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Newsletter (June)



  CCICED Prepares its 4th Meeting of Phase II 

  As decided by the 1999 Council meeting, the 4th Meeting of the 2nd Phase of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development will be held from October 31 to November 2, 2000.

  The theme of this year's meeting will be environmental issues related to China's Great Western Development Program. CCICED Secretary General Zhang Kunmin has notified Council members and working group co-chairs and called for recommendations on sustainable development of China's Great West. As a high-level advisory body, the mandate of CCICED is to provide recommendations to the Chinese Government on critical issues in the field of environment and development.

  Major agenda items for the upcoming Council meeting will include work reports by the Secretariat and by working groups/task force, discussions on environmental issues related to China's Great Western Development Program, review of the preliminary report by the newly established Task Force on Forest and Grassland Issues, presentations by invited government departments or provinces on environmental related issues, and discussions on recommendations to the Chinese Government.

  Task Force on Forest and Grassland 

  Preparations for the establishment of the Task Force on Forest and Grassland Issues related to China's Great Western Development Program are well underway. Shen Guofang, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, has been appointed as the Chinese co-chair of the task force, and Uma Lele of the World Bank, as the international co-chair. The appointments are now being reviewed, and the selection of members has almost been completed. The terms of reference for the task force are also being drafted. Comments and ideas concerning the establishment of this task force collected from Council members and working group co-chairs have been conveyed to the newly appointed two co-chairs.

  News from Secretariats 

  Secretary General Kunmin Zhang and Project Director Earl Drake met Patrick Murphy, First Consular of the European Union Delegation to China in Beijing on May 17, 2000. Zhang reviewed cooperation between CCICED and the European Union, and both sides discussed the possibility of the EU to provide further support to the Council. Murphy noted that the EU is very much interested in the work of the Council, which often can guide the direction of EU investment. Murphy suggested the Secretariat initiate a direct dialogue with the EU and Secretary General Zhang plan to visit Brussels at an appropriate time.

  Secretary General Zhang Kunmin met and hosted a dinner for Mats Karlsson, Vice President of the World Bank responsible for international affairs in Beijing on May 17, 2000. Zhang introduced the work currently undertaken by the Council. They both exchanged views on China's integration into the world economy and issues related to the assistance of the World Bank and the Government of Sweden to the China Council. They also discussed issues related to China's environmental protection, and the demonstrative role of the Chinese central government to local governments and China's views on climate change. 

  Secretary General Zhang Kunmin met representatives from the Energy Foundation (EF) of the United States, including Jan Hamrin and Seth Baruch, experts of the EF's Centre for Resources Issues, and Fuqiang Yang, Program Manager of China Power and Renewable Program. Experts from the EF expressed a willingness of the EF to assist China in formulating its policy framework for the development of its renewables, and they discussed the feasibility for China to implement the renewable proportion system and possible barriers for China to implement SO2 emission trading. The Energy Foundation is interested in supporting Sino-US joint research on SO2 emission trade, and the possible implementation in China of the Generation Property Standards that have been recently adopted in the US. Zhang introduced the work of the working groups that might have an interest in cooperating with the EF in this regard. Experts from the EF also expressed interest in cooperating with China on water resources management and eliminating waste of water and energy resources.


  The Working Group on Energy Strategies and Technologies convened an international symposium on Energy Strategic Consideration for the Tenth Five-Year Plan: Strategy for Cogeneration based on Coal Gasification in Beijing on May 11-12, 2000. Representatives from the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), the State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) attended the symposium. They introduced the arrangements for the utilization of clean coal in the Tenth Five-Year Plan. Participants discussed the cogeneration strategy and China's sustainable development of energy, the implementation of the cogeneration strategy in China as well as key technologies, related policy and mechanisms to support the implementation of such a strategy.

  The Working Group held its 16th meeting after the symposium on May 13-15. The meeting reviewed progress of its current projects and its participation in other working groups' activities. It also discussed the development of cleaner energy such as wind energy in western China, and strategies for the development and promotion of such cleaner energy.

  After the meeting, some Chinese and international members and experts of the working group went to Xinjiang to inspect wind energy there.

  The Working Group on Trade and Environment held its 9th meeting in Wuxi on May 8&endash;9, 2000. The meeting reviewed research projects currently undertaken by the working group, including APEC trade liberalization and China: coordination of environmental and trade policies; Improve outer packaging of export goods for sustainable growth of China's foreign trade; Strategies for trade liberalization in environmental services in China; Integrating trade, investment and sustainable development in selected state-level economic and technological development zones in China; International study on clean coal technology transfer; and Prospects of the Clean Development Mechanism for accelerating environmental technology and foreign investment in China.

  Members also discussed the working group's recommendations to be submitted to the China Council, and future work program. It was noted that the recommendations should focus on the development of western China. The working group's future work needs to consider China's entry into the WTO, the need for China to meet the challenges of the new Tenth Five-Year Plan and the new strategy for the development of western China.

  A training workshop on China's WTO accession and its trade and environment implications took place after the working group meeting on May 10-11, 2000. The workshop was organized around several themes &emdash; general trade and environmental issues in the WTO; trade and environmental impacts of China's joining the WTO; issues regarding trade related intellectual property rights; voluntary environmental measures related to PPM and TBT; and looking to the future of China's WTO membership. More than 50 participants attended the workshop, among them were representatives of environmental protection bureaus and trade departments, import and export companies, state-owned enterprises, foreign companies operating in China as well as university faculty members and graduate students from Wuxi, Shanghai, Dalian, Jiangsu and Guangdong.

  The Working Group on Sustainable Agricutlure held an international workshop on integrated development and management of resources and sustainable agricultural development in red soil and loess areas of southern China and its working group meeting in Nanchang on May 9&endash;11. Before the meetings, members of the working group conducted a field trip to parts of Hunan and Jiangxi provinces.

  The Programme on Economic Planning and Environmental Protection together with the Council and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) organized an international conference on strategic development of environmental industries in Beijing on May 15&endash;17. The meeting was chaired by Zhang Kunmin, Secretary General of the CCICED and by Martin Lees, a Council member and Director of the Programme. More than 100 international and Chinese representatives participated in the meeting. The meeting mainly discussed strategies for the development of environmental industries in China in the 21th Century, international activities and experience in the development of environmental industries in foreign countries, and issues related to investment, financial mechanisms market management of environmental industries, and opportunities for international cooperation. The meeting also formed recommendations to the Government of China on key strategic points for promoting the development of environmental industries.

  The Working Group on Environment and Transportation convened a workshop on inter-city transportation and the environment in Chongqing from May 17 to 19, 2000. Chinese and international experts discussed issues regarding inter-city transportation including highway, railway, air, pipe and water transportation, and environment-related issues.

  The working group also held its working group meeting after the workshop. The meeting reviewed its current projects and planned for its future work. Before and after the meeting, members of the working group were divided into to two study groups to inspect model cities including Kunming, Shenzhen and Qingdao respectively.

  On June 12-25, Wang Yangzhu, the Chinese co-chair of the working group led a delegation consisting of representatives from four model cities of Dalian, Qingdao, Kunming and Shenzhen to visit Germany, France and Switzerland inspecting urban transportation, environment and sustainable development in these countries.

  The Working Group on Pollution Control held a special project leaders meeting in June in the Netherlands where all sub-project leaders of the working group were present. The meeting mainly discussed current project progress and the work plan and implementation for the next year to ensure the end-products of the next year.

  On April 26-28 2000, the working group, in cooperation with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Chinese State Environmental Protection Administration, also convened an international workshop on air quality management. The workshop aimed to exchange information on available scientific cases for environmental regulatory decision-making in order to expedite appropriate control measures in China. Particulate matter (PM) regulation in Beijing was used as a case study. Chinese participants describe the current state of air pollution control in China, and senior US officials and European experts described advances made in PM regulations over the last three decades.

  The Working Group on Biodiversity is going to convene its working group meeting of 2000 and an international workshop on biological diversity conservation in Sichuang Province on July 23&endash;28. Both meetings will take place in Dujiangyan City of Sichuang Province. Prior to the meetings, Chinese members and international members will be divided into two study groups. One group will go to inspect Wanglang Giant Panda Nature Reserve and the local situation of reforestation from farmland originally reclaimed for grain production in Pingwu County. And the other group will go to Wolong and Qingchen Mountains and surrounding areas to inspect the local situation of reforestation.

  The Working Group on Environmental Economics plans to hold its working group meeting of 2000 in Xining on July 25&endash;28. The meeting will mainly discuss issues of environmental economics related to the development of western China.

  The Working Group on Cleaner Production will organize a national workshop on cleaner production in Beijing in later August or early September in Beijing. The workshop aims to take stock of the progress and experience of cleaner production in China, and to discuss the recent trends in cleaner production.


  On June 5, the World Environment Day, the State Environmental Protection Administration issued the 1999 report on the state of the environment. In 1999, China made special efforts to protect the environment while continuing development. It achieved to some extent control of total pollution emissions and began to reverse environmental pollution. The environment in parts of China has been improved.

  The report shows that China spent about 82 billion yuan (US$10 billion) on pollution control last year, accounting for 1% of the country's GDP.

  Nevertheless, environmental deterioration in the country persists despite concerted efforts to restrict industrial pollution and reforest hillsides denuded by expanding farming. Water discharge and air contamination remain problems. Noise, soil and other urban pollution still persist, and the agriculture environment is deteriorating as well. Ecological degradation has not yet been effectively controlled, and in some areas it has been aggravated.

  Organic pollution is prevalent in major Chinese rivers, with pollution from non-point sources becoming more serious. Pollution in Liaohe, Haihe and Huaihe rivers has been serious. Water quality in the Liaohe River has worsened. The Yellow River has improved. Water quality in the Songhua River, the Pearl River and the Yangtze River is in a good condition in general.

  Major lakes show eutrophication. Taihu Lake indicates moderate eutrophication. The Dianchi Lake basin has worsened, but Chaohu Lake improved as industrial pollution sources met discharge standards in 1999. The distribution of ground water is not well balanced. In the south, water abounds, but in the north there is not enough. In some places, too much ground water has been used, causing soil to recede, sea water penetration and ground water to go deeper. In 1999, due to little rainfall, urban ground water levels dropped in Beijing, Shandong, Henan, Inner Mongolia, Anhui, Guangdong and Guangxi. The ground water level in Shanghai, Jilin, Zhejiang and Sichuan increased. Results were mixed in Shaanxi, Gansu, Jiangsu and Tibet.

  In 1999, the discharge of 12 major industrial pollutants was lower than levels specified in the control plan. Statistics show that of 234,218 polluting enterprises, 189,578 have met standards, up 80.9%. Of the 17,925 key polluting enterprises, which are 65 % of the major dischargers, 12,391, or 69.1 %, have met standards.

  Of the 47 cities targeted for environmental improvement, 16 have met standards. Another 29 cities have met requirements for surface water quality.

  In 1999, marine water and coastlines were polluted, very seriously in some cases. Marine environmental degradation has still not been effectively controlled.

  Coal smoke contributed most to air pollution. The major pollutants were suspended particles and sulfur dioxides. In some cities, vehicle emissions are also serious issues. Acid rain still fell on 30% of China despite a clean-up of smokestack industries. One third of the 338 cities where records are kept reached the second national level standard of air-quality ratings.

  Grasslands in the country are deteriorating. Areas that show moderate deterioration (including desertification and alkalization) reached 130 million hectares, accounting for one third of the national grasslands. The assessment evaluates the situation of industrial wastes, arable land, biodiversity, climate change and natural disaster, radiation and noise pollution. (The Chinese version of China State of Environment Report 1999, Shanghai Environment Online 0606/00)


  On June 5, the eve of the World Environment Day, Premier Zhu Rongji called for global efforts to protect the environment and fight ecological deterioration facing the international community. These remarks were made in an address televised live nationwide to mark the World Environment Day.

  The premier noted that the common aspiration of people of all nations is for a better environment and a better future. Premier Zhu called for coordination between global environmental protection and economic development. Since the Industrial Revolution, mankind has created unprecedented wealth at the cost of the environment. Ecological destruction and environmental pollution has posed a serious threat to the subsistence and development of mankind. Solving environmental problems has become an important mission that can not afford any delay, and people of all nations should join hands to protect the Earth&emdash;our common homeland.

  Zhu said that the Government of China has attached great importance to protect the environment and has drawn up a series of laws, regulations and measures for this purpose. Progress has been made with China's unremitting efforts to environmental protection and ecological construction along with economic restructuring in recent years, said the premier. However, the country's environmental pollution still remains rather serious and ecological deterioration has not yet been brought under control. The sandstorms that hit many parts of the country repeatedly this year have sounded alarm for the entire Chinese nation. It is a long-term and arduous task to protect the ecology and improve the environment.

  China will face even greater pressure and challenges in environmental protection as it is marching towards the third-stage of its modernization drive. China must earnestly implement a sustainable development strategy and put greater efforts to environmental protection and ecological construction, Zhu said. China will rely on science and technology and increase investment for conserving water and soil, curbing environmental pollution, and improving the country's ecological environment through efforts to plant more trees and grass under a national overall plan.

  The premier also promised that the Government of China will continue to adhere to the principles concerning international environmental cooperation, actively join the international community to solve global environmental problems, and carry out related international environmental conventions so as to make due contributions to protecting the global environment. (People's Daily Online, 06/05/2000)


  China Unveils Western Development Project 

  The Chinese government unveiled a list of 225 projects with preferential policies for foreign investors, with the aim of attracting foreign investment to western and central regions. The list was made public by the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), the State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC), and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) in a circular endorsed by the State Council. These projects range from agriculture to high-tech sectors, focusing on tourism, stockbreeding, agriculture, food processing, environmental protection, electronic equipment manufacturing and technical innovation. Foreign investors will enjoy tax exemption for importing related equipment and the exemption of value-added tax if they invest in projects listed in the circular. (People's Daily Online 06/23/2000)

  Daily Air Quality Reports of 42 Key Cities Issued 

  On June 5, 2000, China issued the first daily report on air quality of 42 cities. China began its report on air quality of major cities in 1997 on a weekly basis. The three-year publication of such reports has played a major role in promoting air pollution control and public environmental awareness in the country.

  The 42 cities include China's four municipalities directly under the central government, the provincial and regional capitals and 10 coastal cities. The first daily report said that Tianjin, Hohhot, Shenyang, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Lhasa and 16 other cities enjoyed fairly good air. Excellent air was reported in Nanchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Haikou, Kunming and Yinchuan. (China Daily 06/05/2000)

  China to Fight against Agriculture Pollution 

  Statistics show that more than 130,000 hectares of farmland have been damaged by industrial solid waste, and over 5.3 million hectares of land are affected by air pollution. Meanwhile, the acreage of farmland irrigated with polluted water is also growing. A recent survey of agriculture markets in some provincial capital cities shows that the residue of pesticide on vegetables and fruit was above the normal standard, and in some markets, the phenomena is extremely serious. Due to over-development, large areas of the country's grassland and farmland are turning into sandy land. The acreage of desert land in China has reached 2.62 million square kilometers and is expanding at a speed of more than 2,400 square kilometers each year.

  Although China has made many notable achievements in safeguarding its agricultural environment, it still has a long way to go to stop the ongoing deterioration caused by industrial pollution. To prevent the agriculture environment from worsening, the Ministry of Agriculture is working with other government departments to draft the Regulations on Agriculture Environment Protection and revise the Law of Grassland.

  China will also vigorously promote ecological agriculture. The number of its ecological agriculture counties will be expanded to 300 by 2010 from the current 200. Efforts will also be made to improve the condition of grassland, and by 2010, the acreage of improved grassland will reach 60 million hectares. (China Daily 06/05/2000)

  Beijing Tackles Serious Water Shortage 

  Beijing is now experiencing its fourth water shortage in the past half a century. Last year the city received only 349 mm of precipitation, accounting for only 60 % of the normal amount. As a result, the 16 large and medium-sized reservoirs around Beijing were short 800 million cubic meters of water, enough for all Beijing residents to use for over a year.

  The Beijing municipal government discussed 26 measures suggested to deal with the water shortage problem. Measures discussed include using more recycled water and making full use of other water resources like rainfall and flood. Beijing will make the Guanting Reservoir in suburban Beijing another major water source as soon as possible. At present the city's drinking water mainly comes from underground water and the Miyun Reservoir. Other measures include building five new sewage plants, adopting water-saving taps and banning illegal car wash services. (China Daily 06/30/2000)

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