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Opening Ceremony Speech by Qu Geping


  Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  With five years of concerted effort by friends from home and abroad, the China

  Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development has successfully accomplished the First Phase, and is now about to start on the second. As I join many old friends with whom I have worked closely for five years and many new comers in the Council, I feel, as you do, deep gratification for our achievements and strong confidence for the future.

  What has past has been five years of effective work and success. Five years ago,

  just after the Rio Conference on Environment and Development, when nations all over the world were searching for new ways for international co-operation on environment and development issues, this very Council was established with the effort of international friends of common concern for the environment of China. By gathering eminent persons from home and abroad, it has created a new forum of cooperation on environment and development.

  Yet its meaning goes far beyond that. It has created a new framework where views and opinions on environment co-operation can be discussed and exchanged freely between domestic and foreign experts. It demonstrates the spirit of New Global Partnership, and has established an example of international cooperation.

  In the five years past, we have accomplished the ten tasks and five objectives set out at the Council's establishment meeting. Every year, we have provided policy recommendations, constructive and practical, to the Chinese Government, most of which have been adopted and applied as sustainable development strategies in China. The in-depth and meticulous research done by the Working Groups have, apart from laying sound foundation for the work of the Council, greatly promoted scientific and policy research on environment and development in China.

  The pursuit of sustainable development by mankind is full of hope and challenge. The implementation of Agenda 21 by the international community after Rio has encountered many obstacles and difficulties. We know that the road to sustainable development is of even greater difficulty and challenge.

  Sustainable development needs the unremitting effort of the people, more political courage of the policy makers, more technical and structural innovation of the industrial sectors, more committed and diversified co-operation of the international community, and more careful and arduous experiments and demonstrations that go beyond find words and principles.

  At the turn of the century, as China strives to achieve the environmental objectives set in the trans-century plan, we are also faced with many practical problems in policy making, management, economics, technology, engineering, and so forth. We need to learn from the successful experiences in sustainable development from the international community. We also need to conduct a series of demonstrations and experiments, both practical and imaginative, so that our efforts in sustainable development will be based on a sound and practicable foundation. These demands create a broad stage for the Council to carry out demonstration projects in Phase Two. I believe, with the joint effort of all the members and the Working Groups, the Council will influence the trans-century sustainable development strategies of China in an effective and positive manner.

  Starting from this very day, the new Council will unfold and reveal its wisdom and capacity for hard work. With the co-operative background and achievements we have already built up in the past five years, with the determination and sincerity of all members for China's environment and development, with the excellent work of the Working Groups and the careful co-ordination of the Secretariat, and with one other very important element indeed - the outstanding leadership of Dr. Song Jian and the strong support by Madame Labelle - the Council shall make even greater and more effective contributions to China's environment and development in the years to come.

  Finally, please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to the Council members and the Working Groups for their wonderful and hard work in all these years.

  I wish this meeting a success.

  Thank you.

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