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Opening Speech at the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED(Qu Geping)


  Building a well-off society, which is the grand blueprint for China's modernization in the 21st century, provides the direction where the great Chinese people are heading, and defines China's long-term goals and tasks for the cause of sustainable development.

  In order to achieve the goal of a well-off society, we must hold on to the strategy of sustainable development, realize the unity of the speed, structure, quality, and efficiency of economic development, and coordinate economic development with population, resources and the environment.

  Experience of the last decade has demonstrated that the strategy of sustainable development fits in well with China's national situations, namely a large population, low per capita resources, and a fragile ecological environment. China's rapid economic development is to a certain extent a reflection of the effect of the sustainable development strategy. Experience also shows that protecting the environment requires the participation of the government, the private sector, and the public. They are the three key players in the implementation of the sustainable development strategy. Therefore, we need to establish and improve our social and economic mechanisms, especially an integrated decision-making mechanism, a market mechanism, and a public participation mechanism, so as to ensure that the three key players could actively and effectively play their due roles.

  Howe should integrated decision-making mechanism, market mechanism, and public participation mechanism be established and improved?

  Firstly, the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment should be enforced more vigorously, so as to accelerate the establishment of an integrated decision making mechanism for sustainable development.

  The source of many serious environmental and resource problems during China's modernization process is that the government didn't take environment and resource considerations into full consideration in formulating/implementing economic and social policies/ plans. The Law of the People's Republic of China on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which was put into effect in September this year, will play a significant role in promoting the implementation of the sustainable development strategy and integrated decision-making by government agencies. It requires the government to take environmental and resource conservation considerations into full consideration during their planning or decision making process, with a view to helping prevent environmental pollution and ecological degradation. This law provides a very important legal basis for the realization of the sustainable development goals required by a well-off society. Government agencies at various levels should fulfill their obligations and responsibilities to conduct EIA for their planning according to the law. For that purpose, they need to adjust their planning methodology and process, design new EIA techniques and methods; and, based on the results of EIA, make planning more in line with the requirements of environmental and resource protection. This will help governments at various levels establish integrated decision making mechanism for sustainable development.

  Secondly, a market mechanism for sustainable development, which is line with the requirements of market economy and provides incentives for participation by the private sector, should be established to meet the needs of the reform and the social market economy.

  Application of economic incentives should be promoted for environmental and resource protection. A market participation mechanism, which serves the interests of all stakeholders including non-governmental enterprises, should be established gradually. The role of market should be brought into full play for environmental and resource protection. During their pollution control and ecological conservation efforts, governments at various levels should adopt polices to gradually establish a mechanism characterized by pluralistic investment patterns, market operations and business-style management. A new model should be established to integrate the roles of the government to support, serve and supervise with the market, namely, "the government supervises, the polluters pay, and the enterprises operate." In support of such a model, appropriate financing mechanisms, pricing mechanisms, compensation mechanisms, and taxation mechanism for environmental and resource protection should also be established. Economic instruments should be utilized to provide incentives for the private sector to participate in environment and resource protection, so as to make the business management model more effective and promote the development of environment and resource industries.

  Thirdly, public awareness of sustainable development should be promoted, and the establishment of a public participation mechanism should be accelerated.

  It is an important trend for sustainable development that the public should participate in environment and resource protection more extensively and vigorously so as to promote solutions to environmental and resource problems. The media and public education & training should be utilized consistently to promote public awareness of sustainable development and environmental & resource protection. It is desirable that the public have high awareness of environmental protection and resource conservation in their daily lives, and have "green" life styles, consumption habits, and values. The rights of the public for information, participation and supervision granted by China's Constitution and laws should be safeguarded. A public participation mechanism, which includes public appealing, letters-of-complaints system, public hearing, public participation in EIA, media supervision, and pubic participation in the supervision of law enforcement, should be established and promoted. Such a mechanism should be able to encourage, guide and support pubic participation. The public should become an active force to protect the environment and resources through this mechanism.

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