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Speech at the Opening Ceremony by Qu Geping


  Mr. Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen,

  In the short space of two year CCICED has made tremendous progress in its work. It has provided useful advice to the Chinese Government and promoted China's environmental protection undertakings, producing positive impact on the international community. As a member of the Council I feel much encouraged.

  Last year when the Second Meeting was held, I was still working for NEPA. After the meeting I changed to work for the Environmental & Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress. It is a new committee established to strengthen our work for environmental protection. Its main responsibilities are for legislation on the protection of environment and resources and supervision over the environmental law enforcement by the government. Since I came to work for the Committee, I feel even more the importance and positive contributions of CCE CED. I would like to express my sincere respect and gratitude to members of the Council.

  Sustainable use of resources and a balanced eco-environment are important conditions for sustainable development. Enormous human demand for natural resources and large-scale exploration and consumption have put more pressure on the fragile environment and some of the resources which are already in short supply. Sustainable development is being challenged by quantitative decrease of resources and qualitative worsening of ecology.

  China's economy is developing rapidly against the background of a huge population, limited per capita resources and relatively backward economic, scientific and technical level. Therefore, the state of environment in China is very serious. For a fairly long period of time to come it is not likely that the structure of energy production and consumption with coal as the main source can be changed. This, in turn, constitutes heavy pressure on air quality. In most cities and regions, especially those in the north, there is a serious shortage of fresh water and the worsening of water quality has added to the problem. There is the sharp conflict between more people and less cultivated land and the contradiction between land used by agriculture and by urban industries or other undertaking. The forest coverage rate is low. On top of that, degradation, desertification and other tendencies of habitat worsening are not yet under effective control.

  Facing serious environmental and resources problems, China must protect the integrity of the entire life supporting system and the ecological system, protect the sustainability of resources and prevent the already very fragile ecological environment from getting worsened when it is committing itself to economic development. In this respect, how to achieve sustainable use of environmental resources with minimum environmental, social and economic cost and how to meet the needs of economic development and population growth are difficult questions China is confronted with. I do hope that the Council can have a fruitful discussion on the issue.

  The Chinese economy has entered a new period of development, whit its GNP growth rate being still over 8-10%. Such a growth has been achieved through following the traditional mode of development characterized by huge consumption of resources and extensive operation and management, which is bound to further expand the intensity and scale of the exploration of resources. Therefore, we can now afford to lose any time in changing the mode of development and follow the road of sustainable development. Now the international community is getting more and more concerned with Chinas environment and development. We have received enthusiastic support from the relevant agencies of the United Nations and from many countries. I believe that the strengthening of international cooperation on environment and development will help China to find a road to success, which will bring a bout coordinated development of population, resources and environment. The constructive work of the Council will also caution the sailing boat of China not to divert its course from the correct road of advance.

  I wish the meeting a complete success!

  Thank you.

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