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Speech at the Inaugural Meeting of CCICED by Song Jian


  Respected members & guests, ladies & gentlemen:

  It is an honour for me to be appointed as the first Chairman of CCICED. I am grateful to Vice-Premier Wu for his most kind introduction and the trust you placed in me. I feel that the responsibility is heavy and significant. In order to facilitate the work of the Council, I would like to invite Mr. Marcel Massé, Mr. Qu Geping and Mr. Gu Ming to be Vice-Chairmen of the Council, thus forming a collective leadership. Mr. Massé, a world renown scholar and social activists, is the Chairman of the Canadian International Development Agency, who has made remarkable achievements in research on financial and economic development and shows great concern for environmental issues. Mr. Qu Geping and Mr. Gu Ming are both veterans of environmental undertakings in China. They had attended the UN Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm twenty years ago. Since then they began to exert their best efforts for environmental protection in China. Mr. Qu Geping, a specialist in environmental engineering and management, is the current Administrator of the National Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Gu Ming, a specialist in environmental economics and legal affairs, is a Vice-Chairman of the Legal Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. I now submit this leadership proposal to the Council for your examination and approval. If no disagreement is raised, will you please approve it by acclamation. I am convinced that we shall enjoy our cooperation together and that, with the support from all the members, we shall be able to make the council a success.

  Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me, on behalf of the Vice-Chairmen of CCICED and in my own behalf, to welcome you all to today's meeting and extend our sincere thanks to you.

  The proposal for setting up CCICED was put forward by delegates at the "International Conference on the integration of Economic Development & Environment in China" held in Beijing in October, 1990. The Chinese Government and the international community have given active support to this far-sighted proposal. A group of outstanding specialists and prominent figures have joined the Council. In January, 1992, I had invited Mr. Massé, Mr. Qu Geping, Mr. Gu ming and others for a preparatory meeting in Beijing, at which the Terms of Reference (draft), Rules of Procedure (draft), the composition of the Council and its expert working groups were discussed and related proposals were put forward, making preparation for the convening of the inaugural meeting. I wish also to express my gratitude to the Secretariat of the Council for their excellent preparatory work and to Mr. Marcel Massé, CIDA, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation for their generous financial support .I also want to thank Mr. Martin Lees for his enthusiastic efforts to involve more specialists world-wide to participate in the project. The founding of the Council was greatly facilitated due to the concerted efforts of personages in China and other countries and their desire to cooperate. Today we are here attending the inaugural meeting, which proves our first stage of cooperation and efforts has been very fruitful. We are gratified at such a cordial cooperation which lays a good foundation for the work of the Council.

  The reform and opening up of China is all-round and multi-dimensional. China has repeatedly declared to the world that the policy of reform and opening up will never be reversed, instead it will be speeded up and extended to a larger scale. China will quicken the process of reform and opening up to achieve further successes and create a better life for the present and future generations of its people, thus consolidating the achievements already obtained. The founding of the Council is an expression of further reform and opening up in the field of environment and development. We are prepared, on the basis of self-reliance and hard struggle, to strengthen cooperation with the international community in the field of environment and development. Learning from the experiences of other countries will help make decision-making on environmental protection more scientific and democratic.

  It seems to me that creating a special international council to consult on environmental protection and development in China is a pioneering initiative. We hope that the activities of the Council will be of great significance in providing valuable advice and guidance on the protection of water sources, atmosphere, natural biology and animal species. This will benefit the social and governmental organizations at different levels, including central, provincial, municipal and autonomous regions, which are struggling for economic development. It will also be helpful to them in seeking new patterns for international cooperation and establishing more channels for learning from advanced countries.

  The 1972 Stockholm Conference had put the environmental issue on the agenda for mankind. Many of the members present here, including Mr. Qu Geping and Mr. Gu Ming attended the conference. It was this conference that brought the problem of environmental protection to the attention of all sectors of the Chinese society. Twenty years have elapsed. Since then the Chinese people's awareness of the issue has been greatly enhanced. In order to create a better living environment and a prosperous future, we shall maintain a lasting balance between development and the natural environment. This development should proceed without damaging the ecological environment at the expense of future generations. The Chinese Government and social organizations attach a great importance to the Rio Earth Summit to be held in June, and will send a high-level delegation of many members to attend. Global environmental issues have caused a growing concern among peoples the world-over. As a developing country, China's problems in keeping a balance between environment and development are especially urgent and pressing.

  We believe that environmental problems stem from the process of development and can only be resolved while we develop. We in China have to undertake the dual task of developing the economy and protecting the environment, ensuring a sustained development. The Government and people of China hold the opinion that we must not refrain from developing the economy fearing that in may bring forth environmental problems nor should we postpone development in order to protect the environment. The only choice is to find a way to a coordinated and sustained development corresponding to the realities of the country. We are aware that a unwise strategy of economic development may produce environmental problems, and that the correct solution to environmental problems will in turn create more favorable conditions for economic development. It is not advisable to care for either the environment or development if it is at the expense of the other.

  Ladies and gentlemen, the founding of the Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development in China, a country with a vast territory and a huge population, will undoubtedly produce a positive impact on her modernization drive. The Government and peoples of China hope that the Council will provide constructive opinions and suggestions on environment and development, which will serve as a reference point for decision-making by different governmental levels and regions. They also hope that the Council will promote cooperation between China and the international community on these major issues and establish a pattern for environmental protection and economic development to develop in a coordinated manner. If China can obtain new experience in this field, it may provide others with some reference. I believe that our Council is endowed with a lofty and humanitarian objective which deserves our commitment, and that we can achieve our goal thanks to the participation so many scientists and experts.

  Members and guests, ladies and gentlemen:

  To our present knowledge, there is only one earth which is privileged to support mankind in the universe. The earth is extremely beautiful but very vulnerable. Geologists and biologists reminded us that if anything in the billion-years evolution had gone astray the earth would have become a silent, life-less planet like Mars or Venus. Then we ourselves would not live in this world, enjoying happiness and experiencing sufferings of human life. Some scientists and writers of science fiction have tried to prove that extraterrestrial civilization does exist and even that it is superior to ours, but scientific evidence has not been obtained. None-the-less we must work to protect and rebuild the earth upon which we live and strive to protect the earth and its splendour. Environmental protection and sustained development are an eternal subject of mankind. Members of the international community are all in the same boat. We should help one another. I am convinced that, thanks to the enthusiasm and wisdom of so many scientists and experts, the Council can push for a coordinated economic development and environment al protection policy for China during its period of economic takeoff, thus, making a positive contribution to the global issue.

  Thank you!

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