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Carrying Forward the Idea of Green Olympics, Build up A First-Class Ecological Metropolis

2001-10-15author:by Wang Guangtao, Vice Mayor of Beijing Municipalitysource:

Distinguished Mr. Chair, Distinguished Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

On behalf of Beijing Municipal People's Government, I would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the convening of this meeting. At the same time, I would like to express our appreciation for this opportunity to brief you the municipal development and environmental protection.

Since the adoption of Agenda 21 by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, the idea of sustainable development symbolized as green has been spread worldwide. Beijing is consciously aware that achieving sustainable development is the only way leading to modernization and trans-century development. As such, we have identified the approach of sustainable development as the long-term strategy for social and economic development, and the construction of a favorable ecology as the basic task for environmental protection. The idea of 'Green Olympics' advanced by Beijing is in a bid to integrate the efforts for biding for and holding the Olympic Games with the objective of environmental protection and the actions for it, and in a bid to fulfill the commitment to sustainable development and constructing a favorable ecology, as well as in pursuit of unified harmony between environment and the human existence, pointing to the direction of city development.

As spelt out in Beijing's application for the Olympic Games, Beijing will provide a clean and fine environment for the athletes in 2008, the qualities of urban air and drinkable water will meet the WHO standards and its capability of urban sustainable development will be remarkably improved. In recent years, in adopting the environmental approaches to sustainable development strategy, Beijing has witnessed positive changes in its face-lift and environmental situation. Within the urban area, the primary road system has been set up, and length of the subway has been extended to 54 km; the percentages of sewage treatment and non-hazardous treatment of urban domestic wastes, as well as the green coverage have been dramatically increased; 25 protected streets of history and culture and the important cultural heritages have been well preserved in the course of city transformation; and the concentration of major air pollutants has been decreased consistently. Nevertheless, we also noted that due to the constraints of geological and climate conditions as well as the environmental debt left by the old practices, the environmental quality in Beijing is yet to be fundamentally improved and there remains a great gap between that and the requirements of holding Olympic Games and the demand of the citizens. In that, in honoring the commitments to holding the Olympic Games, it should be approached from the ecological conservation and construction, aiming at establishing a favorable urban ecological system so as to improve the urban environmental quality fundamentally.

To date, the trend of integration of nature and city has been more and more salient in the course of city construction. The 21st Century will be a century of ecological cities, and the ecological state and environmental quality of the city will, to a great extent, determine the power of reinforcement and potential for the city's development. The issue of environment and development is one of the most important topics for Beijing to transform itself into an international modern metropolis as well as to conserve the appearance of this old capital. 'Green Olympics' will be the propeller and catalyst for advancing this very process. We will avail ourselves of the opportunity of holding Olympic Games, to transform the idea of 'Green Olympics' to practice while aiming at building up an ecologically fine Beijing.

The key for Beijing to tackle the contradiction between the rapid economic development and low carrying capacity of the city's ecological system lies in a stringent control of environmental pollution resulted from urbanization, the low consumption and clean-up in the process of production and consumption as well as the integration of human system and the natural environment. The next 5 to 7 years will be an important phase for Beijing to conduct ecological construction and environmental protection on a large scale since 1998. We have been well prepared to rise up to the challenges posed by improving environmental quality and ecological state.

First, identifying the city's sustainable development strategy, mapping and carrying out the Ecological Environment Planning. In fully honoring commitment to Olympics, Beijing is engaged in working out the Olympics Action Plan, including Ecological Environment Planning 2001-2007. Sustainable development and ecologically favorable cycle is a basic principle for the city development to follow. The city will make efforts in a comprehensive way while taking the improvement of ecological state in Beijing region as the basic task, and intensify the efforts in preventing air pollution through controlling the particulate pollution, as well as the efforts in preventing the water pollution via protection the drinkable water source, in a bid to promote the improvement of urban environmental quality. By 2008, the city's environmental state will be dramatically improved and it will fully meet the requirements for holding the Olympic Games.

Secondly, controlling the population at central city area and improving the overall population quality. At present, the city's population has entered a period of slow increase and the annual natural increase rate in the population has decreased to 0.090%. But the population is still concentrated in the city, improving and expanding the surrounding cities and township system will be an effective way to solve the problem of city's population carrying capacity. A dozen of satellite cities will be developed into dynamic and attractive medium-scale cities sustaining 100,000 to 400,000 people, and 33 core towns will provide a huge number of employment. With the industrial restructuring and the readjustment of the industry layout, a new industry belt will also be formed in the outskirts, so as to promote the distribution of the city population to be more rational. On the other hand, the population's quality and level of education is noted to be a very important factor affecting the capital city's economic development and Beijing thus attaches great importance to quality education in the nine-year compulsory education. A widespread professional and technical training scheme has been kicked off for further education, and raising the people's ecological environmental awareness with a view to improve the overall population quality.

Thirdly, promoting cleaner production via industrial restructuring. The tertiary industry has possessed an important position in the capital city's economic development, Beijing will continue with the efforts of developing and improving the industrial layout and speeding up the pace of readjustment of industrial layout. We have worked out an adjustment program deserving great efforts for high-energy consumption and high emission enterprises in the southeast and west outskirts. The output volume of the metallurgy industry in the west outskirts which has received great attention will be reduced by one fourth by 2002 and the efforts in this case will be continued. About 200 enterprises within the 4th Ring Road shall be moved out within 7 years. The enterprises are encouraged to opt for the internal environmental management mode which will be beneficial to environment as well as to self development, through the practices of ISO 14000 and the cleaner production auditing.

Fourthly, improving Beijing's infrastructure and enhancing the capability for integrated treatment of environmental pollution. Prior to 2008, an array of municipal utilities will be constructed and brought into operation in line with the requirements of high-aim planning, high-standard construction, high-efficiency management, and the city's capability for integrated treatment of environmental pollution will be dramatically increased. The efforts of energy structure readjustment will be continued to reduce the consumption of coal. It is expected that the supply of natural gas will be 5 billion cubic meters by 2008, and the electricity transferred from other cities will be dramatically increased, and the renewable energies such as solar, wind and geo-thermal will be further used. Energy conservation in construction and industry will be conducted and the several thousands of coal-combustion boilers in the near and far outskirts will be upgraded to use cleaner energy. The policy of waste diminishing and turning the wastes into resource and non-hazardous treatment will be further promoted, and the system of wastes classification for collection, transportation and treatment will be set up. By 2008, the urban sewage treatment rate will be 90% and the ratio of using the treated waste will be greatly increased.

Fifthly, constructing a cleaner urban transportation system. The transportation system will be further improved and the vehicle pollution will be controlled. More efforts will make to develop the road public transportation and the urban trail transportation. Public electric automobiles will be increased from 10,000 to 18, 000 while and the trail lines will be increased from 2 up to 7, with a total length of 190 km. The local standards for vehicles pollutants emission will be strictly carried out and the standards will be further improved so as to be in line with the international standards. It is scheduled that the standards for vehicle pollutants emission similar to the European Standard II will be introduced by 2003 in Beijing, and that similar to European Standards III will be implemented in 2005. Those vehicles using environmentally friendly cleaner energy, fuel cell and electric automobiles will be encouraged to be used. By 2008, 90% public vehicles, 70% taxis will be using exclusively gas or other cleaner energies. In addition, the practice of environmental labeling for the vehicles will be intensified, and the system for checking and maintenance will be strengthened. At the same time, the use of bicycles will be encouraged.

Sixthly, making great efforts for urban afforestation to achieve the integration of artificial scenes and the natural ecology. Efforts are to be made to improve the afforestation system so as to form an ecological corridor between the city center and outer natural environment. The green coverage in the city's construction-finalized area will be increased from 36% at present to 45% by 2008. While taking the advantage of construction of Olympic Stadiums and the conservation of historical heritage, 50 pieces of large green lands over 10,000 square meters will be cultivated, and the afforestation along 255 main streets will be finalized. 1,000 urban parks of rational distribution with comprehensive functions will be set up citywide. In this very course, a three-dimensional afforestation will be introduced. The walls if appropriate, flyovers, roof of the building, balconies, will adopt the vertical way of greening, at the same time, the other main streets, lanes and river banks will also be afforested.

Seventhly, developing the ecological agriculture, improving the surrounding environment and removing environmental pressure on the city proper. Great efforts will be made to develop the ecological agriculture, following the policy of integrating the agricultural restructuring and the construction of capital's three green ecological protection belts. 1.2 hectares of green buffer forest will be developed in the near outskirts so as to form a green necklace. In the plain area, a green transportation project consists of 5 rivers and 10 roads will be kicked off to form a green corridor while in the mountainous area, great efforts will be devoted for afforestation, protection and conserving the mountain forests with a view to increase the forest coverage to 70%. Combined with the initiative of rational use and development of water resource, it is decided to take the path of water-saving agriculture development, in a bid to stop the paddy field cultivation and achieve the water-saving irrigation. Meanwhile, green husbandry and safety production system for edible farm products will be promoted. In addition, under the leadership of the central government, cooperation with the neighboring regions will be strengthened. To improve the ecological state in the capital area through the sand prevention and treatment, afforestation, returning the cultivated lands to grasslands and forests.

Eighthly, developing and improving the integrated decision-making mechanism for environment and development in order to strengthen environmental management. It will stick to integrating environmental protection into the city's national economic and social development annual planning, organize and conduct environmental impact assessment of major decisions on economy and city construction in order to minimize possible environmental pollution and ecological damage resulted from that at the macro economic decision level. In addition, it is considered to integrate the environmental cost into the national economic auditing system so as to facilitate the economic departments and resource development departments to consciously and voluntarily link the economic problem with environmental one, carrying out activities on pollution prevention and ecological conservation consciously. At the same time, a sustainable consumption approach is thus called for intensifying the ecological awareness dramatically. Furthermore, governing the city by law and improving the environmental management system is also a major work for the next 7 years. It is expected that protecting the environment, preventing and treating environmental pollution will be a voluntary action for each citizen and enterprise, through a stable and effective legal and management system. We have noted that 'Green Olympics' has been known by every family and it is now being shaped into every aspect of social life. A new ecological city model is being created underlined by the idea of Green Olympics. Dramatic improvement of the environmental quality, large-scale ecological construction and widespread increase of public environmental awareness will be the important environmental legacy left by the Green Olympics.

Distinguished Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, Beijing is determined to embark on the path of sustainable development, developing its economy along with protecting and improving the ecological environmental quality. It is indispensable of support from friend home and abroad for Beijing's development. We welcome friends from various places to come to Beijing in joining in various cooperation and exchanges. With the support of the central government, we are convinced, in the course of 7 year's economic construction and preparations for the Olympic Games, we are able to protect Beijing, the famous cultural city with a long history, as well as build it into a new modern metropolis with a developed economy, stable society and first-class ecology, which will not only lay a solid foundation for holding 2008 Olympic Games, but also a reliable guarantee for improving the people's livelihood.

To conclude, I wish every success of this meeting. May I hope all of you have a pleasant stay in Beijing. Thanks.

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