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Closing Ceremony Speech by Song Jian


  Respected Members and Guests,

  Ladies and Gentlemen,

  The first meeting of the Second Phase of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is coming to a successful end. In the past three days, we have reviewed the work report of the Council Secretariat by Mr. Xie Zhenhua, the Council Secretary General, and reviewed the reports of the Expert Working Groups and their working plans for the Second Phase. We have discussed and approved the Terms of Reference and the Rules of Procedure for the Second Phase, and Council's recommendations to the government of China. The goals and mission for the Second Phase of the Council has also been set during this meeting. All of this work has laid the foundation for the Council's work in the Second Phase. I would like to, on behalf of the Bureau of the Council, extend our heart-felt gratitude to all members and representatives for your attendance and contribution to the Council!

  The achievements of this meeting can be summarized in three aspects:

  1. Firstly, all members have received information concerning China's situation with respect to development and environmental protection. Being the biggest developing country in the world with a population of 1.2 billion, China is faced with the triple challenge of survival, development and environmental protection and improvement. With its focus on economic development, the government is reinforcing ecological conservation and pollution control, and earnestly implementing international environmental conventions which China has joined, striving to find China's own way for environmental protection.

  2. Secondly, the Chinese government has always appreciated and paid great attention to the Council's recommendations; the government has adopted most of them. Expectations for the Second Phase of the Council are consequently high.

  3. Thirdly, the direction of the Council has been specified and agreement has be en reached over the tasks of the Second Phase.

  Ladies and Gentlemen,

  From now until we enter the next century is a period of great importance for China's reform, opening up and modernization drive. The targets in the next decade are:

  1. By the year 2000, with a net population growth of 0.3 billion over 1980, per capita GNP shall be quadruple that of 1980, poverty will be eradicated, and people will live a relatively comfortable life.

  2. By the year 2010, per capita GNP shall be doubled over that of the year 2000 and people will become better to do.

  Economic development and the elevation of people's living standard are considerably dependent on the improvement of environmental quality. China's environment targets for the Ninth Five-Year period and the year 2010 are that by the year 2000 we shall curb the trend of environmental pollution and ecological damage, and improve the environmental quality in most regions and cities. The Second Phase o f the Council coincides with the critical period for China to attain its trans-century targets. The Chinese people ardently expect that the Second Phase of the Council will conduct in-depth studies on critical issues of environment and development, and put forward feasible policy recommendations to all levels of government, enterprises, institutions and social organizations, once they have examined policy and management issues, and undertaken project demonstrations. The Second Phase of the Council should be practical, demonstrative and future-oriented. I hope that all members and experts will give full play to their wisdom and experience, contribute useful ideas and be united and cooperative. Let's open up a new arena for China's environment and development, and help to bring clean China and a beautiful world into the new century.

  The Global Environment Outlook recently released by UNEP pointed out that 'human being's infringement on the environment is becoming worse and more conspicuous, and we are making too many demands on the global environment we live in'. Present global environmental issues can only be resolved through international cooperation and concerted efforts. At the 19th Special Session of UN Assembly on Environment and Development held this June, the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' put forward at the 1992 Earth Summit was reaffirmed. It is a pity that most developed countries have failed to fulfill these commitments. With the support and help of organizations of UN system and various countries, the C CICED is a striking contrast. Founded in 1992, and adhering to the principles of international cooperation in the field of environment and development, experts and scholars both at home and from abroad were invited to study China's environmental issues. With sincere cooperation, the Council has made outstanding contributions to China's environment and development, and has become a paradigm for international cooperation in this field. I would like, on behalf of the Chinese government, to extend our heart-felt gratitude to all Council members, to all organizations of the United Nations system and to the governments of Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and many others.

  Since the foundation of CCICED, both the government and the people of China have benefited a great deal from the Council's activities; this is a crucial factor in the Council's success and widespread influence. In the future, China will continue to adhere to its policy of reform and opening up, and go still closer into the world family so as to make prosperous China a reality. An important part o f China's opening up policy is to strengthen international cooperation, in order to draw on the beneficial experiences of sustainable development in other countries. Upholding the policy of opening up over a long period of time, and continuously broadening the exchange and cooperation with the international community, w ill make it possible for China to achieve healthy, stable and sustained development.

  We fully understand the worldwide campaign to battle global climate change, spearheaded by the European Union and the Nordic countries. The voice of the small island countries also brooks no ignorance. According to the UN Framework Convent ion on Climate Change and the Berlin Mandate, China bears no responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emission. When we ask the opinions of people from all circles, many people, in particular the scientists, think that the emission control standard should be formulated on a per capita basis. According to the UN Charter, everybody is born equal, and has the inalienable right to enjoy modern technological civilization. Today, the per capita energy consumption of China is just on e-tenth of that of developed countries and one-eighth of the energy consumption levels of medium developed countries. It is estimated that China will require thirty or forty years to catch up with the level of medium developed countries. No on e is entitled to prohibit families from using refrigerators, or to prohibit those who live or work in such high temperatures as forty degrees Celsius from enjoying air-conditioning. However, the Chinese people and government have realized their due responsibilities for the global climate change and are committed to make efforts to lower the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emission in the following g way:

  1) To control the growth of population, and stop China's population growth within 30 years. This is a decisive guarantee for protecting the climate and environment.

  2) To put the exploitation of hydroelectric power resources as the top priority, and to explore other renewable energy sources, develop clean coal technologies and reduce the emission of unit energy consumption.

  3) To continue the campaign of afforestation, to plant more trees, to attend to pasture lands, to develop ecological agriculture, to protect the ecological environment, and to preserve and strengthen the ability of sinks for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The forest coverage rate is planned to double to exceed 30 percent of total national territory within the next thirty to forty years.

  4) To greatly increase the efficiency of energy utilization, to develop new and less energy-consuming industries, and to reduce energy consumption per unit of G DP.

  In all these fields, the scientific and industrial communities of China shall try their best to make their own contributions; but at the same time, we need inter national cooperation. I hope that all Council members, and working group experts, will put forward opinions and creative suggestions.

  The success of the China Council depends much on the scope and depth of the research undertaken by the working groups. We are gratified to see that the projects of the Second Phase of the working groups are indeed practical and will conform to the actual situation of China. They not only include strategic research at the macro-level, but also involve the implementation of specific projects. I hope t hat everyone will consider, research and assess the problems generated in the course of environmental preservation and improvement, and work out creative and constructive solutions and demonstrations in line with the development objectives of China. Such problems we need to consider:

  1) to develop ecological agriculture to ensure the sustained and stable growth o f agriculture and rural economy, while avoiding environmental degradation,

  2) to strengthen infrastructure for water conservancy, renewable energy and so o n,

  3) to reinforce theological treatment and sustainable development of resources in the central and western areas of China,

  4) to promote the coordinated development of regional economy and environment, an d so forth.

  Environmental protection and sustainable development is a long-term goal in both China and the world at large. The continuous efforts of successive generations are needed to turn it into reality. As an old Chinese saying goes 'As in the sea, the waves behind drive on those before; so each new generation excels the last one'. We have in the Second Phase of the Council many new members. We can expect that their participation will inject new vitality and mentality into the Council's work and further raise Council efficiency and effectiveness; we shall make even greater achievements than before.

  During the Second Phase of the China Council, I hope that we will continue to contribute our wisdom and experiences to the cause of environment and development both in China and the world, and to make a good start on trans-century work. Wit h the kind efforts of all members, with the sincere cooperation of both Chinese and foreign members and experts, and with the considerate organization and service of the Secretariat Head Office, the China Council will create new glory again and play an even bigger role in the cause we cherish.

  The outcome of this meeting and contributions of every member will be assembled by the Secretariat for printing and publication. It will then be distributed to the governments and relevant departments at all levels and to interested groups for study and reference. This treasury will then be put on file, and copies kept in Beijing Head Office of CCICED for study by future scholars.

  I now declare the First Meeting of the Second Phase of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development to be concluded.

  Thank you all.

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