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Speech at the Opening Ceremony by Huguette Labelle


  Thank you, Mr.Chairman.

  Members of Council, Special Guests and Observers,

  I think it a great pleasure for all of us to be here, Mr.Chairman, and have the opportunity to work together over the next few days, We are also delighted to be in Shanghai, As you pointed out well, Mr.Chairman, this is very much the head of the dragon. Not only is it an outstanding example of the Chinese economic miracle. but it is also a very vibrant and exciting community. The people of Shanghai are famous around the world over their business capacity, their sharp minds, and their cosmopolitan outlook. Shanghai also serves to remind us of the long history of economic cooperation and technological exchange between China and the international community. So all this makes it a very appropriate place to meet for this Council.

  Mr.Chairman, members of the Council, I know, would like to join me in commending you and the people in the Government of China for the high priority that was given to environmental issues since we last met. The three very significant actions that you highlighted for us this morning are very important in giving effect to the commitment of the Government of China to sustainable development in your country. Not only do these three actions set out the future plan for environment, but also it identifies the financial support required, and a number of projects that have and will be started to incorporate the national economic and social development plans.

  I think what was also very interesting for many of us is to witness the high level of commitment of your most senior leaders in that your President and Premier were part of you national conference on environmental protection last year. And obviously this will give a very strong signal to the people in your country that protection of the environment is of utmost importance. As you pointed out for us this morning, Mr.Chairman, gigantic steps have been taken, but you continue to be concerned about the future, whether it is in terms of the pollution of cities, water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution and so on, We understand why you are taking these actions, It is by doing so that you can deal with the very important is sues before you.

  This is a very pivotal meeting in the history of the Council in that we will have an opportunity to take stock of the last five years ,see what has worked well, see where we need to improve, and use these first five years as the foundation for PhaseⅡ.And I go back to your words, Mr.Chairman, of last year at this Council, which I know you are still very concerned about, that we make our next phase targeted, that we are able to provide, as the result of our work, with specific recommendations that are implementable by your Government, that go beyond what the Government of China might have thought for itself. And also we are able to identify the types of demonstration projects that will be helpful in advancing the situation of the environment in your country. I know that the Working Group members are well positioned to do that, now that a lot of the background work has been done, and certainly this is a challenge that I hope we will all rise to during the next phase.

  In conclusion, may I say, Mr.Chairman, how much we look forward to the next few days. The subject matter before us is of profound importance, not only of profound importance to China, but to mankind. I would like to encourage also the members to make this Council meeting the most successful of all, and to participate fully.

  Thank you, Mr.Chairman.

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