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Report of the Working Group on Monitoring and Data Collection


  I. Summary

  On the bases of research and studies carried out in the past three years, every project made new workplans. The project on Environmental Decision Support System started the study on the provincial environmental information system needed in China after finishing the development of Environmental Decision Support System of Huhehaote. The project on the Environmental Indicator System finished the report "The Tentative Studies for Environmental Index System" and started work on several case studies. According to the needs of NEPA, namely to strengthen the basic work on monitoring and the training of monitoring staff, the project on environ mental monitoring decided to adjust its workplan for the next two years. It was decided to stop the research work on models which was added last year and to concentrate the limited funds and human resources on the strategic studies for the National Environmental Monitoring Network.

  The Working Group meeting held in Beijing on 11 May, 1995, discussed and approved the revised 1995-1996 work plan, and exchanged information on advanced techniques for data analysis. The second working group meeting will be held in Chongqing City in Sept. 1995, and the reports of each of the projects will be reviewed a t the meeting. The Chinese experts discussed and proposed suggestions for projects to be proposed for the Second Phase of CCICED.

  II. Progress and Achievement of Each Project

  1. The Strategic Studies on National Environmental Monitoring Network Development

  Since 1974 many departments including the Chinese Science Academy, Water Resources, Oceanic Administration, Mineral Resources, Agriculture and Forestry, Public Health and each of industrial sectors, have established their own environmental and ecological monitoring networks. The networks operate independently, and from the national perspective, the monitoring data obtained from the networks lack comparability and integrity. In some areas, the monitoring networks overlap but the monitoring data can differ considerably. In other areas, no monitoring is carried out. It is therefore necessary to establish an overall plan for a unified monitoring system to save manpower and material resources. This project will be strengthened in 1995-1996. It will conduct an evaluation of the present monitoring network, propose an improved plan for an environmental quality monitoring network composed of 200 the networks using measurements made in 1992-1993, and to select Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces as the typical provincial station, Guangzhou and Taiyuan as the typical municipal station to make a more detailed analysis. The focus of the evaluation is as follows:

  1) Evaluate the environmental monitoring capacity of the national networks: review the goals, the pollutants, the frequency and the method of monitoring, OA/OC, the collection and transmission of data, the quality and use made of data etc. Also the effectiveness and the response speed of the network regarding the major environmental pollution and ecological accidents should be evaluated.

  2)Organization and operation of the national networks: including the management structure, the operation mechanism of the network, the quality of staff, and sources of funds, etc.

  A preliminary report will be produced in Sept. 1995.

  2. Study on the Environmental Decision Support System

  The project "Development of Provincial Environmental Information System in China " is a technical assistance project of the World Bank Plan to analyze the historic environmental monitoring data of 27 provinces, assess present environmental quality and pollutants sources, and conduct a preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of construction projects and the impact on the regional environment, with respect to both water and air, To select a typical province to develop the decision support for pollutants reduction plans and a decision support system for the sustainable development. These studies should help managing with the implementation of day-to-day work at the provincial environmental protection bureaus level. The project will also conduct training courses and investigate the needs of the future users:

  1)First training meeting at Nanjing in Oct. 1994. Introduction of GIS and DSS system to 47 representatives coming from 27 provinces and cities, demonstration and user's needs investigation.

  2)Study of the needs of users on 8-22th March 1995 in Xi'an City of Shanxi Province (middle developed region) and Kunming City of Yannan Province (undeveloped region) with the leaders of the provincial and municipal environmental protection bureaus and other sectors.

  With the above mentioned activities, it was established that:

  a) The general aim of the system is to establish a provincial environmental data base and to develop the municipal software for collection and transmission of the environmental date. To develop 10 modules for the provincial environmental management and 5 modules to support the provincial environmental decision.

  b) The assessment of environmental impact of construction projects should be standardized.

  c)Implementation of sustainable development (between environment and economy) should be changed from qualitative to quantitative. Special attention should be p aid to the indicator system design.

  d) Social and economic status (provincial and regional), natural conditions, environmental pollution conditions, ecological destruction status should be taken into consideration. Results and information on international cooperation and information exchange should be promoted.

  e)Planning objectives and scopes can differ and a methodology should be adopted that combines routine and supplementary data.

  3. Study on an Environmental Indicator System

  The report of "The Tentative Study on Environmental Index System" has been submitted to the expert group meeting in Guangdong in May, 1994. Reported are the theory of an environmental indicator system, the design of the framework of indicator system, and the measuring methods of the main indicators. The framework of environmental indicator system and the measuring method of the main indicators has been preliminary defined. The project included following work:

  1) In Panyu City the conditions of environment, economy and social development w ere investigated.

  2) Based on the investigation of a large number of data and information on the case study site, the main indicators of environmental pollution, resources and ecosystem of Panyu City were measured.

  3) The main environmental problems regarding resources and ecosystems in Panyu City were analyzed, suggestions to improve the sustainable development of Panyu City based on the environmental indicator system and environmental accounting of Panyu City were made.

  The definition of an indicator system can help to realize the impact on economy of environmental pollution and coordinate the development between environment and economy. An environmental indicator system is of great practical significance. Through the case study of Panyu City, the theory and methods used in the study on environmental indicator system and the practicability of the research has be en studied.

  III. Future Workplan

  1. The Strategic Studies on A National Environmental Monitoring Network

  1)October, 1995 - March 1996 Study plan for improvement of the national monitoring networks and report on optimization of national environmental monitoring networks.

  2)April-November, 1996 Submit the comprehensive report of the monitoring project. (July -- August: compile and translate the final report; September: Discuss the report; October - November: revise and supplement the report and submit it to the Council)

  2. Studies on the Provincial Environmental Management Decision Support System

  July - December, 1995 Draw up the report on system design based on the system analysis. The main contents include detailed specification of the organization and structure of the program, specification of modules and description of design, design of interface, design of error message, design of demonstration of graphs and tables etc.

  January - August, 1996 Develop and test the programmers of the DSS.

  September - December, 1996 Draw up the user's manual including the installation of the system at the 27 provinces, train the users and compile the final report.

  3. Study on Environmental Indicator System

  Start another case study at Basin City in the next step. Basin City lies in the forest are of Changbai Mountains in Jilin Province with a wealth of natural resources and prominent ecological functions which can be used to improve on Pasnyu City case study. Submit the report to the expert working group at the first meeting next year. Other work which will be carried out in 1996 is to develop a group of environmental indicators for sustainable development.

  IV. Suggestions for Future Work

  1. The Expert Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Data Analysis Should also Be Active in the Second Phase of the Council.

  Monitoring is the foundation of strategic decisions made on environmental protection. Each country of the world attaches great importance to it. The monitoring often not only is realized continuity, through automation and computerization, but is also linked to global monitoring networks. China is a great country with a very complicated kind of natural environment. It should enter the gobal environ mental monitoring network. Under the new situations of a socialist market economy, the management of environmental monitoring of China is going to become very important, and requires improvement of the environmental monitoring work to improve the efficiency of environmental monitoring works, strengthen the functions of environmental monitoring on technique and supervision, harmonize construction of environmental monitoring stations, monitor pollutants sources. Provincial and municipal environmental information centers are being constructed in the sector of environmental protection bureaus. The establishment of an indicator system on environment and development is important for the sustainable development of China. It is necessary to continue to improve the monitoring expert working group in NEPA, and establish close relationship with leaders of concerned administrative bodies to promote the transformation of achievement of the studies.

  2. Sustainable Development as an Important Strategic Issue

  Although more attention is paid to sustainable development, sustainable development is not considered in the short- and long-term plans on economic development of every industrial sector. More attention should be paid to this issue. Basic work on sustainable development must be strengthened in addition to reporting results to the leaders of the nation and at all levels. The studies on environmental indicator system, including ecological agriculture, land resources management and resources accounting, should be continued. Indicators should be closely combined with economic indicators and social indicators, and should be used to improve the practicability of the present environmental indicator system. Today, sustainable development strategies are being implemented in many countries in the world, but there is a lack of defined indicators which can be used to judge whether the development is sustainable.

  3. Using Modern and Advanced Techniques in Monitoring to Support Management

  There are many kinds of environmental monitoring networks in China, but many of them are using outdated techniques and lack quality in technical support. Application of modern techniques to monitoring work should be speeded up to improve macro management decisions. For example the development and application of accepted models for pollutants sources, transport and deposition, the application of telemetering and remote sensing to environmental monitoring, research on and application of ecological monitoring techniques, application of the information highway, application of GIS (Geographic Information System) and GPS (Global Positioning System) to environmental field should be strengthened. the country should give funds and supports to this research work.

  4. Make Full Use of International Experts

  To exchange information between international experts and Chinese experts is extremely important, and the two meetings per year are possibly not enough.

  We suggest to invite some international experts working in the appropriate research area to China to exchange information. The Chinese expert group should also visit foreign countries. We should strive to get further international funds for cooperative research.

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