Home>News Center>CCICED Newsletter>2004

Newsletter (December)



  CCICED opened its 3rd Meeting of the 3rd Phase on 29 October 2004 in Beijing. The theme of the 3-day annual general meeting is "sustainable agriculture and rural development." Senior Chinese officials and experts from home and abroad attended the meeting at the invitation of Zeng Peiyan, Vice-Premier of China's State Council and Chairman of the China Council.

  On behalf of Chair Zeng Peiyan, Vice-Chair Xie Zhenhua presided over the opening ceremory and welcomed members and co-chairs of the Council, and the guest speakers invited to take part in this Meeting, as well as David Anderson, Canada's former Minister of the Environment.

  Addressing at the opening ceremony were Vice-Chair Xie Zhenhua, Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA); Vice-Chair Paul Thibault, President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Vice-Chair Mans Lonnroth, Former State Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Managing Director of the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, Sweden; and Vice-Chair Qu Geping, Former Chair of the National People's Congress (NPC) Environmental and Resources Protection Committee.

  "Currently, the top priority for the Chinese government is meeting the daunting challenges of sustainable agriculture and rural development," said Paul Thibault, Vice Chair of the CCICED and President of CIDA.

  Shortage in resources, ecological damage and environmental pollution has been impeding the sustainable development of agriculture, said Minister Xie. Nearly 70% of China's population live in rural areas and the national goal of a well-off society won't be reached if rural people don't gain access to opportunities for greater incomes. It will be meaningless for rural people to become wealthier if the environment in rural areas is not improved at the same time, Xie added.

  Minister Xie presided over keynote speeches by Professor Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba, Canada; and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Zhang Baowen, speaking on behalf of Minister Du Qinglin. Special Guests Len Good, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF); Vice Governor of Jiangxi Province Hu Zhengpeng; Resident Representative of UNDP to China Khalid Malik and Deputy Secretary General Kiytoka Akasaka of OECD also made speeches at the meeting.

  China has made impressive progress in its food production and has made a tremendous contribution to the world in the process. In 1997, China surpassed Japan's average per capita daily food availability. However, this remarkable achievement is based on unstable environmental foundations, said Professor Smil.

  He stressed three major concerns in China's agriculture development. The first is conservation of arable land. Once a fertile field is paved over to become a site for a new factory or highway, it is unlikely that these infrastructures would be removed and the space reclaimed as highly productive cropland.

  "My second concern is China's dependence on nitrogen fertilizers," said Smil. China applies nearly 30% of the world's nitrogen fertilizers though it cultivated land is less than 10 percent of the world's arable land.

  Smil's third concern is the effect of high semi-permanent and extensively distributed concentration of photochemical smog on China's crop fields, which influence agricultural output.

  Vice Minister of Agriculture Zhang Baowen said the Chinese government would pay more attention to orchestrating the development of rural and urban areas by giving more input and support to farming to achieve coordinated and sustained growth across the board.

  He also said that priority would be given to harmonizing agricultural growth, resource consumption and environmental protection in order to change the mode of economic growth.

  The Lead Export team presented an Issues Paper on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. The Issues Paper identified seven key issues related to Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in China (see Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development: Issues of Concern in this issue).

  Participants debated on "agricultural and rural sustainable development, and listened to the work report of the CCICED by Secretary-General and Vice Minister Zhu Guangyao, and the report on TF Co-Chairs Coordination Meeting by Lead Experts.

  Five Task Forces presented their research findings and recommendations. These are TFs on Agriculture and Rural Development; Integrated River Basin Management, Non-Point Agricultural Pollution Prevention, Protected Areas, and WTO and the Environment.

  During the three-day AGM, CCICED members and co-chairs met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and presented him the findings and recommendations of the Council. "The theme you have chosen this year - agriculture and sustainable development - is a very important one to us because it affects directly nine hundred million rural people and therefore it bears a direct relationship to most of China's modernization challenge," said Wen. He welcomed the recommendations of the CCICED on agriculture issues, which the Chinese government has given and will continue to give top priority.

  The meeting successfully closed in the afternoon of October 31st 2004. The next CCICED AGM will focus on Sustainable Urbanization and it will take place on November 18 - 22, 2005. In 2006, the theme of the AGM will tentatively be "Science-based Development and Xiaokang".


  In the Issues Paper entitled "Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development in the New Stage of Development: Preparing for the Future", the Lead Expert Group (LEG) stressed that China is a large, rural country, which is undergoing a fundamental transformation. The development of its rural economy and increasing efficiency of agriculture is of great importance in ensuring the rise of rural incomes, the maintenance of food security and the steady development of the national economy as a whole.

  After reviewing the Chinese government's commitment to rural development and the new stage of China's agricultural development, the LEG drew special attention to seven key issues regarding sustainable agriculture and rural development in China

  Food security and environmental security 

  Grain security is a concern again, due to arable land reduction and recent grain price rises. However, China needs a long-tem food security framework with less environmental costs.

  Farmers' income and rural labour migration 

  Off-farm work is the major source of income for rural population and a means for poverty reduction. However, current discriminatory policies and lack of job opportunities are major constraints. There is a need to reform the rural financing system and to reorient government functions.

  Rural public goods supplies and investment 

  At present there is not enough public investment on rural education, healthcare, and environmental conservation in rural areas. There is a need for rural financial restructuring and integrating fiscal resources to strengthen rural education, healthcare and environmental conservations.

  Rural governance and rural organizations 

  Existing rural governance institutions may not be suitable for needs of China's emerging market-oriented economy. Farmers have difficulty in market access. There is a need for new rural governance institutions and effective farmers' organizations. Rural civil societies such as rural economic co-operatives and farmers' professional associations might be the solution and should be encouraged.

  Rural environmental problems 

  Rural environmental management is not effective and rural environmental monitoring is not adequate. There is a need to better coordinate between agricultural and environmental policy, to increase investment in rural environmental management capacity, and to promote environmental friendly techniques and sustainable agricultural development.

  Ecological restoration, nature conservation and alternative livelihood 

  There is a conflict between environmental benefits and farmer' economic interests. Conditions favoring alternative livelihoods do not exist. Natural conservation and ecological restoration should be re-considered in the aspect of scale, time, location and approaches. There is a need to promote off-farm employment alternative livelihood of farmers in ecological restoration and natural conservation regions.

  Sustainable management of water and land resources 

  Shortage of water and land are major constraints in China's agricultural development. Careful management of water and land resources will be one of the major determinants of sustainability in China in the 21st Century. There is a need to establish a resource-saving agriculture, which requires the creation of new avenues of government macro-control, the harnessing of market forces, and the establishment of farmer rights aimed at increasing resource use efficiency through various measures. CHINESE PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF WORLD ECONOMY 

  Chinese President Hu Jintao urged that all political leaders and responsible business leaders should work together to achieve a sustainable development of the world economy. He made the call at the 12th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting taking place on November 20-21, 2004 in Santiago, Chile.

  A sustainable development of the world economy is a major issue of immediate and far-reaching significance. It bears on the current development of the countries and the future of entire mankind," the Chinese president told the Asia-Pacific Rim business leaders.

  "Mankind is faced with both grave challenges and rare opportunities for development. Given the circumstances, the only right option for us to take is cooperation geared to a win-win result, and the only goal for us to endeavor towards is sustainable development," said the Chinese president.

  He stressed that to advance the win-win co-operation for sustainable development, we should endeavour in the following areas:

  First, we should promote a healthy development of the developing countries and maintain a steady economic growth in the world. It is essential to first ensure the development of the developing countries. The developed countries should pay greater attention to the needs of the poor countries and make real efforts to accelerate their development, thus narrowing the widening North-South gap. Without this, there can be neither win-win co-operation nor sustainable development.

  Second, we should cultivate and act on a scientific mentality of development and strive for an all-round economic and social progress along with a comprehensive development of man. Practice shows that the concept of development adopted by a country usually has a major implication on the way it develops. Different concepts often lead to different results. We should take the comprehensive development of man as our objective, upholding the fundamental interests of the people, meeting their rising material and cultural needs and ensuring that they reap the benefits of development.

  Third, we should pursue economic development on the basis of resource conservation and build a circular economy. We should put in place a conservation-oriented management system throughout the process of exploitation, processing, distribution and consumption of resources with a view to building a resource effective national economy and a resource effective society.

  Fourth, we should step up economic and technical co-operation with the other countries and foster a fair and equitable environment for competition. We should broaden the scale of international co-operation, increase market access, ease restrictions on technology export, further liberalize trade and investment and remove all kinds of trade barriers. We should build an open and rule-based multilateral trading regime through equal-footed dialogue in the spirit of seeking common ground while putting aside differences. APEC should renew its commitment to the Bogor Goals, actively step up bilateral and regional free trade arrangements in keeping with WTO rules and APEC principles, and endeavour to accelerate economic growth in this region and increase the members' resilience to economic volatilities. "

  Finally, the Chinese president also noted that China is a large developing country with a strong sense of responsibility. We are ready to contribute our share in advancing win-win co-operation for sustainable development. A sound and rapidly growing Chinese economy serves the economic development of the region and that of the world at large.

  China will stick to the scientific concept of development which puts people first and strives for a balanced and sustainable development, focus on economic development and keep up reform and opening up to the outside world. We will continue to improve our market economic structure, step up economic and industrial restructuring, accelerate scientific and technological innovation and mobilize still greater material and intellectual resources from across society to push forward China's economic development.

Contact Us:

Address:5 Houyingfang Hutong,Xicheng District,Beijing 100035 P.R.Chinazip code:100035

Copyright © 2020 Secretariat of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. All Rights Reserved. Presented by China Daily.