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Opening Speech by Xie Zhenhua


  Distinguished Mr. Chair, Council Members, Experts and Friends,

  First of all, I would like to express my gratitude and welcome to every Council member and expert who has managed to participate in this meeting. This fifth meeting is the last one for the second phase of CCICED. It is of great significance to have all the members, experts and scholars to gather here, to review and conclude the development course of CCICED over the past five years, in a bid to explore the environment and development strategy for China in the new century.

  CCICED has a history of ten years now. In the past ten years, China has accelerated the pace of reform characterized with two fundamental shifts in economic system and economic development modes, while embarking on two strategies of rejuvenating China through science and education and sustainable development. Particularly in the recent years, in facing with the complicated international economic situation, China has adopted a host of major measures such as strategic readjustment to the economic structure and expanding internal demands, and it has identified environmental protection as the major component of structural readjustment and a priority field for investment, with a view of expanding the internal demands. At present, China's national economy has maintained a rapid development, the people's livelihood has reached a level of better-off and environmental protection work has witnessed a series of major changes:

  Ⅰ. In terms of mentality on the relationship between the environment and economy, it has been shifted from being taken as conflict to being taken as win-win, and the relationship between human beings and nature has been raised up to the level of harmony and coordination.

  Ⅱ. The understanding of sustainable development has been further deepened. It is engaged to create a new path of civilization development with Chinese characteristics underlined by the idea of economy development, social affluence and favorable ecology.

  Ⅲ. In respect to the work itself, five changes are being achieved: the focus of the work has been shifted from pollution prevention to equal importance to both pollution control and ecological conservation; pollution prevention has been shifted from pipe-end control as a major issue to control the source and through the whole process, with the introduction of cleaner production; it has been shifted from point source treatment to integrated environmental treatment at the regional and catchment's level as well as shifting to relying on industrial structure readjustment; it has been shifted from control of pollutant concentration to the control of both concentration and the total amount; and the ecological environment work has been shifted from focusing on construction to focusing on both construction and conservation, and it is being put on the track of integration of prevention, restoration and reconstruction.

  Ⅳ. In terms of approach, it has been developed from administrative command as the major approach to the integrated application of legal, economic, technical and necessary administrative instruments.

  Ⅴ. In terms of mechanism, the market mechanism and the rule of value have been adopted to protect the environment. The internal driving force for the coordinating development of the environment and economy has been identified.

  Ⅵ. Pollution treatment, which was thought as purely an enterprise of public welfare with only input but no output, is now marching into marketlization, specialization and socialization, and it has thus evolved into environmental industry with economic, social and environmental benefits, making itself of a new component of national economy.

  Though the above mentioned changes are preliminary, some of them are just the beginning, it reflects the efforts and wisdom of every member and expert of CCICED. It results from the practices and innovation in the field of environment and development in China. The Council has put forward to the government of China valuable recommendations which have been adopted consecutively and integrated into the policies for China's environment and development. We will bear in mind the hard work and outstanding contributions made by all the members and experts of CCICED this phase.

  While entering a new century, the process of economic globalization has been speeded up, and science and technology revolution is pushing ahead greatly. China's reform and opening up and socialist modernization construction come to a new development phase. The strengthening of overall national power, strategic restructuring of economy and the Great West Development have all brought new opportunities for environmental protection. It is to say that cause of China's environment and development has come to a new development era. Nevertheless, China is still facing many environmental challenges, and there are still a lot yet to be done to achieve sustainable development. The cause of environment and development in China still has a long way to go. We are looking forward to all the members and experts contributing your wisdom and efforts to China's environment and development undertaking in the context of new century.

  I wish every success of this meeting.


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