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Newsletter (September)


  CCICED Announces New Chair, International Vice-Chair and Secretary-General

  In the wake of the reorganization of the Chinese Government, Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan has been appointed as Chairman of the China Council to replace former Vic e Premier Wen Jiabao. Other changes in the Council include the replacement of Len Good with the new CIDA president Mr. Paul Thibault as international vice-chairman, and Zhang Kunmin with Vice-Minister Zhu Guangyao of SEPA as Secretary-General of the Council. There are also some changes in the Council membership with some retirement and new additions of Mr. Zephirin Diabre, Deputy Administrator of United Nations Development Program, Ms. Catherine Day, Director General of DG Environment, European Commission, Mr. An Min, Vice Minister of Ministry of Commerce, China, and Mr. Zhou Wenzhong, Vice Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

  CCICED Plans Its Second Meeting of the Third Phase 

  The 2nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of CCICED Phase III will be held in Beijing Hotel, Beijing from October 30 to November 1, 2003. The theme of this AGM is "Establishing a Well-off Society and a New Sustainable Industrialization Mode".

  Five task forces will present final reports to this AGM: they are Task Forces on 1) Energy Strategies and Technologies, 2) Strategy and Mechanism for Promoting Circular Economy and Cleaner Production in China, 3) Financial Mechanism for Environmental Protection, 4) Development of Environmental Protection Industry, and 5) Enterprises' Development and Environment.

  The AGM will also hold a general debate on the theme.

  A joint meeting of the task forces reporting in 2004 will be held during the AGM, including Task Forces on 1) Integrated River Basin Management, 2) Non-Point Agriculture Pollution Prevention, 3) WTO and Environment, 4) Protected Ecology Areas, and 5) Agriculture and Rural Development, all around the theme of "Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development for the 11th Five-Year Plan".

  China Releases Action Plan for Sustainable Development in the Early 21st Century

  To facilitate implementation of the sustainable development strategy in China, the Government of China released the Action Plan for Sustainable Development in the Early 21st Century (hereinafter the "Action Plan") in July 2003.

  China has maintained sustained, rapid and healthy growth of its economy. The central government has greatly increased spending in ecological conservation and environmental protection. However, China still faces big challenges in implementing sustainable development, including the conflict between rapid economic growth and increasing consumption of resources and ecological deterioration; widening disparities between different regions in social and economic development; constraints posed by a large population and scarce resources; and inconsistencies between some existing laws, regulations and policies and actual needs for sustainable development.

  The Action Plan calls for major measures to implement the sustainable development strategy in China in the early 21st century, including:

  Strengthen leadership - Governments at all levels should carry out sustainable development strategy conscientiously, incorporating the tasks listed in the Action Plan into their routine work agendas. The policy of holding chief executives responsible for population, resources and the environment should be continued and faithfully implemented;

  Create an investment regime that favors sustainable development through economic leverages;

  Provide strong support for promotion of sustainable development through scientific advances and advocacy;

  Improve legislation on sustainable development;

  Select key regions and fields as model projects; and

  Strengthen international cooperation to create a sound external environment for sustainable development at home.

  China, Canada Sign a New Memorandum of Understanding 

  Xie Zhenhua, Minister of SEPA, and David Anderson, Minister of Environment Canada, signed a new memorandum of understanding for environmental cooperation between China and Canada on September 2, 2003.

  Since the first memorandum was signed in March of 1992, both countries have renewed it twice. During the period, the cooperation in environment between the two countries has achieved new progress and success. China and Canada have not only cooperated in research on sustainable development, environmental education and public awareness, but also have exchanged high-level visits and projects technical exchange and cooperation. The results and effects of such cooperation are among the most successful in China's bilateral cooperation with a foreign country.

  Task Force Updates 

  Task Force on Environmental and Natural Resources Pricing and Taxation (ENRPT) convened an inception workshop in Beijing on September 19, 2003. Main points discussed at the workshop included the scope of the TF, the definition of environmental taxation, Chinese fiscal reform, major tasks of the TF and cooperation with other TFs of the CCICED.

  The ENRPT TF will focus on 1) identifying areas in the economy where there is significant divergence between price and social marginal cost (which includes environmental damage costs); and 2) recommending policies to close the gap between price and social marginal cost in order to improve environmental quality and encourage sound management of natural resources. There were four major tasks on the TF's works plan, including policy review; poverty study; air quality study; and cooperation with other TFs.

  Task Force on Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) held its first meeting in Beijing on June 5, 2003. The meeting reviewed the TF progress since March 2003 when it was formally established and discussed the TF work plan including meeting in the Netherlands and a study tour to the Rhine River in fall, an international symposium and a study tour to the Yangtze River Basin, and a number of river basin case studies.

  The main objective of the TF is to provide policy recommendations to top leaders of China's State Council on how to implement an integrated approach to deal with river basin issues and restore the balance of nature and people in the Yangtze River regions. The TF has received joint support from Chinese Government and WWF.

  The TF also aims to promote the maximization of public welfare of river basins in China through better governance of water resources, ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation, and environment management through information sharing, demonstration and public participation.

  Task Force on WTO and Environment organized a two-day pre-Cancun informal meeting in Beijing on August 24-25, 2003. The purpose of the meeting was to enhance the understanding of the trade and environmental issues at the WTO Fifth Ministerial Conference in Cancun. The participants reviewed and exchanged views on the current status of the Doha Round of negotiations on trade and environment. They discussed the three negotiating issues mandated by the Doha Ministerial Declaration (DMD) and the three non-negotiating issues that the DMD instructed the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) to examine.

  The main objective of the task force is to continue to assist China in developing and implementing long-term comprehensive and integrated trade and environmental policies and measures that support sustainable development, in the context of China as a WTO member. It has two priority areas. The first one involves an integrated assessment of the environmental consequences of China's WTO accession with a view to developing appropriate strategies and policy measures to support sustainable trade. The second one is to enhance the capacity to address environmental issues in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.

  Task Force on Enterprises' Development and Environment organized a study tour to Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland from March 30 to April 14. The study tour aimed to conduct field visits to four industrial sectors that have been chosen by the task force as its focal studies, and to learn international experiences in pollution control in these four sectors. These four sectors are cement, paper mills, sugar-making and petro-chemicals. During this period, the third meeting of the task force took place in Switzerland.

  Task Force on Development of Environmental Protection Industry convened a symposium in Beijing on the development of environmental protection industry on March 18-20, 2003. Participants listened to and discussed 17 presentations made by 14 international and national speakers on various topics related to the development of environmental protection industry. The participants also reviewed and elaborated on recommendations on promoting the environmental protection industry in China.

  Task Force on Financial Mechanism for Environmental Protection had its second meeting in Beijing on March 18-19, 2003. The meeting reviewed the TF progress of its research projects, findings and recommendations. The research output of the TF would consist the following four parts: thematic research reports, a task force report, a policy recommendation report, and policy recommendations.

  Task Force on Strategy and Mechanism for Promoting Circular Economy and Cleaner Production in China convened its second meeting in Shanghai on February 20-23, 2003. Participants listened to the progress reports on the implementation of sustainable development strategies and cleaner production in Shanghai, and Shanghai Three-Year Action Plan for Environment Protection. A Circular Economy Symposium was also held during the meeting. Issues discussed included production, consumption and sustainable development; trends and challenges in promoting circular economy; measures and efforts made by the Japanese government in establishing a circular economy society.

  Task Force on Energy Strategies and Technologies held its second meeting at University of Princeton in February, and held a TF meeting and a workshop in Beijing in August 2003. After the meeting, the co-chairs of the task force met with Mr. Zhu Guangyao, the new Secretary General of CCICED. They made a report on the work of the task force, the results of the workshop and the plan for developing the task force's recommendations to the Council.

  News in Brief 

  The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment Takes Effect 

  The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) issued by SEPA took effect on September 1, 2003, which aims at avoiding side effects of construction projects and promoting coordinated development of economy, society and environment. SEPA has also issued rules for managing specialist lists for EIA. SEPA will manage specialist list of EIA at the national level, and local administrative authorities will manage the local list.. (Source: People's Daily Online 09/02/2003, and China Environment News 09/08/2003)

  China Issues Annual Report on Environment 

  Chinese SEPA issued its annual report on the state of the environment of 2002 on June 5, the Environment Day. The report indicated the overall state of the environment in 2002 remained unchanged compared with 2001. Pollution in rivers, lakes and seas, air pollution in cities and acid rain were still major problems across the country.

  Seven major rivers and tributaries in China have been polluted to varying degrees. Less than 30 percent of the seven river basins met water quality standards for Grades I to III. Air quality of about two-thirds Chinese cities failed to meet the air quality standard for Grade II, although soot, industrial dust and other pollution were reduced.

  According to the report, water quality in most of the marine areas in China maintained its good condition. The overall environment in China was not affected by radioactive pollution. (Source: People's Daily Online 06/06/2003)

  Beijing Drafts New Plan for 2008 Olympics 

  The city government has drafted a new five-year plan on environmental protection for 2003-2007, aiming to clean up the environment and reduce air pollution to ensure a clean environment for the 2008 Olympic Games.

  One major step is reducing dependence on coal. By 2007, the city plans to supply five billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, pipelined from China's western region, and compared with 1.8 billion in 2002. Other measures to reduce coal consumption include increasing electricity production and the use of clean energy.

  Stricter standards on vehicle emissions will also be introduced in the year 2005. The city's emission standards are now in line with those adopted by European Union countries in 1996. The city will also expand its public transportation network to include a 200-kilometer track transportation system and some 18,000 buses. It is also the city's plan to move more than 200 polluting factories outside the fourth ring road encircling the city.

  Air pollution resulting from the use of coal, vehicle emissions and dust from construction sites are the leading environmental problems in Beijing. The average density of inhalable particles, a key indicator of urban air pollution, remains 165 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing, 65 micrograms above the national standards. (Source: People's Daily Online 07/03/2003)

  Jiangsu to Invest Heavily to Clean-up Huaihe River 

  Jiangsu Province will invest 7.91 billion yuan (US$953 million) by the end of 2005 in 82 pollution-control projects aimed to clean up the Huaihe River.

  These planned projects are expected to ensure that water quality at the artery and main branches of the river is improved to the standard set by the government. They cover treatment of sewage, garbage and industrial pollutants and pollution caused by water damming. They also aim to ensure supply of drinking water and ban the sale and use of phosphoric products. The province will raise money through various non-governmental and industrial channels as well as from overseas to enhance local efforts in pollution control of the river.

  Qingdao to Clean up for Olympic Games 

  Qingdao, a beautiful coastal city 870 kilometres to the southeast of Beijing, is a venue for some events for 2008 Olympic Games. The city government has decided to clean up its environment and upgrade its facilities for the Olympic Games. It has drafted a plan and put aside money in a special budget for this purpose. This comprehensive plan aims to reduce air, water and waste pollution. The implementation of the plan will cost 200 million US dollars annually, approximately 3 percent of the city's annual gross domestic product (GDP).

  Shanghai Sets Aside Huge Investment for Improving Environment 

  Shanghai has launched a three-year action plan which includes 300 environmental protection projects and will cost 70 billion yuan (approximately 8.44 billion US dollars). The municipality will set aside three percent of its GDP on environmental protection in the coming years.

  By the time the World Expo is held in Shanghai in 2010, all the main indicators for environmental protection of the city will meet the standards set by the World Health Organization. The city government is working out an all-round plan for Shanghai to become an ecologically-friendly city by the year 2020.

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