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High-level Council Charts China’s Path to Inclusive, Low-carbon Economy

2022-07-11Source: iisd

The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) convened its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the theme, ‘Building an Inclusive, Green and Low-carbon Economy.’ The meeting brought together leading sustainability experts from around the world to formulate recommendations for China’s environment and development policies and its contributions to global environmental governance processes.

CCICED’s 2022 AGM was held in Beijing, China, and online, from 13-16 June 2022. It marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Council. The AGM convened in plenary, and included a closed-door Executive Meeting. On 15 June, the CCICED Chief Advisors chaired an online event where CCICED released several policy and scoping studies and a study on gender mainstreaming.

The AGM also featured online open forums on: green digital transformation for sustainability; green supply chains; linking river basin management with natural resilience; ocean governance; building a green Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to boost global green and low-carbon transition; nature-based solutions and eco-benefits assessment; and synergizing economic growth, energy security, and climate action for steady growth. The outcomes of each of the open forums were reported back to the AGM.

Meeting in plenary, speakers recognized CCICED for its 30 years of efforts directed at seeking to “enable the international community to understand China, and support China’s engagement in the world.” They acknowledged the Council’s role as “the unique mechanism that provides a direct channel to Chinese leadership and decision makers,” and noted that since its inception, more than 1,000 Chinese and foreign experts have contributed to over 100 research projects, which have yielded over 300 policy recommendations.

Huang Runqiu, CCICED Executive Vice Chair and Minister of Ecology and Environment, China, recognized CCICED as a multilateral platform on environment and development, which has led to transformational change in China, international exchange of expertise, and mutual trust and friendship. He noted that CCICED is beginning its seventh phase, and called for innovation to serve as the main driving force to open up new pathways in support of sustainable development.

Zhou Shengxian, former Minister of Environmental Protection, China, said CCICED can provide comprehensive policy recommendations to support China’s journey into “a modern socialist society.”

Steven Guilbeault, CCICED Executive Vice Chair and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, said CCICED’s seventh phase is vital for tackling challenges related to decarbonization, biodiversity loss, and the greening of supply chains.

Inger Andersen, CCICED Vice Chair and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, highlighted Chinese leadership on: carbon peaking and neutrality; renewable energy and energy efficiency; the greening of the BRI; the circular economy; digitization; and financial systems for investment in healthy ecosystems.

Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum (WEF), said the Council has established itself not only as a champion of sustainable development but as a vital resource for forward-leaning policy guidance.

Achim Steiner, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), called for introspection after the shocks the world has experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. 

Kristin Halvorsen, Director, Center for International Climate Research (CICERO), urged strong implementation of climate policies while avoiding letting short-term solutions put long-term goals at risk.

Noting growing pressure to use security concerns to dilute, delay, or discard climate action, Scott Vaughan, CCICED International Chief Advisor, underscored the critical importance of effective implementation to achieve tangible outcomes.

Liu Shijin, CCICED Chinese Chief Advisor, noted consensus among AGM participants on the need to balance growth and security with long-term sustainable development and on the importance of prioritizing green investments. He stressed the need to: stabilize existing energy production while developing new installed capacity; disaggregate national targets for different cities and regions; and lay a solid foundation for future development by ensuring digital and green transitions are promoted at the same time.

Concluding the AGM, Han Zheng, Vice Premier of China and CCICED Chair, said China must balance a clean energy transition with secure energy supply by building new renewable energy capacity before eliminating coal power production, underscoring the need to double renewable energy production in five years. He thanked the Council for its three decades of support for China’s sustainable development, and said the AGM discussions “had inspired him to hope for a green and beautiful world.”

CCICED is a high-level international advisory body comprising members and experts from government, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, and social organizations from China and abroad. CCICED carries out comprehensive, cross-sectoral, and multidisciplinary research that integrates environmental, economic, and social concerns and draws on advanced international concepts, policies, technologies, and best practices, with the aim of advancing ecological civilization and sustainable development. 

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