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Basic Situation on China's Implementation of the Strategy of Sustainable Development, the Promotion of the Cause of Environment and Development, and the Implementation of the Framework

1998-11-16author:Zhang Guobaosource:

  Mr. Chairman, feelow members,

  The formation of the new tem of leadership of the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and development. So please allow me to extend, on be half of the State Development Planning Commission, and the Ministry of Science a nd Technology, my heartfelt congratulations on the new term of leadership and on its first convention.

  In this paper, I would like to talk about the progresses made in China since 199 7in implementing the strategy of sustainable development and the Framework Conve ntion on Climate Change, and in promoting the cause of environment and developme nt.


  Irecent years, the issue of sustainable development has attracted more and more attenwions from the international society. Increasing inter-governmental technol ogical and economic cooperation activities and funds have been conducted and use d for projects on sustainable development. In line with the specific conditions and requirements, the Chinese govenment has done the following things to promote sustainable development defined in China Agenda 21:

  1.1 Efforts are being made to set up the China Industrial and Commercial Council for Sustainable Development.

  The industrial and commercial circles are playing an increasingly important role in stimulating the sustainable development and is the key to the implementation of the strategy of sustainable development. The World Industrial and Commercial Council for Sustainable Development composed of several trans-national companie s has organised or conducted research on a sustainable productive and consumptiv e mode, and the relationship between the environment, trade, and the economy, et c. so as to map out the medium and long term development strategies for enterpri ses. This is a good approach worthy of study. So we are preparing to set up the China Industrial and Commercial Council for Sustainable Development to envourage the participation of enterprises in sustainable development

  1.2 Publicity and Training Activities

  Feature columns have been opened in various newspapers and magazines to cover th e origin, content and significance of the strategy of sustainable development in China. From 5 June of this year, CCTV began to show a series named Road to Chin a's Sustainable Development. BTV(Beijing TV station) has broadcast for several t imes a television series of 30 parts entitled The 21st Century is Not a Dream, w hich has evoked strong repercussions among the public. Additionally, the State D evelopment Planning Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointl y held a training program Incorporating China Agenda 21 into Plans followed by v arious kinds of publicity and training activities by other departments and local organizations. It is estimated that training classes on sutainable development have been held approximately one hundred times.

  1.3 Capacity-building at the Local Level

  In November, 1997, the former State Planning Commission and State Science and Te chnology Committee issued the Notice on the Pilot Implementation of China Agenda 21 at the Local Level to choose some places at the provincial level and the reg ional level as pilot areas to accumulate experiences for the better implementati on of the China A-genda 21.

  So far, twenty-five provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly un der the central government have established their Leading Group for China Agenda 21. In such provinces and autonomous regions as Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Sha nxi, Shanding, Heilongjing, Hebei, Shaanxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, and Tibet, the P rovincial Agenda 21s have been or are being drawn up, and the City Agenda 21 or City Action Plan 21 have been drafted in Chengdu of Sichuan province, Guangzhou of Guangdong province, Benxi of Liaoning province, Changzhou of Jiangsu province , Nanyang of Henan province, Taiyuan of Shanxi province, etc. Corresponding acti vities have also been conduted in line with the local features.

  Other efforts have been undertaken in developing the Comprehensive Experiment Zo nes and the Demonstration Projects. On the one hand, experiments have been made in implementing the strategy of sustainable development, changing the traditiona l development mode and initiating new systems, management concepts, the way of t hinking and living habits. On the other hand, a great many demonstration project s have been carried out - for example, the Mountatin - River - Lake Project of J iangxi Protection of the Six Provinces in North - western China, the Technology Project for 10 Industries of Shandong Province, the City Wastes Disposal Demonst ration Project of Sichuan Province, the Index System for Sustainable Development of Liaoning Province and the Ecological Agriculture Development of Chizhou.

  1.4 The State Development Planning Commission and the Ministry of Science and Te chnology have paid more attention to guiding the local implementation of the Age nda 21 and to coordinating activities among different parties concerned.

  Along with the implementation of the strategy of sustainable development, China is marching into a new stage of environmental protection. The government is atta ching more and more importance to the basic state policy of environmental protec tion and the strategy of sustainable development. After the government instituti onal reform this year, the function of the State Development Planning Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology in the environmental protection and the sustainable development has been further strengthened. And the government is more aware of the key issues concerning the balanced development of the economy , resources ahd the environment, and the researches on policies, guidelines, reg ulations and technologies.

  1.5 Since 1997, the Ministry of Science and Technology has continued the support s to a group of environmentally R&D projects involving environmental protection, the comprehensive utilisation of resources, ecological construction and clean e nergy, and has carried out research on policies of the environmental industry an d on the index system of the sustainable development.

  1.6 Further efforts have been made in summarization and publicity.

  Under the leadership of the State Council, the State Development Planning Commis sion and the former State Science and Technology Committee organized 42 institut ions and departments as well as 9 regions, to draw up the Country Report on Sust ainable Development, People's Republic of China. This was completed in the first half of 1997. This report reviews and evaluates the implementation of the China Agenda 21 since 1992, focusing on the set - up and implementation of China's st rategy of sustainable development, on the activities and achievements in such fi elds as the poverty alleviation, the inhabiting environment and community buildi ng, the agriculture and rural economy, the industry, the energy production and c onsumption, the land, forest, water and marine resources, the disater prevention and relicf, the ecological environment protection, the handling of social waste s, the protection of bio - diversity, on the plans and measures taken for furthe r implementation of the strategy of sustainable development, and on the basic st and China holds towards some international issues about the strategy of sustaina ble development. This report, after the approval of the State Council, was submi tted to the UNGASS (UN General Assembly Special Session for Environment and Deve lopment) held in June of that year, and caused positive responses in the interna tional community.

  1.7 International exchanges and cooperation have been strengthened and priority projects for China Agenda 21 have been promoted.

  In recent years, we have actively carried out international cooperation projects and absorbed domestic and foreign experience and technology information. Up to this time, over 1/3 of the two groups of priority projects have been started wit h initial capital amounting to UDS 1.9 billion (foreign capital accounted for on e - third). Many projects have proven to be successful, for example, the Environ ment - friendly Center Project initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technolo gy and financed by the Asian Bank, Local Capacity - building Project for for Age nda 21 initiated by the State Development Planning Commission and the former Sta te Science and Technology Committee and financed by the UNDP, the Project of Est ablishing Integrated Decision - making Mechanism on Environmental Protection and Economic Planning initiated by the State Development Planning Commission and fi nanced by the EU, and the Environmental Cooperation Project initiated by the Min istry of Science and Technology and financed by the EU. These projects have stro ngly promoted the implementation of the strategy of sustainable development in C hina.


  Since 1997, under the leadership of the State Council and with the support of re lated departments, the State Development Planning Commission has taken the follo wing action to advance the coordinated development of the environment and the ec onomy.

  2.1 Planning Establishment and Improvement

  (1)During the second half of 1997, the State Planning Commission organised the f ormulation of the National Plan for the Protection of the Ecological Environment to guide nation - wide improvements in the ecological environment up to the mid dle of the next centruy. Included in this plan are the short - term, medium - te rm and long - term goals, the distribution of key projects, and the main measure s to be made to guarantee the implementation of the plan. The State Council has approved this plan in principle, and some of the key projects are now being carr ied out.

  (2)The Plan for Preventing Water Pollution of the Upper Reaches of Yangtze River has been drawn up by related departments in Chongqing, Sichuan and Hubei provin ces. International cooperation will be undertaken on some candidate programs.

  (3)Together with the Ministry of Water Resources, the State Development Planning Commission has organised provinces and cities along the Yellow River to map out The Annual Quota for the Water Supply from the Yellow River and the Management Scheme for the Main Stream of the Yellow River, and The Management Regulation fo r the Water Resources of the Yellow River. This is to ease the increasing tensio ns from the cut - out on the lower reaches of Yellow River in recent years by me ans of more reasonable distribution of water consumption volumes among the upper , middle and lower reaches, adjustments in rainy seasons and drought seasons, an d the management of routine activities.

  (4)The State Development Planning Commission examined, approved and inaugurated the Master Plan for the Control of Water Pollution of Xiang River in Hunan Provi nce. According to this plan, Hunan province will use USD 100 million from the Ja pan Oversear Economic Cooperation Funds (OEC) to manage the key pollution source s in Xiang River basin and the key cities along the Xiang River. At present, rel ated projects are well under way.

  (5)In September, 1997, the State Environmental Protection Bureau and the State P lanning Commission jointaly issued the first National Program for Nature Reserve s (1996-2010). It is composed of six parts: the Status quo of the Construction a nd Management of Nature Reserves, the Planning Guideline and Principles, the Pla nning Objectives, the Planning Program, the Budget, and the Guarantee Measures f or the Implementation of the Plan. For better implementation, this program prese nts the main measures and requirements from the perspective of leadership enhanc ement, favorable policies, fund - raising for the construction and management, l egislation, monitoring and supervision, and pilots establishment.

  (6)In order to improve the environment plans and the operation ability of these plans, the State Development Planning Commission and the State Environmental Pro tection Administration have made major adjustments on the main indexes and the s tatistical line of China's environmental protection plans since 1997. For instan ce, the total emission control index has been added in the plan for senen pollut ants, and industrial solid wastes. Meanwhile, the emission volume of the industr ial enterprises above the township level has also been inducluded in Statistics and the emission control plan.

  2.2 The Establishment and Implementation of Related Policy Measures

  (1)As required by the previous term of the Environmental Protection Committee un der the State Council, the State Planning Commission at the end of 1997 submitte d the Opinions on Preventing and Managing the High - sulphur Coal Pollution to t he Envirronmental Protection Committee under the State Council. This paper put f orward some suggestions on strictly limiting the exploitation of the high - sulp hur coal with over 3% sulphur, on accelerating the development of coal washing a nd processing, strengthening the supervision and management, stepping up legisla tion, and on formulating related economic policies.

  (2)The State Development Planning Commission, the Ministry of Communications and the State Environmental Protection Administration jointly drafted the Proposal on the Reform of the Charging system for the Waste Water Treatment and the Estab lishment of the Operating Mechanism for the Centralized Treatment of Urban Sewag e Water to be approved by the State Council.

  (3)Financed by EU, the State Development Planning Commission initiated and inaug urated the project of Establishing an Integrated Decision - making Mechanism on Environmental Protection and Economic Planning. In May of this year, Mr. Liujian g, deputy director of the State Development Planning Commission & the Chinese he ad of this project, together with Mr. Martin Lees, the foreign member of this te rm of the commission and the foreign head of this project, co - chaired the firs t International Seminar on this project participated in by nearly 20 foreign exp erts and 20 Chinses experts. Mr Xie Zhenhua, Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration, attended the opening ceremony and gave an important speech. This seminar focused on the research direction and emphasis of the proje ct, the international cooperation between Chinese and foreign experts, and the f und - increment plan for three new sub - projects.

  2.3 Adjustment of Investment Policies and Investment Arrangements

  (1)In March 1998, the State Development Planning Commission officially promulgat ed the newly - amended Catalogue of Policies to Direct the Foreign Investment. F or the first time, the ecological engineering, the environmental protection moni toring technology and equipment, and the environmental information were included in the list of fields where foreign businesses are encouraged to enter the Chin ese market.

  (2)With effect from this year, for the first time the Chinese govenment explicit ly defined environmental protection as one of the sic priority investment areas to expand the domestic demands and to strengthen the infrastructure construction . Rmb 35 billion yuan worth of new fiscal bonds has been planned for the infrast ructure projects such as urban environmental protection. There will be 203 more concentrated treatment centres of waste water and 37 new garbage disposal facili ties. Rmb one billion yuan will be added to start the national project on ecolog ical environmental protection, and Rmb 4.5 billion yuan will be dedicated for th e project on natural forest protection, etc.

  (3)Beginning from 1997, with the Huaihe River as the focus, activities have been carried out to manage the water pollution of the "three rivers" (Liao River, Ha i River and Huaihe River) and the "three lakes" (Taihu Lake, Dianchi and Chao La ke). The State Development Planning Commission has injected new loans of Rmb 3.5 billion yuan and has approved the use of USD 400 million worth of World Bank lo ans to support the above - mentioned activities.

  2.4 Publicity and Training

  (1)As previously mentioned, in 1997 the State Planning Commission and the Minist ry of Science and Technology organised and completed the formulation of the Coun try Report of the Sustainable Development (People's Republic of China), which ex erted positive effects at home and abroad.

  (2)In 1997, the State Planning Commission, the State science and Technology Comm ittee and nine other ministries, departments and commissions jointly held the Ex hibition On the Five - year Achievements in Sustainable Development. It showed t he brilliant achievements made in the past five years in implementing the strate gy of sustainable development, and covered a wide range of topics such as the Ch ina Agenda 21 and its Action Plan, the comperehensive utilisation of resources, family planning, the employment of mineral and forest resources, water and soil maintenance, and the use of land and marine resources.

  (3)Financed by the Beijing Office of UNDP, the State Development Planning Commis sion and the Ministry of Science and Technology also organised training activiti es in the first half of this year in sixteen pilot cities concerning the local i mplementation of the Agenda 21.


  In order to further enhance the co - ordination of the domestic and internationa l activities participated in and carried out by the Chinese government in the fi eld of global climate changes in a more unified and efficien way, the Chinese go vernment, during the government institutional reform this year, re - established the National Co - ordination Committee on Climate Change Policy. Headed by the State Development Planning Commission, this committee consists of fourteen depar tments including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Te chnology, the State Economic and Trade Commission, the State Environmental Prote ction Administration and the China Meteorological Administration. The office of the Committee is located in the State Development Planning Commission. Zeng Yanp ei, director of the State Development Planning Commission and Liu Jiang, vice - director of the State Development Planning Commission, have taken up the posts o f Committee President and Executive Vice - President respectively. According to the new institutional reform scheme of the State Council, the major responsibili ties of this newly - established Committee are as follows:

  ·to study the strategies and opinions advanced by various domestic departments concerning climate changes and coordinate them so as to provide policy - decisio n suggestions to the State Council;

  ·to organize the early - stage researches for external negotiations;

  ·to organize and participate in the international negotiations concerning clima te changes;

  ·to organize international and domestic information exchanges about climate cha nges;

  ·to arrange overall external cooperation programs in the sphere of climate chan ges and liaison relevant departments with the United Nations Secretariat of Fram ework Convention on Global Climate Change and the Inter - governmental Professio nal Committee on Climate Changes (IPCC); and

  ·to coordinate the work of the subordinate groups under the National Co - ordin ation Committee on Climate Change Policy.

  At present, this Committee is busy carrying out the following work:

  (1)To prepare for the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Conve ntion on Global Climate Change which will be held this year in Argentina, (2)To organize the relevant domestic experts to study the technical and policy issues concerning climate changes, and

  (3)To prepare for the formulation of the National Communication.

  At this point I would like to take the opportunity to elaborate to the foreign c ommittee members on the principle standpoints and basic views held by the Chines e government towards the participation in the activities on the global climate c hanges. These are:

  1. China, as one of the signatory States of the Framework Convention on Global C limate Change, will actively take part in the activities within the framework of the convention and will adhere to the basic principle of "common but differenti ated responsibilities" as defined in the convention. At the same time, China wil l uphold the principle of increasing GHG SINK, and uphole the principle of impro ving the utilisation efficiency of energy resources.

  2. Before it becomes a developed country of medium level, China cannot assume th e duty of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. After it becomes a develope d country, it will carefully consider undertaking such an obligation.

  3. Although China does not assume the duty of reducing the eission of GHG at pre sent, still, it will seriously implement the set strategy of sustainable develop ment and its China Agenda 21. In particular, China will rely on the scientific a nd technological advancement, and adopt a series of "Non - Regret" policies and measures which can effectively control the emission of greenhouse gases so as so retard the increased rate of the greenhouse gas emission as much as possible an d to make its due contribution to the protection of the global climate.

  4. The main action plans to be implemented by China in the field of global clima te changes include

  (a). To uphold the basic state policy of the strategy of sustainable development and environmental protection. To strengthen the cooperation and coordination am ong departments, governments at various levels as well as among the government, enterprises and various circles of the society. By bringing the strategy of sust ainable development into the government decision and management system, the rese arches on and the establishment of relevant laws, regulations and systems which promote the sustainable development will be accelerated, the capacity - building in implementing the strategy of sustainable development and the international c ooperation will be strengthened so that the implementation of the China Agenda 2 1 and the Action Plan can be gradually pushed for ward.

  (b). To adhere to the basic state policy of family planning to control the popul ation growth rate. Our goal is that by the year 2000, the total population will not exceed 1.3 billion; by the year 2010, the total population will not exceed 1 .4 billion; the year 2040 will begin to witness the Zero Growth of the populatio n, and by the year 2050, the population will be controlled within 1.6 billion.

  (c). To gradually improve the productive and consumptive structure of energy res ources, to encourage and popularize the energy - saving technology, to vigorousl y develop the renewable energy and to raise the utilization efficiency of energy resources. It is also necessary to adopt measures to gradually increase hydropo wer, wind power, solar energy, nuclear energy etc. and to gradually reduce the p roportion of coal consumption. In addition, rural energy production will be acce lerated and the growth rate of the emission volumes of carbon dioxide will be re duced as much as possible.

  (d). To continuously enhance the ability of absorbing carbon dioxide. We must pr omote afforestation to try to increase the afforestation area by 4 million to 5 million hectares each year. Natural forests must be protected according to laws so as to bring into full play forests' enormous potential of absorbing carbon di oxide. In addition, we should accelerate the development of ecological agricultu re, draw up and implement plans on national ecological environment construction, and make more efforts to control the desertification.

  (e). To continuously improve the legal construction and policy researches on pop ulation control, resources economy and the environmental protection. To slow dow n the emission of greenhouse gases and increase the SINK absorption through econ omic means.

  (f). To strengthen the scientific research activities in relevant fields and rai se our technical ability to support China's participation in the activities on g lobal climate changes. To take part in the international division of labor activ ely, seriously and conscientiously.

  (g). To strengthen the public educationand publicity concerning climate changes so as to raise the awareness of public participation.

  In short, the Chinese government has done much and has achieved considerable suc cess in implementing the strategy of sustainable development, in promoting the c ause of environment and development, and in implementing the Framework Conventio n on Gloabl Climate Change since 1997. However, we understand quite well that we still have a long way to go on the road to sustainable development and that the re are still many tasks which need further supports and assistance from the inte rnational society. We believe that with the concerted efforts of all the committ ee members, the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and De velopment will certainly make substantial schievements in implementing the strat egy of sustainable development in China.

  Thank you!

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