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Newsletter (April)



  The Working Group on Pollution Control held its sixth working group meeting in Japan from March 14&endash;25, 2000. The meeting discussed ongoing projects including the Research on Policy and Methodology for CO2 Emission, Water Pollution Control in the Peal River Basin, and Guidelines for Urban Environmental Reporting. The meeting also discussed the future work plan of the working group, which includes a workshop on the issue of particulate and a study on oxidizers in Guangzhou City. Members of the working group visited departments of the Japanese government and were briefed on urban pollution control work in Japan. They also exchanged views with experts from Japanese research institutes.

  The Working Group on Environment and Transportation held a meeting on March 13&endash;14, 2000, to discuss various work projects. Representatives from four pilot project cities and planning and transportation departments attended the meeting. At the meeting, it was decided that each pilot project city draw a plan to implement the Recommendations for Improving Urban Transportation and Environment in Chinese Cities and to submit this plan to the Council. The working group also plans to organize a workshop on inter-city transportation and environment on May 17&endash;19 in Chongqing.

  The working group's Recommendations for Improving Urban Transportation and Environment in Chinese Cities was sent, in the form of a SEPA official document, to construction commissions and environmental protection bureaus of 36 capital cities, municipalities directly under the central government, and cities included in central government planning.

  The Working Group on Cleaner Production convened its sixth meeting on February 24-25, 2000, in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province. He Runde, Deputy Major of Taiyuan City, delivered a report on cleaner production in Taiyuan. The working group members and other participants commended the efforts and achievements made in Taiyan. Also discussed at the meeting was an overseas technical study tour, a national workshop on cleaner production, cleaner production measurement and indicators, the WG's self-assessment report and other publications, and the working group's future plan. The working group also listened to a working report on a proposed ecological demonstration zone in Zhuhai City.

  A workshop on cleaner production measurement and indicators was held before the meeting on February 23, 2000. Several reports were presented including 1) a report on the framework of measurement and indicators for urban cleaner production, 2) a report on the measurement and indicators for cleaner production in Taiyuan, and 3) a report on methodology for measuring cleaner production enterprises. Participants discussed these reports, and identified a framework for measuring cleaner production enterprises in Taiyuan.

  The Working Group on Energy Strategy and Technology, in cooperation with the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), organized an international meeting in Beijing on January 20&endash;21, 2000. The meeting discussed strategies for designing and implementing renewable proportion system (RPS). Representatives from SDPC, the State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC), and international organizations attended.

  RPS has been successfully designed and implemented in some countries. The basic concept of RPS is that a certain proportion of renewable sources is required in a local power system. Governmental officials and experts from countries where RPS has been successfully implemented attended the meeting. The meeting took stock of successful experiences in foreign countries. It suggested that China start to formulate framework policy for implementing RPS. Concrete steps proposed include: 1) to establish China's renewable energy goals under its economic and environmental development plans; 2) to identify renewables suitable for RPS; 3) to investigate renewable energy resources; 4) to estimate the relationship between costs and renewable power grids; 5) to identify the impacts of RPS on the electricity price; and 6) to assess the impact of the electricity price on China's environmental and economic goals, and 7) to undertake financial analysis and determine RPS standards.

  The Working Group on Trade and Environment held its eighth meeting in Beijing on October 22&endash;23, 1999. Two co-chairs briefed members and participants on the 1999 China Council meeting. Also discussed at the meeting were: 1) a study on APEC trade liberalization and China, 2) implications of WTO accession for trade and environment in China; and 3) an international study on clean coal technology transfer in China. Participants also spent some time reviewing a number of preliminary studies, including packaging materials and sustainable growth of China's foreign trade; trade liberalization in environmental services in China; and integration of trade, investment and sustainable development in selected state-level economic and technological development zones in China.

  The working group also decided to start a new study on prospects for clean development mechanisms in accelerating environmentally sound technology and foreign investment in China. Other possible research projects were also discussed.

  The working group's ninth meeting will be held in Wuxi on May 8-9, 2000. A workshop on the trade and environment implications of China's WTO accession will also be held May 10-11 after the working group meeting.

  Environmental Economics Working Group will conduct three major studies this year, including (a) Environment and poverty alleviation (b) Valuation of environmental damage and (c) Green taxation. The first of these is a new initiative; the other two being continuation of work already underway. Other Studies by the working group include, but will not be limited to, the studies on (a) national income accounting (b) grasslands and (c) fisheries. Key findings of these activities, which are primarily carried out by Chinese counterparts, will be incorporated into an "umbrella" report that will pull together all the work conducted by the working group over its ten year life. This final report will be prepared jointly by international and Chinese members, and will be submitted to Council members in draft form in June 2002.

  The working group has also planned to hold high Level seminars for senior officials from state, provincial and city level on the topics that have been addressed by the working group, i.e., basically revolving around pricing and taxation issues as they relate to environmental policy. One-day seminars can be introduced into the periodic residential courses for senior officials held at the State Administrative Training Centers. It is hoped to conduct two seminars each year, primarily aimed at raising the awareness of participants from ministries and other (non-environmental) government agencies about the actual and potential linkages between their economic and financial policies and the environment.

  Biodiversity Working Group, since obtaining financial support from Norway, has been able to restate its project objectives as follows:

  Produce an overview and broad assessment of forest rehabilitation policy and practices in Sichuan Province.

  Identify principles and criteria for guiding future forest rehabilitation programmes.

  Assess the possibilities for using approaches such as agroforestry and the promotion of natural regeneration.

  Disseminate findings and encourage discussion, debate and refinement of these principles and criteria among key decision-makers.

  Identify the needs and interests for supporting and expanding forest restoration and rehabilitation.

  A small team would be formed and empowered to undertake the following tasks:

  Identify literature, organizations and people (key informants and participants in a policy dialogue) to include in an assessment of the past experience with forest rehabilitation compared to expectations and stated goals, approaches and options available.

  Review the literature and interview key informants to produce a draft overview report.

  Distribute the draft report to stakeholders.

  Prepare for and conduct a provincial level workshop aimed at engaging a wide range of stakeholders in debating the issues raised in the report, and making recommendations for guidelines and needs for strengthening forest rehabilitation programmes;

  Revise the overview report and prepare project proposals for follow-up work in influencing and supporting forest rehabilitation policy and practice, based on discussions and recommendations at the national workshops;

  Publish and disseminate the report findings and project proposals to stakeholders and potential donors.

  The working group will meet in Chengdu from July 23-28 to attend a field trip, a workshop on Sichuan Biodiversity Conservation, and to prepare for the working group Annual report and a Red Listing Workshop.

  The Programme on Economic Planning and Environmental Protection will convene a meeting on government and business strategies for the development of environmental industries on May 15-17, 2000 in Beijing. The meeting will be supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the State Environmental Protection Administration.

  Martin Lees, International Co-Chair of the Programme, met with departments involved in this meeting in Beijing in late March to discuss the meeting's preparation.

  On the agenda are 1) strategies for the establishment of environmental industries in the 21st century; 2) the role of enterprises in the development of environmental industries; 3) international activities and experience related to environmental industries; 4) investment and finance mechanisms for environmental industries; 5) creating a sound market and standards for environmental industries; 6) opportunities and conditions for successful international cooperation; 7) suggestions to the Chinese government for stimulating growth of environmental industries; and 8) follow-up activities to promote China's environmental industries.

  The Programme has planned another conference on the conservation and development of forest resources, led by IUCN and WWF. In addition, a third meeting is planned to discuss economic planning and environmental protection for sustainable national development. This meeting will take stock of what has been done in the first phase of the programme and identify a strategy for disseminating its research results throughout China and the rest of the world.

  The Working Group on Sustainable Agriculture will hold a workshop and undertake a field study tour on May 1-11, 2000. The field trip will cover parts of Hunan and Jiangxi Provinces and will be followed by a two-day workshop and a working group meeting in Nanchang.


  Meeting of Two Council Vice-Chairs 

  Xie Zhenhua, China's Environment Minister and Vice-Chair of CCICED, met Leonard Good, President of the Canadian International Development Agency and a newly appointed Vice-Chair of CCICED, in Beijing during Good's visit to China on January 28.

  Xie reviewed the cooperation between China and CIDA environmental protection, and expressed his hope for further cooperation between China and Canada. Projects undertaken by CCICED have not only brought new ideas to the environmental protection work in China, but also contributed to the country's high-level environmental decision-making.

  Xie also noted the environmental priorities in China, the formulation of China's Tenth Five-Year Plan, the development strategies for China's western areas, and priority areas listed in a recent outline for international cooperation in environmental protection in China drawn up by SEPA.

  Good praised the tremendous progress made by China in its economic reforms and was very pleased to hear Xie's commendation of China-Canada cooperation. He believes bilateral cooperation on environment issues will be further strengthened, and that Canada will continue to provide financial and technical assistance to China.

  Working Group Liaison Meeting 

  On February 22, a working group liaison meeting was convened by the Chinese Secretariat in Beijing. Secretary-General Zhang Kunmin spoke about the Council's 1999 annual meeting and major achievements made last year. He also reviewed progress made in the Council's self-assessment. He stressed the need for collaboration among working groups. Each working group is required to submit concise recommendations, so that the Secretariat can easily process and distribute them to other groups. The meeting also agreed on the following:

  The Council will publish a series of books on its research achievements. Each working group will be asked to submit research work it wants published. The Council will select the best for the publications and provide financial support for the publication;

  To strengthen cooperation among working groups, the coordinator of each working group should notify other working groups of its meetings and activities and invite them to participate;

  Demonstration projects for each working group should, as much as possible, be linked to relevant multilateral and bilateral international cooperation projects. Working groups should consider inviting government officials to get involved in their work in order to strengthen cooperation with governmental departments;

  As recommended by the Council at its last meeting, a Council database should be established. Each working group should fully support this initiative.

  World Bank to Support Ad-hoc Task Force on Forest 

  The issue of forest conservation generated a great deal of interest among participants at the last Council meeting in October 1999. To address the issue of forest conservation, the World Bank will assist the Council in establishing an ad-hoc task force on forest. This was announced on March 1 by Susan Shen, Chief Ecologist of the Work Bank in China, at a Beijing meeting with Zhang Kunmin, Secretary-General of the Council. The preliminary thoughts for this task force were as follows:

  It should be a one-time task force of short duration with a set of clear terms of reference;

  It should involve people of multi-disciplines and multi-departments, including representatives from the State Development Planning Commission, the Bureau of Forest, SEPA, the Ministry of Agriculture, and also experts of social science such as economists, health specialists and educators.

  The task force should quickly undertake its investigation this year, produce some concrete results, and hold an international symposium.

  As soon as this initiative is approved by the Council Bureau, the Representative Office of the World Bank in China will contact relevant organizations and departments for funds and support.


  The development of China's resources-rich but underdeveloped western areas has now been put on the top of the Chinese government's agenda. Premier Zhu Rongji outlined the major objectives for the implementation of the strategy to develop the western areas in his government work report to the Third Session of the Ninth National People's Congress held in early March 2000. Major tasks for the development of western areas set forth by the Premier are as follows:

  1. To accelerate infrastructure development. While mainly concentrating on highways, efforts should be made to build more railways, airports, and gas trunk pipelines. Efforts should also be intensified for the growth of electric power grids and telecommunications, radio and television facilities, as well as infrastructure development in large and medium-sized cities. The rational exploitation of water resources and water conservation should also be emphasized;

  2. To conserve and improve the ecological environment. Greater efforts need to be made to complete the projects for the protection of natural forests along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River. Any further efforts to clear forests and pastures to reclaim land should be resolutely stopped;

  3. Taking in consideration local geography, climate, resources and other conditions, different regions should focus on developing strong industries with local characteristics as well as high and new technology industries where conditions permit;

  4. Science, technology and education should be vigorously developed. The translation of scientific and technological advances into productive forces should be accelerated; and

  5. Efforts should be made to open China wider still to the outside world, improve the investment environment and do all possible to attract foreign funds and import foreign technology and managerial expertise.

  This is crucial to the efforts to boost domestic demand, promote sustained national economic growth and bring about coordinated development of regional economies for prosperity as well as to strengthen national unity, safeguard social stability and consolidate border defense, said the Premier in his report. Resource management and ecological conservation have been placed on the top of the agenda for the western area development.

  The western areas include 9 provinces and autonomous regions as well as one municipality under the central government, including the country's most underdeveloped provinces such as Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Tibet, Yunnan and Guizhou. These areas has a total area of 5.4 million square kilometers (covering 56% of China's total territory) and a population of 285 million. The average gross domestic product in the region is only half that of the eastern region.

  In 2000, the central government plans to put 70% of its treasury bonds, government-appropriated funds and foreign loans into revitalizing the vast western areas. It will invest 30 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) in 78 related projects already undergoing in western China. The government earmarked 60% of its government bonds for investment in this region in 1999, said Zeng Peiyan, Minister of the State Development Planning commission. (People's Daily Online, 03/05/2000 and Xinhua, 03/06/2000)


  A national conference on environmental protection took place in Beijing in early February. Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) Xie Zhenhua stressed that 2000 is a critical year for environmental protection efforts in China. The year is the last year to realize national targets for environmental protection defined by the national 9th Five-Year Plan. The 9th Five-Year Plan targets are: 1) control the emission of 12 major pollutants; 2) attain the national and local emission standards for all industrial sources; and 3) attain environmental quality standards for each environmental element in municipalities directly under the central government, capital cities of provinces, special economic zones, coastal open cities, and key tourist cities. These targets are often referred to as "one control and two attainment."

  Major environmental priorities outlined by Xie for the year 2000 are:

  1. To realize the national targets for environmental protection defined by the national 9th Five-Year Plan; to fulfill targets set for the pollution control projects of three major rivers (Huai River, Hai River and Liao River), three major lakes (Tai Lake, Cao Lake and Dianchi Lake), two air pollutants control zones (SO2 and acid rain), one municipality (Beijing) and one marine area (Bohai Sea); and to meet the ecological targets set by the 9th Five-Year Plan;

  2. To finalize the Environmental Protection Plan under the 10th Five-Year Plan;

  3. To make environmental protection an integral part of planning for the development of China's western regions. Speeding up growth in the west will contribute substantially to the national economy. However, environmental sacrifices must be avoided in this process.

  Attaining the first priority for 2000 will be difficult. Up to November 1999, the attainment of industrial sources was 73.88%. Of 217,200 polluting enterprises, 160,500 met their emission standards. Only 9 of 46 key cities met their air quality standards; 28 of them met ground water quality standards. There were 15 cities that did not meet their TSP, SO2 and NOx standards, and there were 29 that failed to meet the TSP standards.

  In the first four years of the period of the 9th Five-Year Plan (1996-1999), the total emission of 11 major pollutants in the country was reported to be lower than the allowable level, with 74% of industrial pollution sources attaining emission standards. The quality of surface water and air in nine major cities in the country met the required standards in their functional areas. Great achievements have also been made in the pollution control projects of the country's three key rivers, three lakes and one municipality, as well as in total control of SO2 and acid rain. (People's Daily, 01/09/2000; China Daily, 01/10/2000; and Industry Information Newsletter, 01/08/2000)


  Chinese President Jiang Zemin called for major improvements in family planning, resource management, and environmental protection in the new century. Jiang made this call at a conference on population control, natural resources, and environmental protection in early March 2000.

  To realize cross-century development goals, it is extremely important to improve family planning, resource management, and environmental protection, said Jiang. As a developing nation with the world's largest population, China is quite limited in its per capita natural resources. It must always see population control, the preservation of resources, and environmental protection from a strategic point of view. Success or failure in this area will have a direct bearing on the country's economic and social security.

  In the new century, it is imperative to improve family planning and stabilize a low birth rate. Better-coordinated efforts are needed, along with improved family planning management mechanisms suitable to the socialist market economy. Jiang also stressed that continued efforts should be devoted to pollution prevention and control, and ecological protection. He called on the nation to put more effort into energy utilization efficiency. (People's Daily Online 03/13/2000)


  Major Measures Taken to Restore Ecosystem 

  In March 2000, the State Forest Bureau, the State Development Planning Commission, and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued an implementation outline for restoring the nation's ecosystem. The outline requires that 174 counties in 13 provinces along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the upper and middle reaches of Yellow River undertake pilot work on restoring farmland originally reclaimed for grain production to forests, pastures and lakes. The government also announced 1.9 billion yuan of investment for this action. The restored areas would be around 5.15 mu (approximately 343,000 hectares). (China Youth Daily 03/30/2000)

  New Implementation Rules on Water Issued 

  The New Implementation Rules on Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law of the People's Republic of China were adopted and issued by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji on March 20, 2000. These rules, which are in effect immediately, outline concrete management and supervision measures by the regulatory departments. The regulations require that total pollution control plans for the nation's major river basins be drawn by provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the State Council. Fines and other penalties are also outlined in the new regulations.

  New Environmental Model Cities Selected 

  The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) awarded three more cities&emdash;Haikou City, Shantou City and Suzhou City&emdash;the title of "National Environmental Protection Model City." At the same time, Dagang District of Tianjin City, and Minghan District of Shanghai City, were also awarded the title of "National Environmental Protection Urban District." The selection of national environmental model cities started in 1997. Based on criteria for urban environment pollution control, SEPA previously named Dalian, Shenzhen, Xiamei, Weihai, Zhuhai and Zhangjiaguang as national environmental model cities. The selection criteria include five environmental quality indicators, 10 indicators for urban environmental infrastructure, four indicators for environmental management and four social economic indicators. In addition, public environmental awareness is taken into consideration. (China Environment News 03/02/2000)

  China, Japan, South Korea Join Hands for the Environment 

  Environmental ministers from China, Japan and South Korea met in February 2000 and issued a joint communiqué. The communiqué outlined future priority areas for regional cooperation, particularly in the areas of marine environmental management and climate change.

  The three ministers commended the joint efforts of the three countries in promoting the ongoing joint projects, in particular the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia and their joint research project on Long-range Transportation of Air Pollutants.

  The meeting also called for cooperation in habitat conservation and restoration of damaged ecosystems so as to protect biodiversity and better manage sustainable water resources. (China Environment News 03/06/2000)

  China sets Timetables for CFC Phase-out 

  China has set a timetable for CFC phase-out for various industries. For chemical manufacturing, CFC-11, CFC-12, Hallon-1301 will be phased out by 2010, CFC-113 by 2006, and Halon-1211 by 2005. The use of CFC in household cooling equipment will be banned by 2010; and in air conditioning in cars by 2002. CFC-11 will be phased out in industrial and commercial cooling equipment by 2002 (but the use for maintenance will be allowed until 2010); and CFC-12 by 2006. CFC-11 will be banned in foaming plastics by 2009; and CFC-12 by 2005. CFC will not be allowed in tobacco by 2005, and CFC-12 by 1998 in aerosols (non-medicine use). Halon-1211 will be banned by 2005 for fire-fighting equipment, and Hallon-13-1 by 2010. CFC-14 will also be phased out as cleaning agents. (Industry Information Newsletter 03/05/2000)

  China to Levy Sewage Treatment Fees 

  In December 1999, the State Development Planning Commission, the Ministry of Urban Construction, and SEPA jointly issued a circular concerning municipal sewage treatment fees and urban concentrated sewage treatment.

  The circular calls for each city to levy sewage treatment fees along with the current water fees. The levy is intended to compensate the costs for municipal sewage discharge systems and sewage treatment. The sewage treatment fees shall be collected by each city's water utilities. The rates for such fees vary from city to city depending on the costs of operating and maintaining the sewage system.

  Regional and Local News 

  Jinan, capital of East China's Shangdong Province, will plant up to 7,100 hectares of new forests in the next three years. The city is planning to have everyone over the age of 11 responsible for planting three to five trees a year. This is part of the city's Blue Sky Project which is intended to create a clean and beautiful environment in this rather polluted city within five years. The city also announced new standards for burning coal. The rate of sulfur content must be less than 0.8% and ash less than 20%. In addition, city residents are not allowed to use coal as fuel for cooking and water boiling. The local government will have preferential policies for those who use clean fuel for central heating. (China Daily 02/26/2000)

  Beijing continues to accelerate the construction of green belts for its greener future. According to Beijing Municipal Planning Commission, urban Beijing will be surrounded by a green belt with the addition of another 240 square kilometres of trees and plants this year. Beijing developed green areas covering some 180 square kilometres last year and planted over 11 million trees in its suburbs. Meanwhile, an environmentally-friendly community recently emerged in Beijing's Xuanwu District. The community, located in the Baizhifang area of downtown Beijing, has its own system of handling green space and recyclables. It is run by a non-governmental environmental organization and the government of Xuanwu District. (China Daily 02/25/2000)

  Shenzhen adopted the Regulations Concerning Marine Pollution Prevention and Control. Shenzhen, which is home to China's second most important container harbor, adopted the regulations on March 1, 2000, to help prevent and control oil disasters. The new regulations are the fist of its kind in China. They are centred on the establishment of a system of safety measures, emergency reactions, and damage compensation. It defines standards, responsibilities, equipment disposition, staff, and punishments. Fines are set from 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) to 500,000 yuan (US$60,000) for the most serious offences. (China Daily 02/29/2000)

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