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Opening Speech by Liu Jiang


  Dear Members, Guests, Comrades and Friends, 

  In October, the golden autumn with high sky and sound weather, members and the co- chars of the working groups of the China Council on International Cooperation of Environment and Development gather together in Beijing to discuss the issue of environment and development of China in the new century, which is of significant importance. First of all, please allow me to express my warm welcome to the old fr iends and new acquaintances coming from far away. 

  When recalling the historical process of the social development of human beings at the critical moment between the new and old centuries, the 20th century is a century with most of the material fortune is obtained and a century with th e ecological environmental is damaged more than ever before. To our delights, from early 70's, people began to recognize the importance of environmental issues and initiated environmental protection on large scale, which is the first leap of hu man being in the environmental history of human being. Around 90's, the countries in the world recognized that it was impossible to follow the traditional way of development and the sustainable development became the common selection of huma n society. "Agenda 21" of different countries and r egions were formulated, integrating environment and development together, which i s the second leap of the recognition. At the turning moment of the millenniums, Ch inese government made the important decision on the Great Development of the Wes tern China, which is an important measure to promote economic growth, solidarity o f the peoples, social stability, coordinated development of the regions and common well-being. Based on the experiences and lessons of the regional development in and abroad, Chinese government made the decision to follow the sustainable devel opment in the development in the western part on full scale:to enhance the eco-c onstruction, and implement the projects of restoring the cultivated fields into f orests and grassland and natural forest so as to improve the production condit i on and eco-environment in the western part;to speed up the adjustment of the eco nomic structure, develop agriculture with local characteristics and tourism, to pr omote reasonable development and deep process of the prioritized resources and s peed up the development of non- resource-dependent industries in the cities with little resources;to focus on the improvement of personnel qualification and imp ort talents, and list the development of human resources as the important conditi on of the development;to expand the opening -up and enhance the economic coopera tion between the eastern part and the western part and import funds, technologies and management experiences. 

  The western part is of special importance to the eco-environment of China. The we stern part is the sources of the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Pearl River, the barrier of the eastern and middle areas, as well as one of the areas with the ric hest bio-diversity in China. Due to natural and historical reasons, the eco-enviro nment in the western part is rather fragile. At present, the area of soil erosion in the western part accounts for 80% of the entire country and the desertificati on areas are also concentrated in the western part. The degradation of the eco-en vironment in the western part will not only directly lead to the environmental d egradation in the eastern part but also seriously limit the economic development and poverty alleviation of the residents in the western parts, which will in the end has influence on the phase target of China. Chinese government has fully rec ognized the importance and urgency of environment protection and improvement of environment quality, and has determined to list the eco-construction and protecti on in the outstanding position as well as the fundamental key point of the devel opment in the beginning of the development in western part and has devoted grea t efforts to put the development on the base of eco-environmental protection and improvement of environmental quality. 

  We are also clearly aware that the existing natural environment is the result of long -term historical processes. We are faced with unfavorable conditions of t he extreme natural condition, weak basic conditions of social and economic develo pment and resources without advantages. Therefore, the development in the western part is no doubt a long-term tough task. In order to finish the task, we should fo llow the scientific patterns. At present, under the leadership of the State Counci l, the State Development and Planning Commission is formulating programs of the d evelopment in the western part and we are eager to listen to the recommendations of the members and experts in and abroad. The focus of the discuss of this meeti ng is the development in the western part. I hope that the members and experts fr om in and abroad will fully put forward your suggestions for the developments in the western part and put forth pertinent recommendations to Chinese government. 

  I wish grand success to the meeting. 


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