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Speech by Mr. Xie Zhenhua at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED


  Dear Council Members, ladies and gentlemen,

  It's a great pleasure for us to meet again in Beijing. Please allow me to extend warm welcome and sincere thanks to all Council members and experts.

  First, let me brief you on the changes in the Bureau's membership and Council's membership. We are privileged to have his excellency Mr. Zeng Peiyan, Vice Premier of the State Council, as our new Chairman. Vice Premier Zeng has always been highly concerned about issues related to China's environment and development, and has a high opinion of CCICED's achievements in the past. He looks forward to working with us and doing a great job for the Third Phase of CCICED. Vice Premier Zeng will join us and speak at the closing ceremony.

  There have also been some changes in the Council's membership, either due to the need of the Council or because some Council members changed their positions within the organizations they represent. Former Council's international executive Vice-Chair Dr. Good has taken the position of the Chairman of Global Environment Facilities and is no longer the President of Canadian International Development Agency. The Canadian Government has recommended that Mr. Thibault become the new international executive Vice-Chairman of the Council, and Chairman Zeng Pengyan has agreed to it. Mr. Wang Guangya (Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Xie Xuren (former Vice-Chairman of the State Economic and Trade Commission), and Mr. Wei Jianguo (Former Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation) no longer serve as the Council's Members due to changes in their positions/responsibilities within the Chinese Government. Shen Guofang (Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs), Yi Xiaozhun (Assistant Minister of Commerce), Shao Ning (Vice-Chairman of the State Asset Management Commission), Zhu Guangyao (Vice Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration), Wang Luolin (Vice President of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), and Shen Guofang (Chinese Engineering Academy) have been invited to become new Chinese Council Members. Mr. Diabre (Vice Executive Director of the United Nations), and Ms. Catherine Day (Director General of the Environment Directorate of the European Commission) have been invited to become new international Council Members. Mr. Zhang Kunmin no longer serves as the Secretary-General of the Council. The Bureau has approved the nomination of Mr. Zhu Guangyao, who is also a new Council Member, as the new Secretary-General. Mr. Xu Qinghua (Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of the SEPA) and Mr. Peng Jinxin (Director General of the Department of Policy and Law of SEPA) will serve as Deputy Secretaries General to assist the Secretary-General. In order to prepare for future Council meetings, the Bureau has approved the establishment of some new Task Forces. A list of candidates for the Chairmen of the new Task Forces, which has been proposed by the Core Experts and the Secretariat, has been circulated before the meeting. These new members to the community of the China Council will add new vitality to our dynamic organization. I am confident that, under the leadership of Chairman Zeng Peiyan and with the concerted effort of everyone concerned, the China Council will play an even more vital role in promoting China's environmental protection and economic development.

  Since the last Council Meeting, China has maintained its strong development momentum. In the first half of this year, China's economic development was impacted to some extent by the outbreak of SARS. However, under the correct leadership of the CPP Central Committee and the State Council, the Chinese people are tightly united, and not only achieved a great victory in the battle against the SARS, but also rapid economic growth. During rapid economic growth, strategic structural adjustments to the economy were actively promoted, the quality of economic development was improved, and environmental protection and ecological conservation were strengthened.

  Through the fight against the SARS, governments at various levels become more aware of the importance of the coordinated development of economy, society and environment. The central government has increased investment in medical and environmental infrastructure. The National Plan for the Disposal of Hazardous Waste, which includes plans for the disposal of medical wastes, has been approved by the State Council, and various kinds of disposal facilities are being actively constructed. During the outbreak of SARS, certain laws and standards were formulated or improved in a timely manner, and valuable experience was obtained in dealing with public health emergencies and environmental accidents.

  During the past year, some new environmental laws and regulations were formulated. Three important laws were put into effect: The Law on the Promotion of Cleaner Production, The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment, and The Law on the Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution. The Law on the Promotion of Cleaner Production embodies the principle of "prevention first", and requires that prevention measures be taken at pollution sources, and that pollution control be implemented during the whole production process instead of end-of-pine treatment only. This law has created a legal condition for promoting recycling economy in China. The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment requires that environmental impact assessment be conducted for planning and construction projects, and lays a good foundation for implementing comprehensive decision-making that integrates environment and development. The Law on the Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution sets forth management and safety requirements for the prevention and control of radioactive pollution. The State Council also reformed the pollution fee system. According to the new system, fees are levied according to the total amount of pollution discharged. Enforcement of environmental laws has been further improved. SEPA, the Development Reform Commission of the State Council and four other agencies jointly launched a campaign to "crack down on firms that discharge pollution illegally, and safeguard public health". The names of these firms are publicized on the media for public supervision.

  During the past year, environmental concerns related to the country's key construction projects were given high attention. Four billion yuan were invested to build urban wastewater and garbage treatment facilities in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, and to clean up solid waste in the bottom of the reservoir, so as to ensure the quality of the water in the reservoir. The South-North Water Transfer Project gives even more focus to water conservation, pollution treatment, and ecological conservation. According to the principle that "water transfer is considered only after water conservation measures fall short; pollution must be treated before water can be transferred; and the environment must be protected so as to ensure the safety of water use", measures were taken to adjust the industrial structure along the water transportation lines, prevent and control pollution, and build environmental facilities so as to ensure that the water being transferred complies with quality standards.

  Various levels of local governments actively explored sustainable development patterns that suit local conditions. Hainan, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Fujian, Zhejiang, Shandong and Anhui provinces aim to build themselves into "ecological provinces". Liaoning Province implemented the principles of recycling economy in its social and economic development, and actively explored a development pattern that integrates economy, society and environment. The principles of sustainable development have been increasingly accepted and implemented in practice. Many local governments, firms, schools, or communities have proposed that they build themselves into ecological cities, ecological counties, ecological demonstration zones, environment model cities, environmentally friendly firms, green schools, green communities, or ecological industrial parks. For this meeting, we have invited Zhejiang Province to introduce their efforts in building an ecological province.

  The theme of this meeting, which is "building a well-off society and new sustainable industrialization mode", is of particular significance. The goal of building a well-off society encompasses economic, political, social, and environmental progress, the achievement of which requires coordinated development and sustainable development. For this goal to be achieved, a scientific development mode, which integrates economic development, social development, and environmental protection, must be established. China's current development trend is such that economic development is rapid, but the conflict among resources, environment and growth is become increasingly outstanding. Our objective for economic growth is to quadruple the GDP in the first 20 years of the century, and achieve basic industrialization. While maintaining rapid economic growth, we have become increasingly aware that, if we are to follow the traditional extensive economic growth mode of "high input, high consumption, heavy pollution, and low output", then rapidly increasing consumption and pollution will further aggravate the scarce resources and the ecological environment. In order to achieve our objective, we much change our development mode in a fundamental way. Our country has decided to adopt a new industrialization mode, which stresses the role of science and technology, economic efficiency, low resource consumption and environmental pollution, and full utilization of human resources. The transformation from traditional to a new industrialization mode is a key fundamental task for the achievement of a well-off society and sustainable development.

  As a high-level advisory organization, the China Council is paying close attention to the key issue of transforming economic development mode and implementing the sustainable development strategy. This meeting will discuss how China should transform its development mode and adopt a new industrialization path, and propose countermeasures and recommendations. This is a significant and challenging task. This year is the first year since the goal of "building up a well-up society" was put forward. Our deliberations and recommendations will have significant impact on the decision-making of the Chinese government. These recommendations will be considered and some will be applied in practice by governments at various levels, and therefore will have direct impact on China's development. I hope that our meeting can utilize this rare opportunity to make valuable recommendations on how China can achieve rapid development, a well-off society, and well-conserved ecology by drawing on the successes and lessons of all countries in the world.

  I wish the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED a complete success.

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