. The Bureau will further study the proposals of setting up new working groups and decide on the priority and conditions for establishment of additional groups. Following the Council's recommendation, the Bureau has decided to invite some members to form a steering committee, which will coordinate the relationship among the 5 Working Groups in order to maximize their achievements. In addition, subjects for the next meeting have be en decided upon, and discussions were held on possible follow-up activities.

  We have already created a good beginning for the smooth work of the future. Well begun is half done. We should also express our gratitude to our colleagues and friends in the Secretariat and the Vancouver Support Office, without whose hard work, the success of the meeting would have been quite impossible.

  Next year, the meeting will be held in Hangzhou on Monday, May 3rd and will last 3 days. On the 4th day the members will go to Beijing and stay for a day or two. The members will be further notified about the detailed schedule.

  According to Terms of Reference, the Council will, in principle, meet once a yea r to sum up past work and set new objectives on order to ensure that achievement s and progress will be made with each passing year. In that manner, when we look back in five years' time, we will find that our efforts were worthwhile.

  Now, I declare that the Inaugural Meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is successfully concluded.

  Thank you.

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