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Opening Speech at the 2nd Meeting of CCICED Phase III(Liu Jiang)


  Respectable Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan,

  Respectable Council Members,

  Ladies and Gentlemen:

  Since its establishment in 1992, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) has been engaged in a significant amount of work with remarkable achievements and played an important consulting role in the promotion of sustainable development in China. In all these past year, the CCICED has adhered to the approach of combing the work of task forces with council meeting discussion and put forward a lot of valuable policy recommendations. Relevant departments of the Chinese Government attach great importance to these policy recommendations, some of which have been studied and adopted promptly.

  For instance, the Economic Planning and Environmental Protection project, a joint effort between the former State Development Planning Commission and the European Union, promoted the implementation of the sustainable development principle on all fronts in the Tenth Five-Year National Plan.

  The Task Force on Forests and Grasslands in Western China suggested that efforts should be made to strength organization and coordination in ecological construction and improve relevant policies and the efficiency of projects. This policy recommendation is in line with the guideline put forward by the national Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which reads "to consolidate projects, strengthen coordination, delegate power to a lower level and intensify monitoring and supervision". Since 1998, the central government, in accordance with the National Plan for Ecological Construction and Environmental Protection, has not only increased investment in existing projects of shelter forests building, soil conservation and grassland cultivation, but also launched other key ecological projects, including natural forestry protection, the conversion of cultivated land back into forestry and pasture, controlling the source of sandstorm in Beijing and Tianjin and the restoration of natural pasture. Lack of coordination occurred in the implementation of some of these ecological and environmental projects. In this connection, the central government has strengthened coordination for relevant departments' annual plans and key projects and intensified project inspection and supervision and performance verification through the inter-ministry meeting on national ecological construction and environmental protection. Provincial governments have been granted specific responsibilities in terms of investment, tasks and management for ecological projects, and it has improved the initiatives and enthusiasm on the part of local governments and project participants. The NDRC commissioned China International Engineering Consulting Corporation (CIECC) to conduct a midterm review of ecological projects in March this year. The NDRC will adopt measures for further improvement on the basis of the result of the review.

  The Task Force on Environmental Economics put forward a recommendation to increase sewage and waste treatment tariff by an appropriate margin and promote industrialization in sewage and waste treatment. This recommendation responds to the progress of our work. In the past years, relevant departments of the central government jointly issued a number of guiding documents on the tariff for urban sewage and waste treatment and its industrialization. When allocating subsidiary treasury bond funds to sewage and waste treatment projects, the NDRC imposes a condition precedent, i.e., sewage and waste treatment tariff has been put in place in the areas where the project in question will be constructed and the project will be managed as a corporate entity.

  In addition, the Task Force on Financing Mechanisms for Environmental Protection made a policy recommendation on improving the diversified financing for the development of urban environmental infrastructure. This recommendation provides us with good reference for the next step of work.

  Since its establishment, the CCICED has played a great role in China's sustainable development and provided China with policy advisory in connection with the reality of sustainable development. With the progress in implementation, China has put in place a policy framework for the implementation of the sustainable development strategy. At the beginning of this year, the State Council approved China's Program of Action for Sustainable Development in Early 21st Century and further clarified on priority areas and safeguarding measures. The National Leading Group for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy will spend one or two years in organizing relevant government departments to study and carry out all these measures one by one. We hope the CCICED will continue its support in this regard. The CCICED should not only ask questions but also cooperate with relevant government departments in search of answers. Representatives from relevant departments of the central government and local governments come to attend CCICED meetings not as guests but as partners voicing needs and seeking cooperation. For instance, in the current phase of the CCICED, relevant departments of the NDRC put forward a suggestion on the establishment of a Task Force on Regional Sustainable Development. Specifically, the suggestion focuses on the case study of regional sustainable development in the ecosphere around Beijing and the traditional industrial bases in Northeastern China, and it is proposed that the Task Force study and promote concepts and approaches such as coordinated regional development, participatory decision making and scenario planning.

  Finally, I sincerely hope that the CCICED can maintain the momentum and attain more achievements under the guidance of Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan.

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