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Closing Speech by Qu Geping


  Respected Council Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  Through the concerted and hard efforts of Council Members and WG Co-Chairs, the 4th Meeting of the 2nd Phase of CCICED has successfully - complete d all the items of the agenda, and is now coming to a close.

  During the meeting, Vice Premier Wen Jiabao made an important speech on behalf o f the Chinese Government, We had heated and effective debate on the theme of"en vironmental protection and China's western development strategy", listened to th e work report by the Secretariat, examined and discussed the reports by 10 Worki ng Groups/Task Forces, and listened to presentations by 6 ministries and 3 provi nces on the planning and actions for the western development strategy. Council M embers and WG Co-Chairs actively participated in the meeting,made valuable comme nts and recommendations, and enabled the meeting to achieve fruitful results. En trusted by Council Chairman Mr, Wen Jiabao and on behalf of the Council Bureau, I now thank Council Members, WG Co-Chairs and all the guests once again for thei r contribution to the meeting.

  As recommended by Premier Zhu Rongji, a side trip was arranged for some Council Members to visit Dalian city, and national environmental model city of China. Se lection of national environmental model cities is an innovative approach for Chi na's environmental protection. In order to further promote environmental protect ion in cities, the State Environmental Protection Administration formulated 27 s tandards for national environmental protection model cities. Since Dalian was aw arded the title of National Environmental Protection Model Cities, other cities have followed suit in taking stronger environmental measures to compete for this award. In several years, 17 cities have passed strict examination and been awa rded National Environmental Protection Model Cities. 10 Years ago, the environme ntal status of Dalian was not very good. But now it is quite satisfactory. Since the Chinese Government has just initiated the policy of converting steep arable land back to forest and grassland, the China Council established the Task Force on Forest and Grassland Issues in order to provide the government with timely r ecommendations. These reflect that CCICED is very relevant to the Chinese Govern ment, is very effective, and is playing a more important role. This afternoon, P remier Zhu Rongji will meet with all Council Members and WG Co-Chairs. We will b e able to talk directly with him.

  This meeting held a debate on the theme of environmental issues in Great Western Development. This theme is very to the point. The recommendations by CCICED as well as the research results of the various WGs will be of great reference value to the smooth implementation of the western development strategy.

  Council Members have commented positively on the decision-making of the Chinese Government to strengthen infrastructure construction and ecological restoration and to attach importance to environmental protection. It was pointed out by Coun cil Members that it is important for the Chinese Government to define ecological restoration and environmental protection as the basis and proceeding point of w estern development strategies. This decision is based on a clear understanding o f the environmental status of western regions, is a correct one, and has pointed out the direction for western development. Council members made many valuable r ecommendations, including but not included to the following:water saving and eff ective use of water resources should be attached importance in western developme nt;education and development of human resources should emphasized;sufficient at te ntion needs to be paid to road construction and environmental issues in the proc ess of mines development;the scale of cities should be properly controlled, and it is not appropriate to develop large cities in western regions;trees and grass should be planted in light of local situations and the natural conditions of th e western regions; integrated management should be exercised on water resources and vegetation (such as forest and grass) for different catchments; importance s hould be attached to the development of cleaner and renewable energy; cleaner pr oduction is important and can achieve "win-win"effect for environment and devel o pment;establishment of monitoring and pre-warning systems should be sped up so a s to ensure the healthy development of western regions. These recommendations ar e very important for the western development strategies.

  It was also pointed out by Council members that the Chinese Government should st rengthen efforts in 4 areas. First, in the process of developing western regions , the various departments of the State Council and governments at various levels should have a unified understanding of environmental protection, should have c oordinated actions, and carry out integrated decision making. Second, strategic environmental impact assessment should be carried out on western development, an d the carrying capacity of ecological system of the western regions should be th e precondition for development. Third, a support mechanism for environmental pro tection during western development should be established, especially in terms of funding support and economic policy support. Fourth, the business side much be actively involved in order to implement environmental protection strategy in

  western development. Their action will direct impact on the ecological environme nt of the western regions.

  The Chinese Government will seriously study the recommendations by Council Membe rs, and will try to adopt them in the policy-making for western development. Wes tern development is a tremendous task and a long-term development strategy. Ther e are some problems which we have gained a clear understanding and are seeking s olutions to them. The wisdom and effective work of Council members and WG member s will make a positive contribution to the development and environmental protect ion of western regions.

  Ladies and Gentlemen,

  Next year will be the last year of Phase II of the China Council. Working Groups will wrap up their work. We hope that all WGs will proceed according to their w orkplan and complete their work successfully, so that they can enter into Phase III without any regret. Yesterday, we heard the work report by the Secretary Gen eral, which revealed some very exciting facts. The Secretary General presented u s with a summary of how the Council's recommendations have been accepted and ado pted by the 24 departments of the State Council and provincial & municipal gover nments. His summary was in 12 aspects and more that 40 items. The examples of in tegrated decision making, energy saving, clean energy, economic policy, cleaner production and ecological conservation were especially detailed and impressive. T his shows that the hard work of Council members and WGs has paid off, and that t he recommendations by the China Council has had positive impact on China's envir onment and development. I believe that, after hearing to this report, you must h ave felt happy about what we have achieved. Our outlook for Phase III is :the re commendations on macro decision making should be more focused and in-depth so as to be more effective; Council members should be of higher level and in smaller number. I would also like to announce that, as was decided by the Bureau of the Council, the 5th Meeting of the 2nd Phase of the China Council will be held from September 25-27,2001 in Beijing. Before the meeting, a field trip will be arranged for Council members to visit a place in the western regions. Hope that you will set these dates aside so as to be able to attend the meeting in time. 

  I wish once again to thank all Council members and WGs(TFs) for their excellent work. Although we have had membership changes every year,you contribution has le ft a mark on China's environment and development. Let' join together in the new century, and make further contribution to the promotion of environment and devel opment of China and the world.

  Lastly, I wish to thank all those who have contributed to this meeting. I especi ally would like to thank the Secretariat Head Office and Canadian Office for the ir hard work, which made the success of the meeting possible.

  Thank you again.

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