SpeakchesYou are here:Home > Events > Annual Meetings > 2005 > Speakches

Address by Minister Xie Zhenhua at the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED

2005-12-18author:Xie Zhenhuasource:

  Respected Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan,

  Respected Vice Chairs, all Members,

  Ladies and Gentlemen,

  Just now Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan delivered an important speech. From the strategic perspective of sustainable development, he expounds the big picture of achieving development through a scientific approach and establishing a harmonious society in China in the next five years or longer period. This thought directs the development of sustainable urbanization. The new international Vice Executive Chair, also President of CIDA, Mr. Green Hill has given us a speech brimming with warm feelings. Ms. Mona Sahlin, Swedish Minister for Sustainable Development has made an excellent keynote speech and the special guest speech by Mayor of Kitakyoshu, Sueyoshi, is explicit and targeted. Both Vice Chair Mans Lonnroth and Vice Chair Qu Geping have made wonderful remarks, which present a good beginning for this meeting.

  CCICED was established at the beginning of 1990s when the undertaking of environment and development was booming in the world. By now it has undergone 13 years of development. Were it not for the innovative working mechanism and devoted International Council Members, CCICED wouldn't have retained its vitality through the span of two centuries. For 13 years the Council has assembled a group of men of insight, who have used their wits and intelligence to give advice and put forward recommendations on China's environment and development by linking closely practical situation of China, which promoted the exploration of the path to sustainable development. The establishment of CCICED and its years of outstanding performance is a far reaching move that demonstrates the commitment of the Chinese Government to absorbing the experience and learning lessons from other countries and also its confidence and determination to sustainable development.

  Review the progress of China's environment and development since the 3rd Meeting of CCICED Phase III, we can see that the economy and society is developing in a sustainable manner in China. It is exciting to see that national economy maintains a steady fast growth. The economy is expected to grow at 9% in 2005 with GDP exceeding 15 trillion yuan RMB. All social causes are making new progress, so does environmental protection. The progress can be summed up in the following aspects. First, positive steps are taken to transform the pattern of economic growth and to develop circular economy. As an important vehicle for new industrialization, circular economy is a fundamental policy to solve environmental problems during the process of fast economic development. Demonstration projects on circular economy are actively promoted, and progress is made in various campaigns. Over 5,000 enterprises in China have passed the examination on clean production and 32 enterprises won the title of "National Environmental Friendly Enterprise" in the light of the requirements for new industrialization. Traditional industrial zones were transformed into 17 eco-industry parks. The concept of circular economy is instilled into the practice of sustainable development, generating 51 National Model Cities (districts) on Environmental Protection (NMCEP), 166 National Ecological Demonstration Zones and 79 Towns with Beautiful Environment across the country. Nine provinces are developing Ecological Province in an all round way. Second, special environmental campaigns are carried out. Some pre-eminent environmental problems threatening public health were handled through investigating polluted drinking water sources, regional pollution and industrial pollution cases. As a result, the pollution rebound has been curbed. Third, strengthen environmental impact assessment on planning projects and construction projects. Some illegal construction projects were dealt with seriously according to law. These measures have greatly facilitated macro regulation. Fourth, steadily promote the prevention and control of pollution of important river basins with increasing efforts in ecological rehabilitation and construction. Through all these efforts the total release of major pollutants except SO2 were brought under control during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period when annual economic growth registered 8.8%. The pollution discharge intensity of key industries such as cement, electric power, iron & steel and paper making has been on gradual decline. The overall environmental quality has maintained stable with improvement in some cities and areas. Also, public environmental awareness has been greatly raised, laying a good foundation for the improvement in environmental protection and development quality in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period.

  The year of 2005 is an epoch-making year in China's history of environment and development. According to the requirements of the outlook on scientific development, the Chinese Government worked out the Recommendation of Central Committee of CPC on Making the 11th Five-Year Plan for the Development of National Economy and Society. Not long ago, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th Conference of CPC approved this Recommendation, which takes scientific outlook on development as the guidance of socio-economic development, underlining the necessity to seek balance between economic growth and the quality and benefit of development. That is, economic growth shall be in harmony with social progress and environmental protection. It specifies while meeting the target of doubling per capita GDP of 2000 in 2010, the energy consumption per unit of GDP should be reduced by 20% compared to the consumption level by the end of the 10th Five-Year Plan period in order to basically curb the trend of ecological environmental degradation and improve environmental quality for residents. The Recommendation adheres to the principle of achieving development in a conserving, clean and safe manner. Reflecting the requirements of sustainable development, it is a Recommendation for green development.

  In addition, the Recommendation incorporates the requirement of environmental protection into every aspect of socio-economic development. In the drive to build new-style socialist villages spurred by urban development, efforts are needed to strengthen environmental protection in rural areas, gradually solve the drinking water problem and ensure the safety of farm produce. Different areas should identify their functions and roles according to local resources and environmental carrying capacity and development potential to develop corresponding policies and assessment indicators in light of different requirements of optimized development, prioritized development, restricted development and prohibited development, so that a regional development pattern with distinct characteristics will gradually take shape. Priority should be given to the development of major technologies in such key areas as energy and environment in the efforts of self-innovation capacity building in order to raise industrial technical level and phase out the enterprises that waste resources and pollute the environment according to law. The Recommendation has listed the task to build a resource-saving and environment-friendly society as the focal point and made specific arrangements in the following three aspects: boosting the development of circular economy, strengthening environmental protection work and protecting natural environment. It focuses on environmental problems with health risk, embodying human-centered approach to development. The sharp contradiction between economic growth and natural resources is addressed through the development of circular economy and closely connecting environmental protection with economic growth. Though not bearing the responsibility for green house gas emission, China emphasizes the control of green gas emission on a voluntary basis to speed up the restoration of ecological environment. This fully demonstrates the high responsibility of the Chinese people for the world. We have every reason to believe that China, this giant ship, is moving onto a civilized course leading to booming production, affluent life and sound ecology.

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  Although China has made great progress in the cause of environment and development, we clear understand that China's environment is still facing very grave situation. It is expected that environmental protection will encounter unprecedented huge pressure during the 11th Five-Year Plan period and the next 15 years. However, it is encouraging that the Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CCCPC) and the State Council take environmental protection as one of the major issues concerning long-term development of China. The State Council has held two special meetings on environmental protection this year, which studied policies and measures on environmental protection during the 11th Five-Year Plan period. The Standing Committee of CCCPC also has studied some major policy and countermeasures for future environmental protection work at a special meeting. The State Council issued "Proposals on Accelerating the Development of Circular Economy" not long ago. It will issue the "Decision on Implementing the Outlook on Scientific Development and Enhancing Environmental Protection" in the near future. It is developing the 11th Five-Year Plan on National Environmental Protection and making specific arrangements for it. It has identified the following 6 key tasks on environmental protection during the 11th Five-Year Plan period:1) enhancement of prevention and control of water pollution focusing on the safety of drinking water and integrated management of major river basins; 2) intensified prevention and control of urban pollution focusing on integrated control of urban environment, particularly air pollution in urban areas; 3) promotion of air pollution control highlighting the reduction of total emission of SO2; 4) strengthening environmental protection in rural areas focusing on the prevention and control of soil pollution; 5) beefing up ecological conservation centering on the harmony between man and nature; and 6) emphasis on supervision and monitoring on nuclear facilities and radioactive sources to ensure a safe nuclear and radiation environment. Also, it will carry out nine big environmental projects such as safe disposal of hazardous wastes, treatment of urban sewage and garbage, desulphurization of coal-fuel power plants, the environmental protection in well-off rural areas, the development of nature reserves and eco-function protection areas as well as the capacity building in supervision. In doing so, we will promote the solving of pre-eminent environmental problems at present. Meanwhile, we will comprehensively use legal, economic and necessary administrative means to enhance environmental protection. It mainly reflects in the following aspects:

  First, establish and improve relevant institution for promoting the implementation of the outlook on scientific development. 1) integrate environmental protection indicators into the performance examination system for government leaders; 2) study green GDP accounting system and continue the trial work; 3) carry out environmental impact assessment on the plan for various development and construction projects. The examination and approval of construction projects should be conducted strictly according to the requirements of ecological function zoning and total volume control.

  Second, strengthen legal framework on environmental laws and regulations. Legislation should be stepped up in the fields of circular economy, ecological conservation and the prevention and control of soil and chemical pollution to perfect environmental laws and regulations as well as environmental standard system. More efforts will be made to impose heavy penalty on law infringement and address the problem of "low cost for violation and high cost for compliance". Accountability system for law enforcement should be implemented to combat various illegal environmental conducts. A legal assistance mechanism for pollution victims will be established. The Supreme People's Court of China will interpret environmental crime and promote environmental justice. In addition, the phenomena of noncompliance of law, laxity of law enforcement and weak management will be fundamentally changed through stepping up the cap control of pollutants, discharge permit system and strengthening of the effectiveness of deadline or suspending operation system for the control and treatment of pollution.

  Third, reinforce environmental supervision system. Local authorities are the main body assuming the responsible for environmental protection. The environmental supervision system where different responsibilities are defined as inspection by national authority, supervision by local authorities and implementation by individual units should be established and improved in order to tap the initiatives of the central government and local governments to protect environment. The State authority will establish and improve regional agencies for environmental inspection. Local authorities will also set up relevant environmental supervisor system. Enterprises will establish the practice on professional qualification management so that the responsibility of environmental supervision will be truly implemented.

  Fourth, improve economic regulatory mechanism for environmental protection. The government will develop the policy system on pricing, taxation, credit, trade, land use and government procurement in favor of environmental protection in order to guide and regulate social environmental conducts. A multi-channel investment and financing mechanism for environmental protection participated by the government, enterprises and society will gradually take shape. We will stick to the principle of "polluter pays while the party treating pollution benefits" and raise the charge for urban sewage treatment and garbage disposal. Enterprises are encouraged to specialize in environment-friendly treatment to promote the progress of commercialization of pollution control. Policies on desulphurization of coal-fired power plants and development of renewable resources will be supported. In addition, ecological compensation mechanism will be established as soon as possible to ensure the interest of ecological function zones and nature reserves. Furthermore, we will achieve coordinated regional development through rational design in line with the functions of different areas.

  Fifth, encourage public participation and supervision. We have made important progress in recent years in such aspects as releasing the information on urban environmental quality, river basin environmental quality, enterprise environmental conducts and public environmental hearing with good results. We will further extend public right for environmental information. The central authority will make public the environmental information including urban air quality and noise, water quality of river basins, offshore waters and drinking water sources, assessment of regional environmental status and pollution accidents. We will assess environmental conduct of enterprises and make public of their law compliance record. Moreover, we will fully solicit public opinions about any policy, legislation, plan and projects that involve with environmental rights and interests of the public.

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  The continuous development of the cause of environment and development of China depends on your positive contributions. We are happy to see that many of the major recommendations of CCICED to the Chinese Government have been embodied in government work plans for sustainable development. The Recommendation for the 11th Five-Year Plan clearly embodies the demand for sustainable development, which is indispensable to the unremitting efforts and contributions of our Members for the past years. In the next three days we will focus our discussion on the topic of sustainable urbanization. What I would like to emphasize is, on the one hand, China has a large population but scarce resources with fragile ecology, heavy pollution and unbalanced regional development. It is a great challenge for us to promote sustainable urbanization. On the other hand, as a big country with 1.3 billion people, sustainable urbanization of China will exert positive influence on the world. We earnestly hope that this AGM will produce abundant fruits.

  I wish a complete success of the Fourth Meeting of CCICED Phase III!

  Thank you!

Contact Us:


Address:5 Houyingfang Hutong,Xicheng District,Beijing 100035 P.R.Chinazip code:100035

Copyright © 2020 Secretariat of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. All Rights Reserved. Presented by China Daily.