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Speech at the Closing Ceremony by Song Jian


  Respected members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  The Third Meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is coming to a close this afternoon, In the past three days, as per our agenda, we have listened to the Secretary General's report as well as on its budget and finance, reports by the six working groups, reports by five ministries and agencies on China's implementation of international conventions and presentations by nine Chinese and international and personalities on some important issues in the field of environment and development. We have had animated and intense discussions in response to these reports and presentations, from which many valuable ideas have been formulated, On the basis of these some recommendations to the Chinese government have emerged, Therefore, the third meeting of the Council has been a complete success. Before the closing of the meeting of, I would like, first of all, to express my gratitude to Madame Labelle, Prof. Qu Geping, and Mr. Gu Ming, whose work has contributed greatly to the success of the meeting. We would also like to thank the other member of the Council, the co-chairman of the working group, specially invited guests and international observers, who have attended this meeting in spite of their extremely tight working schedule, It is the participation of these experienced and knowledgeable people that has made our meeting so exciting and fruitful, We would also like to ask the representatives from the UNDP, the World Bank and the Ford Foundation to convey our deep appreciation to these three organizations, which have shown much attention and provided consistent support to sustainable development in China With the involvement and support of so many countries, organizations and individuals, our cause of environment and development has demonstrated great vitality, After the meeting, the Secretariat will prepare a summary record, which will be submitted to the Chinese leaders together with the recommendations to the Chinese government adopted today. The Chinese and international participants are going to meet one of China's top leaders. This will provide them with a valuable opportunity to exchange views and ideas. The results of this meeting and the recommendations that have been made will have a positive impact on the decision making. This will in turn give impetus to the work in the field of environment and development.

  As the Chairman of this Council, I would like to make some comments on its work, apart from the evaluation of the meeting.

  1. The Council has carried out extensive work and. on that basis, achieved some substantiate results.

  The Council has come into being at a time when China is carrying out its reform and opening policy. Based on the experience by some developed countries. Which have followed the wrong path of "pollution first and control later", the purpose of the founders of the Council was to fond a new way to bring about sustainable development in China, and to handle correctly the relationship between economic construction and environmental protection in the framework of large scale and high speed economic development .The Council should serve as a bridge between the Chinese government and the international community, develop international cooperation for China the largest developing county in the world and create various new models for the integration of environmental and economic development. Now we ca n say that the Council has made much progress towards this goal. Form 1990 to the Hangzhou meeting last year, our work centred on inception, establishment and start-up. In the past year after the Hangzhou meeting, the Council's work has been expanded to many sectors, as demonstrated by frequent and effective research activities and detailed and scientific reports on their findings. Apart from these, the annual meetings of the Council have succeeded in making many valuable recommendations to the Chinese government. They have proved very beneficial to the decision making process in the field of environment and development. During the Hangzhou meeting, Chinese and foreign experts made seven constructive recommendations, which were highly appreciated by President Jiang Zemin. The Secretary General has al ready given a detailed report on the significance of many recommendations and their adoption. If our Council was only in its initial stage a year ago, it is now working full steam .All of us should feel encouraged and excited about the achievements of the Council.

  II. Expert working groups have achieved remarkable results.

  The six working groups of the Council consist of outstanding experts and scholars both Chinese and foreigners, who are leaders in their own fields. Their research on various substantive issues in environment and development has a positive impact on the quality of the policy recommendations proposed by the Council. At the annual meeting, reporting and discussion on the work of the working groups have already become regular practice. I said tat the Hangzhou meeting that the success of the working groups was crucial and could enable the Council to play an effective role. At the Hangzhou meeting, research directions and terms of reference were approved. After one year of arduous work, all the working groups have come up with satisfactory results. During this meeting, the co-chairmen of the working groups met twice to discuss their reports and proposed some excellent suggestions and recommendations such as information exchange and joint effort in problem soling. I can not overemphasize the excellent quality of the work completed by the working groups. I would like to offer the following comments on the work reflected on their reports:

  1. The issues that the working groups study are all important, difficult, typical and to the point in the fide of environment and development. The Working Group on Resource Accounting, Environmental Economics and Pricing Policies has carried out intensive studies on pricing issues as they relate to coal, water and forest resources. This has been their focus of study because these three resources are most crucial for China in terms of environment and development: the energy patter based on coal consumption will not change for quite a long period of time, and will remain the major source of air pollution in China; China is comparatively short of water resources, which has already restricted its economic development; the lack of forest resources is one of the major causes of the deterioration of ecosystem, the climate and the environment. The Working Group on pollution Control has set up three priority regions, i.e. Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, Chongqing in Sichuan Province, and Liaoyand in Liaoning Province, for their policy studies. The above mentioned cities are all large. They a re situated on major rivers and are experiencing rapid economic growth. The are situated on major rivers and are experiencing rapid economic growth. The case studies on these cities will prove valuable for China in its effort to control pollutant emissions below a reasonable level in the process of rapid economic development. The report of the Working Group on Scientific Research, Technological Development and Training covers five issues and focuses on the subject of cleaner production. This fits in the new policy on the control of industrial pollution put forward at the Second National Meeting on Industrial Pollution Control. This h as enriched the discussion on cleaner production in China, and provided a systematic approach for its implementation.

  2. Every working group has set up a long-term working programme. The reports presented by the Working Group on Monitoring and Data Collection, on the Protection of Biodiversity and on Energy Strategies and Technologies include plans for their work in the next stage. This is an indication of their deliberate approach to research. The systematic way in which the works is carried out insures its scientific quality and its continuity. This enables the research to be conducted in a deeper and more comprehensive way. Such research will provide reliable support for the Council to make its decisions and recommendations.

  3. Almost all expert Working Groups have put forward detailed recommendations on their respective topics. Concerning Energy, the recommendations cover both energy supply and energy demand. With regard to clean production, 16 recommendations have been produced on legislation, research, training, public awareness and international cooperation. The Biodiversity Protection Group has pointed out the problems China is now facing, and suggested to us that law enforcement should be very strict, so that random killing of wildlife can be stopped. It also calls upon the Chinese Government to end the trade of wildlife organs on the China-Vietnam b order. The Monitoring and Data Collection Group has raised the issue of improving the monitoring network and that of information sharing, both of which have attracted great attention from our government. These recommendations are carefully worked out and well pointed. They are far reaching and suit China's conditions. Therefore they constitute a valuable contribution to China's en environment and development.

  About the establishment of new Expert Working Groups, some Chinese and International members have suggested that a Working Group on Environment and Trade be set up, since international trade is becoming increasingly linked to the environment, and has already affected the country's economic development. Based mainly on the understanding that the Canadian Government is willing to support such a group, the Bureau has authorized the Secretariat to set it up through consultations with all interested parties. It is very important for us to handle properly the relationship between environmental protection and economic planning and to try to achieve our environmental objectives, especially at a time when we are shifting from a planned economy to a market economy. The Bureau appreciates the help given by the EU to this project. It will support joint work by the State Planning Commission, the State Science and Technology commission and Mr. Martin Lees on this issue. With the rapid growth of our economy and the increase of vehicles, transportation is increasingly affecting the quality of the environment. The Bureau has asked the Secretariat to study the case earnestly and try to raise funds via various channels. Once that has been completed, we will move very quickly to the actual setting up of such a group.

  In one word, we have great hopes for 1995. We express the wish that all the Expert Working Groups have achieved even more.

  III. Combined efforts should be made to improve the work of the Council and bring it to a new level.

  It has been two and a half years since the Council was established. This initiative came as a result of the global environmental protection tide and of China's open-door policy. There is an increasing consensus on the fact that strengthening global cooperation, particularly in terms of environment and development, is t he right choice for a solution of global and, of course, national environmental problems. Our Council is on the forefront of this movement. It has already begun and can continue to contribute it creativity. I express the wish that all our council members and experts will continue to follow closely environment and development issues in China and to invest their talent and wisdom in the Council's deliberations.

  In the Short period of a dozen years that China has been pursuing its policy of opening to the outside, it has achieved results that have captured world attention. This clearly demonstrates that this policy is the right one and that its impetus is irreversible. This reinforces our confidence that this council's mission should be fulfilled. China is a developing country. In dealing with the international community, we attach great importance to mutual assistance. At the same time, we must recognize that we need more foreign support in terms of science and technology, modern management and investments. This will take due advantage of this historical and unique opportunity. They will devote their efforts in the next decades to guarantee for the 1.5 or 1.6 billion Chinese of the future better living conditions, both material and cultural, and a physical environment where the sky will be blue and the air pure.

  A few moments ago, the council members have discussed and approved a certain number of recommendations to the Chinese Government. These recommendations cover improvements to Chin's energy make-up, more efficient energy uses, better protection f biodiversity, the accelerated creation of an energy accounting system, a gradual reform of the energy pricing system and a greater recourse to economic instruments to protect the environment. They also touch upon more in-depth environmental research, the reinforcement of the environment monitoring system and wider use of clean technologies. Among these recommendations, there is also their hope that the implementation of its Agenda 21 will bring China to play a leadership role at the forefront of the international community. All these make us firmly believe that, through our joint efforts, China will be able to achieve even more on environment and development issues.

  As we look to the future work of this council, many of our friends suggest that our council members use their stature and influence to link China to the international finance and business communities, and bring them to make more contributions to the cause of sustainable development, particularly in the framework of the 62 projects identified in nine sectors by China's Agenda 12. If this can be the case, the advice and suggestions emanating from our council will be implemented faster and the work of our council itself, by moving towards more practical issues, will reach new heights.

  Dear friends, environmental protection is, in China, a new cause aiming at the welfare of our people both today and in the future. It is a pure and noble cause, relatively devoid of political and ideological interference, which can easily foster solidarity among our people. Anyone involved in it becomes pervaded by a sense of the holiness of the cause and of personal responsibility. I an convinced that, in a number of years, when environment and sustainable development have achieved more tangible results - and that day is not far away - the efforts that our council has devoted to environment and development, as well as the name and t he contributions of every single one of our experts will find their place in the annals of China's modern civilization and earn the deep respect of future generations. Just this prospect should make us feel that we have not lived in vain. Let us join hands and persist in our efforts to create a better future for the human kind.

  The Bureau of our council has decided to convene a new meeting of our council a year from now and asked the secretariat to select a venue for it as well as focal points for its deliberations. Final decision will be made after approval by the Bureau and through consultations with the council members. I am confident that a year from now, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development will be able to progress even further in its work.

  Now, I officially close this third meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

  Thank you all.

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