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Newsletter (March)


  China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Phase II

  As Phase II of the CCICED Project officially began on January 1, 1997, it seems opportune to present a brief introduction of the Project for readers of this Newsletter.

  The CCICED is a high-level, non-governmental consultative organization established in 1992 to strengthen cooperation and exchange between China and the international community in the field of environment and development.

  Its main objectives are: a) to advise the Government of China in the definition and implementation of long-term, integrated strategies and policies that promote sustainable development; b) to encourage international cooperation as a means to address environmental and development issues in China;

  Its organization is as follows:

  The Council meets annually under the chairmanship of Dr. Song Jian, State Councilor for State Science and Technology Commission. It is composed of approximately 50 Chinese and international members of Ministerial or Vice Ministerial rank or the equivalent. Members participate as experts in their personal capacities at the invitation of the Chinese Government. Many of the Chinese members are from the Environmental Commission under the State Council; this facilitates coordination of domestic and international issues. The international members are of comparable stature and are drawn from all over the world.

  Seven Expert Working Groups (WG) are being established by the Council for Phase II, each jointly chaired and staffed by Chinese and international experts. These Groups will meet during the year to analyze problems faced by China, to propose strategies based on international experience and China's needs and to prepare recommendations for the Council. These Groups will be Energy Strategies and Technologies, Pollution Control, Environmental Economics, Protection of Biodiversity, Trade and Environment, Sustainable Agriculture and Cleaner Industrial Production.

  The Secretariats consist of two small groups: one is within the Chinese National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA Secretariat); and the other is at the David Lam Centre for International Communication of Simon Fraser University (Canadian Secretariat). They work together to support all aspects of the CCICED.

  Although the main purposes, membership and organization of the Council will remain the same as in Phase I, two major changes will be introduced in Phase II.

  First, the Council will emphasize more practical results. Thus, whenever the Council recommends new policy changes or new technology it will also propose practical demonstration projects to test these changes in a specific situation in China

  Second, two new Working Groups will be introduced: Sustainable Agriculture under Canadian leadership; and Cleaner Industrial Production under Japanese leadership and two Groups will be dropped (Scientific Research and Monitoring).


  Ameeting kicking off CCICED Phase II was convened by NEPA Secretariat on March 7, 1997 in Beijing. Based on the views expressed by the Council members at the 1996 Council Meeting and the results of the second meeting of the Bureau, a reorganization for expert WGs was put forward in order to meet the need of CCICED Phase II.

  Three main principles were defined to guide the reorganization; that is, the formation of working groups should be in line with the priorities of CCICED Phase II, they must be based on the availability of funds, and each Working Group should recruit well-known and young experts in its respective field.

  As proposed at the 1996 Council Meeting, the Council will keep its five WGs out of seven from Phase I and form another two new WGs and an Environment and Planning Project.

  The following persons have been invited as the Chinese co-chairs for the seven WGs and one special project:

  Qu Geping (Pollution Control),

  Nie Weidou (Energy Strategies and Technologies), Li Yining (Environmental Economics),

  Wang Sung (Protection of Biodiversity),

  Ye Ruqiu (Trade and Environment),

  Sun Honglie (Sustainable Agriculture),

  Qian Yi (Cleaner Industrial Production) and

  Chen Yaobang (Environment and Planning Project).


  At a national high-level official meeting of environmental protection bureaus held in Nanning in January, NEPA Administrator Xie Zhenhua outlined a number of priorities for environmental protection in 1997.

  Those priorities are: 1) to take measures to implement the recommendations of the fourth national environmental protection conference and the State Council's resolution regarding environmental protection; 2) to adhere to environmental laws, investment, publicity and education, and technology; and 3) to earnestly implement total amount pollution control and China's Trans-Century Green Project Plan, and improve water pollution control of three rivers and three Lakes.

  Other priorities in Xie's list were comprehensive urban pollution control and natural conservation; environmental monitoring and file management; capacity building in the environmental protection sector; and further international cooperation.



  A survey of the Ministry of Water Conservancy has recently revealed that waste water discharge has more than doubled since the early 1980s. China's seven major rivers, (Yangtze, Huanghe, Huaihe, Haihe, Zhujiang, Songhuajiang and Liaohe) were monitored between 1991 and 1995. In one 100,000 kilometer section surveyed, more than half of it was contaminated. About 400,000 kilometers did not meet the fishery standards, and 2,400 kilometers had no fish living in it at all. Ninety percent of the river section around urban areas was found to be seriously polluted.


  China Agriculture Bank and National Environmental Protection Agency have recently issued a circular requiring the Bank and all its branches to stop issuing loans to enterprises that are bad polluters.

  Those branches that fail to comply with this decision and make funds available to the 15 small industries that have been ordered to shut down will be held responsible.

  An overall inspection of bank loans will be conducted soon in those provinces, cities or areas where the 15 targeted small industries are located as well as the Huaihe, Liaohe and Haihe rivers and the Dianchi, Chaohu, and Taihe lakes.


  A recent meeting of the State Council's Environmental Protection Commission adopted a report proposing air pollution forecasting in China by the General Station of Environmental Monitoring. The report suggests starting with weekly air pollution reporting in 47 key cities from June 5, 1997 to June 5, 1998, and air pollution forecasting from 1998 onwards.

  Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shengyang, Xi'an, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Nanjing, and Hangzhou will become the first ten cities to start the weekly reporting. CO2, Nox, and particulate are the first three pollutants to be monitored, with other pollutants to follow. (Source: China Environment News)


  An Action Plan for Environmental Publicity and Education has recently been released by the National Environmental Protection Agency, the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party, and the Ministry of Education. The Action Plan aims to promote environmental awareness and mobilize public participation in environmental protection in order to achieve the environmental goals set in China's Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) and its Long-Term Targets for 2010 - Environmental Protection.

  The overall objectives of the Action Plan are: 1) by 2000, to form an initial framework of environmental publicity and education and establish a system for public participation and supervision of environmental protection, to nurture the idea that the public can protect the environment and comply with environmental laws conscientiously, and to enhance the ability of all decision-makers in environment and development decision-making; and 2) by 2010, to have a sound environmental publicity and education network in place and to achieve a high level of environmental awareness in the country.

  Regarding environmental education, the Plan calls for further improvement of the basic and professional education system for environmental protection. The Plan requires that environmental education become a part of basic education in all elementary schools, hign schools and universities. Regular training programs should be developed to train principals and teachers of high and elementary schools. Environmental protection should become a required course for normal university and technical school students. Sustainable development which links population, resources and economic development should be integrated into all environment major programs of higher education institutions.

  Other proposed measures in the Action Plan include disseminating environmental information among all levels of decision-makers through environmental reporting or other internal references, and among the public through broadcasting, TV and various publications.

  Capacity building for environmental publicity and education is vital to the success of the above measures, and international cooperation will greatly facilitate China's domestic efforts.


  WG on Energy 

  The WG on Energy Strategies and Technologies held its 9th meeting from December 9 to 11, 1996 in Beijing. six international and four Chinese members attended the meeting. Also present at the meeting were Liu Shuying, Vice Governor of Jilin Province; Professor Qiu Daxiong of Qinghua University and two international members from the WG on Environmental Economics.

  Among the issues discussed was how to link the work of this WG to that of the WG on Environmental Economics and Pollution Control. In addition, medium and long-term energy supply and demand scenarios for China and analysis of alternative futures were discussed. Many follow-ups were made to several workshops organized by the WG (including wind energy, fuel cell powered buses, energy-efficient commercial buildings, and the role of government in the development of sustainable development in the energy sector, clean coal technology, natural gas utilization, biogas, transportation energy and pollution). Solar energy development, cooperation with African countries, the application of fuel cells to the public transit system and the dissemination of knowledge of energy development were also addressed.

  The most important points covered included the price of electricity, China's coal-based energy future, the development of clean coal technology, the application of fuel cells on buses and trains, as well as internalization of environmental costs.

  In order to make the research findings and opinions better known and understood by a broad audience, the WG has made some of their materials available, among them are papers on the role of government in sustainable development, Large Scale Wind Power in China by Professor Robert H. Williams and Professor Xie Shaoxiong and other materials.


  On February 28, the State Bureau of Technology Supervision (SBTS) announced China's adoption of five ISO 14000 standards. They will come into effect on April 1, 1997. These ISO 14000 standards are the first five published by the International Organization for Standardization. They are:

  1. Environmental management systems - specification with guidance for use.

  2. Environmental management systems - general guidelines on principles, systems and supporting techniques.

  3. Environmental auditing - general principles.

  4. Environmental auditing - auditing of environmental management systems.

  5. Environmental auditing - qualification criteria for environmental auditors.

  Adoption of these standards will further promote the implementation of ISO 14000 environmental management standards in China. Last December, the National Steering Committee for the Appraisal of Environmental Management System was jointly established by SBTS and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA). Meanwhile, Xiamen in Fujian Province was designated by NEPA as China's first pilot city to implement ISO 14000.

  Four companies in China were issued ISO 14000 certificates in January. They are ABB Xiamen Switchgear Co. Ltd., Shanghai Gao Qiao-BASF Dispersion C. Ltd., Haier Group's Haier Refrigerator System, and Beijing Matsushita Colour CRT Co. Ltd. Twenty-seven other enterprises have been chosen as pilots for ISO 14000 standards.



  The environmental goals for China's Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) and its Long-Term Targets for 2010 for Environmental Protection have been set, which include, by 2000, establishing a sound environmental management and legal system that is compatible with China's market economy; bringing environmental pollution and ecological deterioration under control and achieving modest regional improvements in environmental quality. By 2010, the goals are to achieve a better implementation of sustainable development strategies and an improved environmental management and legal system, to reverse the general trend of environmental deterioration and achieve visible improvement of environmental quality.

  In order to achieve the above goals, China will increase investment in environmental protection from 0.8% of GNP during 1991-1995 to above 1% during 1996-2000. Deputy Administrator of NEPA Zhang Kunmin is quoted as saying that China will invest 188 billion yuan in environmental protection during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000).

  At a national conference of environmental protection bureaus held in January, Xie Zhenhua, NEPA Administrator, also indicated that local governments will make efforts to increase environmental investment as well. Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen have decided to allocate up to 3% of their GNP to pollution control; Tianjin will set aside up to 2%; and Jiangsu, Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang, up to 1.5%.

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