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Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Third Meeting of the Third Phase of CCICED(Xie Zhenhua)


  All Vice Chairmen, Members and experts,

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  We are happy to gather together again in Autumn, the best season of Beijing with pleasant cool wind, to jointly discuss the strategy on environment and development of China with particular emphasis on agriculture and sustainable development. First of all, please allow me to extend my warmest welcome and wholehearted thanks to all participants of the Meeting.

  China has made new progresses in both economic and social development since the closing of the Second Meeting of the Third Phase of CCICED. The Chinese Government has adhered to the concept of scientific development that centers on the interest of people and aims to overall, harmonious and sustainable development; accelerated the reform and opening up as well as modernization process with an important leap toward the development of overall well-off society. As a result, the State macro-economic regulation has obtained remarkable achievements and national economy kept a smooth and rapid growth momentum with economic operation quality and benefits further improved. Moreover, environmental protection work has been enhanced. It is becoming an important macro-regulation measure and a major ruler to measure if the economy develops in a healthy way. Environmental protection has gradually integrated into economic and social development. Major achievements in environmental protection work of China include the followings:

  First is the implementation of national macro-regulation policies. The government has streamlined the sectors such as iron & steel, electrolytic aluminum and cement that are high in energy consumption and heavy in pollution. It has formulated stringent regulations for the EIA of construction projects and environmental access for products, and strengthened the management of "The three simultanieties" of construction programs, which plays an active role in inhibiting irrational investment and the duplication of low-level enterprises and projects. Second, the government has eliminated a number of enterprises with low productivity, high resources consumption and heavy pollution. It has formulated more stringent policies and environmental standards for paper-making, brewery and printing and dyeing industries with heavy pollution which promote the restructuring of those industries. Third, centered on circular economy, the central government has carried out demonstration activities in some provinces, cities, industrial parks, towns, communities and enterprises with the mushrooming of some models in sustainable development. Fourth, with enhancement of its efforts in implementing laws and regulations, the central government has launched special campaigns to streamline enterprises discharging pollutants illegally, ensure public health and protect the environment. It has checked and sanctioned any violations according to law. Fifth, the authority has opened the information to the public and promoted public participation. Environmental protection department has developed "Interim measures for public hearings on environmental administrative permit", which stipulates that administrative public hearings must be held for construction projects closely concerning public interests and with strong rejections, project planning as well as environmental legislations. In doing so, public rights of the information, participation and supervision can be ensured by legal means.

  Focused on the theme of "New Industrialization" of the AGM last year, Members have put forward many good recommendations that play an active role in facilitating the prevention and control of both industrial and urban pollution. The AGM this year put "Agriculture and sustainable rural development" as the theme, which is of great significance.

  China is a developing country with the biggest population, it is also one of the biggest players in agriculture. China has made remarkable achievements in agriculture over the past 20 years. It has resolved the food problem for 22% of world population but with only 10% of world arable land. Recently, we have placed environmental protection work of rural areas as the top agenda and taken some proactive measures when enhancing environmental protection work in industries and cities. Through adjusting agricultural structure, the Ministry of Agriculture has developed eco-agriculture and organic agriculture and raised environmental and economic benefits of agricultural production. With the adoption of national policy of "Grain for green" and the measure returning the crop residues back to the field, agriculture and rural environment have been protected. In addition, agricultural non-point pollution will be prevented and controlled by comprehensive control measures in rural areas and promotion activities among farmers. However, lack of resources, the ecological destruction and environmental pollution are increasingly obvious due to low level of agriculture and relevant science and technology as a whole, poor environmental awareness of farmers, especially rather primary agricultural production mode in the long term, which have become an important factor constraining sustainable agricultural and rural development. It is mainly illustrated by the followings:

  First, unrestricted utilization of water in agriculture exaggerates the shortage of per capita natural resources.

  Second, ecological destruction worsens the degradation of national ecological environment.

  Third, rising agriculture pollution takes higher proportion in overall pollution across the country.

  Agriculture is the basis of national economy. Sustainable agriculture and rural development is crucial to meeting the goal of the overall well-off society. Nearly 70% population in China lives in rural areas. Without the well-off of rural areas, there would be no overall well-off society across China. And without the improvement of rural environment, the well-off life of farmers would have no significance.

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  Each country has different modes in implementing sustainable agricultural and rural development due to different national conditions and development stages. To most developing countries like China, achieving sustainable agricultural development is facing multiple challenges. They are as the followings:

  1) Keep steady growth in agriculture productivity, increase grain production and ensure the safety of agricultural produce.

  2) Promote rural economy, increase farmer's income and improve the poor and lag-behind situation of rural areas.

  3) Use natural resources like land, water and biological resources in a rational and sustainable way in order to protect and improve ecological environment for agriculture.

  Those tasks are more urgent and difficult to China, which require the coordination between grain production and environmental safety, coordination between increased agricultural outputs and the control of agricultural pollution, coordination between the increase of farmer's income and the increase of environmental input in rural areas. In this regard, we urgently hope that all Members and experts continue to contribute your wits and resources and present recommendations on promoting sustainable agricultural and rural development of China.

  Finally, I wish the Third Meeting of the Third Phase of CCICED a complete success!

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