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Newsletter (February)


  CCICED Enters into New Phase with Improved Structure and Mechanisms 

  The 3rd Phase of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) convened its 1st meeting on 23-25 November 2002 in Beijing. Present at the meeting were 35 international and Chinese Council members, 15 Task Force (TF) co-chairs, five specially invited guests and 53 observers. The meeting was chaired in rotation by four vice-chairs of the Council, including Xie Zhenhua, Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA); Len Good, President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Qu Geping, Chairman of the Environmental and Natural Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) and Mans Lonnroth, former State Secretary, Ministry of the Environment of Sweden.

  Vice Premier Wen Jiaobao, also Chair of the CCICED, sent his congratulatory message to the meeting. He noted that the Council is a think-tank body that provides the Chinese Government with policy advice. It has made many valuable recommendations and suggestions to China since its inception 11 years ago, and undertaken a lot of research work. Part of the achievements made in China in the area of environment and development can be attributed to the Council. Recently concluded 16th Party Congress drew a blue-print for China's development for the next 20 years. Whether environmental issues can be effectively addressed and whether sustainable development can be carried forward largely depend on government policies and actions. China is now facing a critical time when the Council can play a significant role.

  The meeting approved Terms of Reference (TOR) of CCICED for Phase III (2002-2007), Rules of Procedure, new Council members, and Task Forces (TFs) and their co-chairs. The new TOR and the Rules of Procedure identified several major changes in the Council. These include: 1) Two vice-chairs, Xie Zhenhua and Len Good, have been appointed as executive vice-chairs; 2) One international member, Mans Lonnroth, has been added as Vice-Chair of the Council; 3) The number of Council members has been reduced from 59 to 41; 4) More flexible Task Forces which have fixed time and budget and can better respond to Chinese priorities have replaced previous Working Groups; and 5) Two lead experts have been appointed, who will assess and make recommendations on the proposals for the establishment of new Task Forces; write Issues Papers and assist in drafting China Council recommendations to the Chinese government during the AGM.

  Participants had a general debate on "Environment, Development and Governance: Response to WSSD." Mr. Maurice Strong and Mr. Klaus Topfer delivered keynote speeches at the meeting. They gave an update on the World Summit on Sustainable Development and responses by many countries, and the international trends in sustainable development.

  Participants reviewed and discussed two issues papers prepared by Lead Experts. The international issues paper by Arthur Hanson summarized international perspectives on key issues that may be particularly significant for China, domestically or in its international relations. It noted that China's progress towards sustainable development is of interest to all parts of the world but particularly valuable to developing countries. In the years ahead China can be expected to serve as a major source of advice, services and technology for other countries, and China seems to be well positioned to take a global leadership role in sustainable development. The Chinese issues paper by Chinese experts under the leadership of Sun Honglie stressed that a new type of resource/environmental management institution and relevant mechanisms would be needed to cope with the multi-challenge of environment in the new century and to realize comprehensive goals of sustainable development. The paper recommended that a coordinating mechanism (such as an environment and resource protection committee) be set up at the national level (e.g., under the leadership of the State Council), and that environmental strategies be adjusted. It also emphasized the necessity to work from the cause of resource/environmental problems, to set up an environmental friendly social-economic system through institutional reform and policy innovation, to encourage public participation in decision-making, and to further strengthen international cooperation.

  At the meeting, presentations were also made by local officials from Liaoning Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Fujian Province and Guangxi Autonomous Region on trial implementation of circular economy, ecological environmental protection and sustainable development in western development.

  In general debate session on CCICED Phase III, some participants noted that according to China's plans for the next two decades, China's economy will be doubled by 2010 and quadrupled by 2020. The implications of this are key to development and environment of China and the world, and needed to be addressed. As such, moving from the traditional development mode to sustainable development is significantly important.

  The meeting also reviewed the Work Report of CCICED Secretariat by Secretary-General Zhang Kunmin, the Report on TF Co-Chairs Coordination Meeting by Arthur Hanson, and the reports by four Task Forces including Forestry and Grasslands, Environmental Economics, Bio-Security and WTO and Environment. Issues including China's increased imports of timber, alien species invasion, and pursuing of sustainable development in the process of China's goal to achieve a prosperous society have drawn a lot of attention. Many valuable recommendations were put forward, which, along with recommendations submitted by the TFs, were carefully discussed and integrated into the recommendations to the Chinese Government.

  In his closing speech, Minister Xie concluded: 1) CCICED is a high-level advisory body to the Chinese Government, and continuously plays a unique and important role in the area of environment and development during a crucial period when China is building a prosperous society; 2) CCICED's work will focus on the goals set at the recently concluded 16th Chinese Communist Party Congress and the principles set at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and put forward policy recommendations on how to coordinate the relationship between environment and development, enhance the capacity for pursuing sustainable development and avoid existing and potential risks; 3) The emphasis of the new TFs will be placed on the implementation level and on providing policy options to the Chinese Government; 4) CCICED will, based on China's real situation, work to address the environmental problems in China and to make contributions to global sustainable development.

  After the formal session, Premier Zhu Rongji met with Chinese and international Council members. He noted that the Government of China pays high importance to the role of the China Council. The Council has made some most valuable recommendations to the Government of China and provided a lot of assistance in China's environmental protection and sustainable development. Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio ten years ago, China has increasingly attached importance to environment and development. He pointed out that controlling "sand storm" is by no means an issue solely for China. It needs support from the international community. China is now cooperating with Japan and Korea in "sand storm" control. China has been actively engaged in controlling air pollution and has ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. To prepare for the Olympics to be held in 2008, Beijing has come up with its plans to control air pollution and the implementation has already begun. He pointed out that there will be problems in the process when China is improving its environment and promoting sustainable development. However, China will continuously work hard to improve its environment and to pursue the path of sustainable development. He hopes that CCICED will continue to make contributions to China's environment and development.


  Four Task Forces reported at the 2002 meeting of CCICED (III), including TFs on Forestry and Grasslands, Environmental Economics, Bio-Security and WTO and Environment. Five TFs will report to the 2003 Council meeting, including TFs on Energy Strategy and Technology, Development of Environmental Protection Industry, Enterprises' Development and Environment, Urban Environmental Infrastructure Financing Mechanism and Circular Economy and Cleaner Production. Four TFs to report at 2004 Council meeting are being established, including TFs on Environment and Natural Resources Pricing and Taxation, WTO and Environment, Non-Point Agriculture Pollution, and River Basin Management.

  Task Force on Development of Environmental Protection Industry 

  The TF on Development of Environmental Protection Industry held its first meeting in Beijing from 10-12 April 2002, and it was chaired by Wang Yangzhu and Rudi Kurz. Participants reviewed the development of China's environmental industry and the background for the establishment of the TF. Details of the TF's work plan and activities were carefully discussed. Surveys of environmental protection industry in China and overseas will be undertaken. Subsequently, the TF will present suggestions on how to facilitate the development of China's environmental protection industry.

  Right after the first meeting, the TF organized a seminar on strategies for the development of China's environmental protection industry in Beijing on June 24-26, 2002. At the meeting, eleven sub-projects made their reports. Participants discussed those 11 sub-projects and defined the preliminary contents for the overall report of the TF to be submitted to the Council.

  Task Force on Enterprises' Development and Environment 

  The TF held its first meeting on December 10, 2001, which was chaired by Zhang Ningyan and Bjorn Stigson. The meeting approved the institutional organization of the TF and its members. It also defined the mandates and objectives of the TF. Participants discussed the work program for the TF and their research priorities based on presentations made at the meeting, and elaborated on the state of environment in China, outstanding environmental problems faced by Chinese enterprises, as well as approaches and methodology the TF should take.

  The recond meeting of the TF was held on July 17, 2002 and was attended only by the Chinese members. Participants included representatives from sectoral enterprises associations (such as building and materials, light industry – paper mills and wine-making, chemical industry, petroleum and petro-chemical industry). They reviewed the progress made since the establishment of the TF, and encouraged various sectoral enterprise associations to actively participate in the work of the TF. The Chinese experts were asked to complete a survey of China's enterprises based on their experience, which would reflect an overall perspective of a national dimension and geographic distribution. It was recommended that ISO 14000 and 9000 be applied to help enterprises increase competitiveness and gain international market access.

  Task Force on Urban Environmental Infrastructure Financing Mechanism 

  The first TF meeting was held in Beijing on July 2-3, 2002 and it was chaired by Zhang Kun and Hidefumi Imura.

  The meeting covered four major agenda items: 1) research scope and research focuses for the TF; 2) Chinese policies regarding financial mechanisms for urban infrastructure and relative areas; 3) current status of commercialization of environmental protection facilities at the local level in China; and 4) international experience in environmental infrastructure financing mechanisms.

  The research scope for the TF mainly covers financing mechanisms for pollution control focusing on urban environmental infrastructure (water and solid waste treatment facilities) and pollution control for medium- and small-sized enterprises. The TF aims to analyze the current situation in China and submit practical and concrete recommendations to the Chinese Government on the planning and implementation of financial mechanisms for environmental protection that are applicable for China. The recommendations shall be useful not only for domestic and overseas enterprises, but also for donor countries and international organizations that are providing aid to China.

  Task Force on Circular Economy and Cleaner Production 

  The Chinese members of the TF held its first meeting in Beijing on July 7, 2002.

  Circular economy, also called material close economy or life cycle economy, advocates that economy should be constructed on the base of material recycling and thus the traditional development pattern with linear flows of resources-products-wastes should be replaced by a new one with circular flows of resources-products-resources. By combining cleaner production and comprehensive utilization of wastes, it can inspire cost-effective improvements and raise quality of life. Together with cleaner production, the implementation of circular economy is a key strategy for sustainable development in China.

  The participants reviewed experiences gained in the area of circular economy in Liaoning and Shanghai, and experiences gained in cleaner production in Taiyuan, Jiangsu and Liaoning.

  The TF aims to provide a guidance for long term strategies for circular economy and cleaner production in China, the further development of methodologies and tools for implementation of circular economy and cleaner production, and the mechanisms and systems for the wide adoption of circular economy and cleaner production strategies.

  The Task Force on Energy Strategy and Technology 

  The first meeting of the TF took place on December 10-11, 2002 in Beijing, chaired by Ni Weido and Thomas B. Johansson. Participants made special presentations on China's energy future, China's recent energy development and strategies including hydrogen transportation system, coal co-generation in coal-rich areas, and MARKEL model for China's energy development. The meeting also discussed the TF's future work plan, including its research plan and details for a large-scale conference to be held in May 2003. Participants also put forward suggestions on future research topics for the TF.


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