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Speech by Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan at the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED


  Dear Council Members and Guests,

  In the deep autumn of Beijing, the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED is being held. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I would like to extend my greetings to all Council Members, experts and guests for coming to Beijing, and my sincere thanks to all of you for being concerned about and supporting China's environment and development.

  A moment ago, the Minister of SEPA Mr. Xie Zhenhua gave a summary of the past two days' meeting. This is a very successful meeting. You have had good discussions of the theme "Building a Well-off Society and Adopting A New Sustainable Industrialization Mode", and made many constructive recommendations. During the meeting, Premier Wen Jiabao met with participants of the meeting and listened to the Recommendations by the Council. The Recommendations that come out of this meeting will be carefully studied and considered in the government's policy making. I am in charge of environmental protection in the current administration of the Chinese Government, and am privileged to serve as the Chairman of this distinguished Council. I would be happy to work with you for new progress in China's pursuit of sustainable development. Now, I would to emphasize three points.

  1. Policies should be integrated to promote coordinated development of human and nature

  Building a well-off society and promoting socialist modernization is an important choice made by the Chinese Government and people in their efforts to realize a great rejuvenation of their nation in the 21st century. The main objectives of a well-off society are: 1) to achieve economic growth based on optimizing economic structure and improving economic efficiency, and quadruple its GDP between 2000- 2020; 2) to further improve socialist democracy and legislation; 3) to improve the overall moral, scientific, and health quality of all China; and 4) to enhance the capacity for sustainable development, so as to improve the ecological environment, raise resource utilization efficiency, foster harmony between human and nature, and promote a new civilized development mode that is characterized by economic development, well-off living standard, and good ecological environment. The well-off society that we are aim to build is one that is economically developed, politically civilized, and culturally prosperous, and is also a sustainable one that is characterized by ecological optimization, environmental soundness, and resource conservation.

  In order to realize the goal of a well-off society, we need to grasp opportunities and speed up development. However, China is a big country with a 1.3 billion people. Traditional development modes are not good because of limited natural resources, environmental capacity, and ecological carrying capacity. Therefore, the old economic growth mode must be changed to a new industrialization mode characterized by science and technology, economic efficiency, low resource consumption, low environmental pollution, and full utilization of human resources. Such a new industrialization mode requires major effort in promoting the information industry. Better information promotes industrialization, which in turn improves information. In order to promote the upgrading of economic structure, attention must not only be paid to economic growth rate, but also to economic structure, quality, and efficiency. The strategy of revitalizing the country through science and technology should continue to be implemented, and economic development should rely on scientific and technological progress as well as the capacity building of human resources. Science and technology education must not be sacrificed to pursue economic growth rate that is based on outdated knowledge. The strategy of sustainable development should also continue to be implemented. Family planning, energy conservation, environmental protection, and ecological conservation should be actively promoted. Short-term growth must not be sacrificed at the cost of the environment.

  As we have entered the new century, China's industrialization has also entered a phase of rapid development. Our guiding principle is that we must integrate environmental considerations into development policies, and promote harmony between human and nature. Public environmental awareness has been promoted visibly; environmental protection has been more effective; green production/products, ecological agriculture, and recycling economy have gradually surged up; and ecological conservation is regarded as a key task for economic and social development. Although the implementation of environmental protection policies is not uniformly effective across the country, and environmental pollution and ecological degradation are not being controlled everywhere, it can nevertheless be said that environmental protection has entered the phase of social production and re-production, and that environment and development are starting to be coordinated. This has laid a good foundation for the integration of environment and development.

  2. International cooperation should be promoted to protect global environment.

  It should be recognized that environmental problems are never isolated. Solving China's environmental problems will be an important contribution to the world's environment and development. With increasing economic globalization, solutions to environmental problems have become more and more reliant on the rational use of world resources and the dissemination of environmental technologies and management know-how. It has become increasingly important and urgent to promote international cooperation in order to achieve development in all countries. Our view is as follows:

  1) Environmental protection and economic development should be integrated. Economic development mode must be chosen with respect to resource and environmental constraints. Sustainable use of resources and ecological health should become key development objectives. Environmental policies of various countries should be based on their respective local conditions, and should not only take into account the need to improve environmental quality, but also their feasibility and economic and social impact. The modes of sustainable development chosen by different countries, which are based on their own national conditions and development stage, should be respected. On the one hand, coordinated and concerted actions are needed to solve global or regional environmental problems; on the other hand, the various development modes of different countries should be respected. Only in this way can coordinated development of environment, economy, and society be achieved.

  2) The responsibilities of protecting global environment should be shared in a rational way. Currently, the global environmental situation, especially the environmental situation of developing countries, is still worsening. Protecting the global environment and achieving sustainable development across the world requires efforts made by all countries. At the same time, the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" should be implemented. Industrialized countries should actively and voluntarily shoulder responsibilities, and play a greater role in solving environmental problems of globe and those faced by developing countries. Developing countries should combine solving environmental problems with improving the quality of economic growth, and promote the integration of environment and development.

  3) Barriers to environmental technology exchange should be eliminated. Sustainable development relies on technological progress. Development of information, biological, and energy technologies is important for the promotion of resource utilization efficiency and environmental protection. As far as developing countries are concerned, technology and management know-how are as important as monetary investment. Governments of various countries and relevant international organizations should play a key role in promoting international cooperation in technology exchange. Intellectual property rights and rational technology transfer mechanisms should be established to promote international dissemination and exchange of relevant technologies.

  4) A good international cooperation environment should be cultivated. In order to expand international cooperation in environment and development, good international economic and trade order should be established. This requires the concerted efforts of all countries. Developed countries should further open up their market, reduce or even eliminate trade barriers caused by too high environmental standards, and promote the simultaneous development of environmental protection and international trade. Developing countries should strengthen their efforts in environmental protection, improve their capacity for sustainable development, and actively participate in international cooperation and competition.

  China is a developing country, and also a responsible country. The Chinese Government has been attaching great importance to environmental protection, and has clear awareness of the environmental problems that accompany economic development. We will base our effort on solving domestic environment and development problems, actively protect and improve the environment, and promote the quality and level of development. At the same time, we would like to join other countries in the world in their efforts in solving global environment and development problems.

  3. The role of CCICED should be fully utilized.

  As a policy advisory organization of the Chinese Government, CCICED has done a great deal of effective work during the past 10 years or so, and played an important role in promoting China's sustainable development. The 3rd Phase of the CCICED coincides with the key period of China's drive to build a well-off society, which is also an important time for China to promote harmonized development between human and nature. I hope that Council Members could continue to join their efforts in order for the Council to play an even more important role. Concerning the future work of the Council, I want to make a few points:

  First, the quality of the Council Meeting should be further improved. The Council Meeting is held once a year. A theme is identified for each meeting. In-depth discussions of the theme are held at each meeting, and policy recommendations are made drawing on worldwide expertise and experience. This is a good approach, and should be continued. In the mean time, certain adjustments and improvement may be made on the substance and format of the meeting in light of changing situations, so as to enliven the atmosphere and increase the quality and effectiveness of the meeting. The Secretariat should further increase their capacity and improve their work so as to provide better service for Council Members and further improve organization and coordination for the Council Meeting.

  Second, the Council's policy advisory role should be strengthened. The Council's role in giving policy recommendations should be attached high importance, and Council Members' recommendations should become the symbolic achievement of each Council Meeting. Before each meeting, relevant experts should be organized to carefully prepare for the policy recommendations; and research and exchange should be strengthened for the purpose of making highly targeted and practical recommendations. The worth of good recommendations lies in their succinctness and practicability. In making policy recommendations, attention needs to be paid to the feasibility of their implementation.

  Third, in-depth research should be done on key subjects. A key area of work by the Council should be research on key subjects. High attention should be paid to key issues related to the integration of environment and development, such as energy efficiency and resource efficiency, resource recycling system, reduction of the pollution discharge intensity by various industries, environmental protection financing mechanisms, ecological systems management methodology, and development strategy of the environmental service industry. Research on these issues should be organized as soon as possible. Further efforts should be made on key environmental issues such as agriculture, coordinated development of rural economy and environment, urbanization and environment, international trade and environment, protection of water environment, biodiversity and genetic resource conservation, etc. Relevant agencies should promote the dissemination and application of the results of these researches.

  Dear Council Members, and experts,

  The China Council has attracted an outstanding body of Chinese and international experts. You have long been concerned about China's environment and development, and have outstanding research ability. Some reports that have been submitted to the meeting for discussion, such as those on financial mechanisms for environment protection, and the development of environmental industry, etc, have important and practical significance for us. The relevant government agencies and governments should study carefully and put in practice the relevant policy recommendations. We welcome international Council Members to come to China often for research or visit and increase exchange with their Chinese colleagues, and contribute their expertise and experience to China's environment and development.

  I am confident that the fruitful result that will be produced by the 3rd Phase of CCICED will make greater contribution to China's sustainable development.

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