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Newsletter (September)



  CCICED Releases Self-Assessment Report 

  The CCICED Secretariat Canadian Office and Secretariat Head Office has recently released a joint self-assessment report. The purpose of the self assessment is to take stock of the achievements made by the CCICED and to identify possible improvements for the future.

  Based on input from Council members, working group participants, secretariat staff and Chinese media and NGOs, the self assessment report concludes that the Council functions effectively in terms of its role, structure, composition and operations. Its most tangible result has been its recommendations to the Chinese government, many of which have been adopted or incorporated in China's regulatory process. The structure of the Council is sound and flexible, ensuring the recommendations reach China's effective decision-makers, although some fine-tuning is recommended to increase overall effectiveness. Due to its usefulness, other international agencies have also stepped in with substantial commitments.

  CCICED's expert working groups are also functioning effectively. The most visible results are the annual reports and recommendations to the Council. Another key result of the working groups is the dissemination of key information through workshops, seminars and publications. More recently, working groups have developed demonstration projects which contribute greatly to the adoption of important policies in China including cleaner production, sustainable grassland management, "green taxation" and renewable energy use.

  The consensus from all participants is that the Council should continue beyond Phase II, in order to build on the results achieved, says the report. Various suggestions are made regarding Council focus or operational logistics in order to make the Council more effective. Among these, a review of current membership of the Council and of its working groups is recommended. Some participants expressed the view that Council fundraising should become more professional. Other suggestions involve improved communications and functioning of the Council Secretariat.

  The self-assessment was undertaken at the request of the Canadian International Development Agency, one of the major funders of the CCICED. Consultants in Canada and China were hired to assist with the self-assessment.

  Head of Canadian Secretariat visits China 

  Professor Earl Drake, Project Director of CCICED Secretariat Canadian Office arrived in Wuxi in May to attend the meeting of WG on Trade and Environment. Then he went to Beijing for the meeting of WG on Energy Strategies and Technologies, and the International Workshop on Strategy for Development of China's Environmental Protection Industry. He also discussed, with the Secretariat Head Office, the 2000 CCICED annual meeting and the preparation of the establishment of the Task Force on Forest and Grassland in connection with China's great development of the west.

  Secretariat Head Office visits Canada 

  The delegation from the CCICED Secretariat Head Office, headed by Secretary General Mr. Zhang Kunmin, left Beijing for Vancouver on June 26. The purpose of the visit was to discuss with Mr. Good, new President of CIDA and Vice-Chair of CCICED, issues concerning further cooperation on CCICED. The delegation also had intensive discussions with the Canadian office on "Report of Self-Assessment of CCICED Project (first draft)" and the preparation of the 2000 CCICED annual meeting.


  The newly established Task Force on Forest and Grassland held its first meeting in Beijing on July 18-19, 2000. The purpose of the meeting is to review issues China is now facing in the area of forest and grassland, policies that have been implemented so far and the work program for the task force during the next two years.

  The meeting was chaired by Shen Guofang, Chinese Co-Chair, and Uma Lele, International Co-Chair. It was attended by eleven members (six Chinese and five international), four advisors and other representatives from the Chinese government, international organizations and research institutions.

  Presentations made at the meeting include the implementation of the natural forest conservation program in China, current development of grassland in China, western development strategies, and restoration of forest from land reclamation in western provinces and research activities and findings on natural forest conservation and reforestation. Participants discussed issues on adequate formulation and effective implementation of policies, social and economic evaluation of large conservation projects, and synthesis and dissemination of research results.

  The task force report to the annual meeting of the CCICED and the future work program were also discussed at the meeting. It was decided that a draft of the report and the work proposal for the next two years would be completed by August 15, and the final documents would be submitted to the Council by the middle of October.

  The Working Group on Environmental Economics had its forth meeting of Phase II in Xining on July 24-27. The meeting reviewed current research projects on green taxation and evaluation of environmental damage, both involved large efforts. The research teams were working on the CGE model (computable general equilibrium model), a very complex econometric model. Substantial progress had been achieved, and the results were debriefed at the meeting.

  One of the outstanding issues discussed regarding green taxation was SO2 tax. The current fees for SO2 emissions is RMB200 yuan per ton, while the cost for SO2 removal is RMB1,500 yuan per ton by using flue gas desulphurization and RMB 500 yuan per ton by coal washing. It is rather obvious that emission fees for SO2 should be raised. Some participants suggested that the emission change for SO2 should be set at least RMB 800 yuan per ton, while others suggested up to 1,500 or 2,000 yuan per ton.

  Many previous studies reached various conclusions on the economic cost of environmental damage, ranging from 3% to 13% of GDP depending on different definitions of damage caused by human activities and on different methodologies. The current study aimed to build on experience from previous studies and to improve them. The major steps could be to establish a standard baseline for comparison, then to identify physical damages, and finally to convert them into monetary terms. Other detailed methodological problems were also discussed including the determination of price, dynamic or static comparison, application of marginal loss and integration of them.

  Professor Mao Yushi from the Working Group on Energy attended the meeting. Discussions took place on possible joint recommendations by the WG on Environmental Economics, the WT on Energy and the WG on Transportation. Although final agreements on the joint recommendations did not materialize at the meeting, this represents a first step in cooperation among related working groups.

  The Working Group on Sustainable Agriculture undertook a field study tour to Hunan and Jiangxi provinces from May 1 to 8. It also convened an international workshop on integrated resources management and sustainable agriculture development in Nanchang on May 9-10, 2000.

  The tour to Hunan took place on May 1-3 during which members visited the Bamboo Garden in Taojiang County, Taoyuan Ecological Research Station, WWF demonstration project for wetland restoration in Hanshou, the irrigation and drainage system in Ziyang, and fruit and tea farms in Wangcheng. Local government officials and academics also joined the study tour. During the tour, participants listened to presentations on integrated resources management in South China and agricultural structure changes in Hunan Province. On May 4, 2000, a seminar on integrated resources management and sustainable agriculture development in Hunan Province was held.

  The tour to Jiangxi Province was from May 5 to 8. Members visited Qianyangzhou Ecological Research Station, Wentian Orchard, Fuhai Ecological Agricultural Development Company, Liuliang Black Bone Chicken Farm, Yintan Ecological Research Station, and Niequao Sustainable Agricultural technical Extension Station. During the tour, the deputy governor of Jiangxi made a report on integrated resources management and sustainable agricultural development in Jiangxi Province.

  An international workshop on integrated resources management and sustainable agriculture development in South China was held in Nanchang. Thirty-seven participants attended the workshop. Fourteen speakers made presentations on various topics on integrated resources management and sustainable development. It was decided that the workshop proceedings would be published before the CCICED meeting in late October.

  Following the workshop, a working meeting of the working group was convened on May 10-11.

  The Working Group on Biodiversity held its working group meeting and a Workshop on Biodiversity Conservation in Sichuan on July 23 - 28 in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province. The participants included working group members, representatives from the China Council Secretariat, Sichuan government officials from provincial, municipal and county levels, IUCN, WWF, Hong Kong Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden, Hong Kong TRAFFIC East Asia, British Fauna and Flora International, Green Voice Environmental Solutions, American Zoo Association, Atlanta Zoo of USA and officials from British Embassy and Norwegian Embassy in Beijing, and others. They visited Wanglang Nature Reserve and Reforestation in Pingwu, Wolong Reserve, Qingchengshan Reserve and other reserves. One of the key issues dealt with is the inspection of the trial area for returning farm land to forestry.


  China implemented its newly revised Air Pollution Prevention and Control on September 1, 2000. This is the second time China has amended this law since its enactment in 1987. The 1987 law played a major role in preventing and controlling air pollution in the nation. However, with China's rapid economic development, trends in air pollution became increasingly serious. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress amended the Law in early April this year with an aim to strengthen pollution control, address new and critical air pollution issues, and reinforce enforcement. The amendment contains a number of important additions and revisions.

  One of the emphases of the new law is to control air pollution caused by burning coal. The Law provides that governments at various levels should draw plans to phase out the use of coal and to encourage using natural gas, liquefied gas, electricity or other clean energy sources instead.

  Another emphasis is to strengthen air pollution control in key cities. These key cities will be required to meet the national standards within a certain time. Other emphases include to control dust from construction sites and develop clean energy and air pollution control technologies.

  Major revisions are made in five aspects: 1) prohibit emissions exceeding national standards, and make such emissions an illegal act; 2) establish a legal binding regime of total control of air pollutants and a system of air pollutant emission permits, both of which are previously only administrative mechanisms; 3) reform the emission charge system reflecting a shift from charge based on concentration of pollutants from particular sources to based on the total volume of pollutants emitted to air, and a shift from only those whole emissions exceeding national standards pay to those who emit pay; 4) turn the previous administrative order to clean up pollution within a set time into a legal means; and 5) reinforce enforcement and make penalties stiffer. Penalties for causing serious air pollution incidents could be as high as RMB 500,000 yuan.

  In the words of Qu Geping, Chairman of the Environmental and Natural Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress, "if the new provisions are fully implemented, by 2010 total pollution emissions will be kept at the level of 1995."


  China to Strengthen Biosafety Enforcement 

  China signed the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafey on August 8, 2000, becoming the 70th signatory of the Protocol since it was open for signature on May 15, 2000.

  To implement the Cartagena Protocol, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), in conjunction with six other relevant departments, has formulated the "National Biosafety Framework", which outlines the policy framework, the regulatory regime and measures for capacity building. As a first step, SEPA will set up a national monitoring and technical support system and formulate Chinese laws and regulations on biosafety.

  Over the past decade, China has made great progress in developing genetically-modified organisms. So far 22 genetically-modified organisms have been developed, ranging from insects to virus-resistant crops and trees. China ranks fourth in the world in terms of total acreage planted with experimental or commercialized genetically-modified crops. (China Environment News, 08/29/2000)

  SEPA Names Heavy SO2 Polluters 

  SEPA has taken steps to tighten control work of two major pollutants&emdash;acid rain and SO2&emdash;in the designated control zones. It has made it a priority to control SO2 from companies whose annual SO2 emissions exceed 5,000 tons. To put heavy polluters under public scrutiny, SEPA made public the 41 coal-burning power plants in 13 provinces that did not meet the national emission standards.

  Beijing Pledges Green Olympics 2008 

  The Beijing Olympic Committee and municipal Environmental Protection Bureau has recently announced a "Green Olympics Action Plan" as part of Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics Games. The municipality made 30 specific pledges, which aim to bring the quality of Beijing's environment up to developed-country standards by 2008. Beijing ranked second-worst out of 47 Chinese cities in a 1999 SEPA air pollution ranking. Many Beijing residents hope that hosting the Olympics could force the Beijing government to expel Capital Steel, which is responsible for one-fifth of Beijing's air pollution, from the city's western suburbs. (Beijing Evening News)

  China Formulates Tenth Five-Year Plan for Forests 

  The State Forestry Administration announced in July the completion of China's Tenth Five Year Plan and 2010 Long-Term Plan for Forests. During the Tenth Five-Year Plan period, emphasis will be placed on ecological conservation in the upper and middle reaches of Yangtze and Yellow rivers, and on prevention of desertification and sand control projects in key areas. Meanwhile, efforts will be made to restructure and upgrade the forest industry, to undertake major afforestation projects. By 2005, China's forest coverage will reach 11.5 million hectares, and its nature preserves will expand from 8% of the nation's total territory to 13% over the next five years. The Plan also aims to bring ecological deterioration along China's major river basins under control. (China Central Television 07/06/2000)

  EIA Public Review Launched in Tianjin 

  In early July, the Environmental Bureau of Tianjin started practicing a public review procedure in its environmental impact assessment review process. In the past, the review of EIA of construction projects was the sole responsibility of the Environmental Bureau. Due to lack of public participation in this process, some approved projects still caused environmental problems for nearby residents. In order to improve such a situation, Tianjin EB held a public review of EIA in July for an expansion project of a power supply company. Many residents expressed their concerns about the project, and public input as a result of the public review were incorporated into the environmental measures to be taken by the expansion project. The new initiative has been warmly welcome by local residents.

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