VII. Taking Vigorous Action to Promote
International Cooperation in Environmental Protection
China consistently holds that economic development should be coordinated with environmental protection; protection of the environment is a common task for mankind, but the economically developed countries should take more responsibility in this respect. It always maintains that the strengthening of international cooperation should be based on respecting national sovereignty, the protection of the environment and the spurring of development can not be done without peace and stability in the world, and both practical interests of various countries and long-term interests of the world should be considered in handling environmental problems.
While a series of measures for solving its own environmental problems are being taken China has participated, actively and in a practical manner, in international cooperation in the environmental protection field and made sustained efforts to promote global environmental protection as a common task of mankind.
China supports and actively participates in the environmental activities launched by the UN organizations. China has been a member state of the successive UN Environment Program Governing Council and fruitful cooperation has been carried out between China and the UNEP. In 1979 China joined the UNEP's ``Global Environment Monitoring System,'' ``International Registry of Potentially Toxic Chemicals'' and ``International Environmental Information System.'' In 1987 a head-office for research and training in international desertification control was established by the UNEP in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province. China has passed its experiences and techniques on controlling desertification and building ecological agriculture on to many countries through the UNEP. By 1996 a total of 18 units or persons in China had won the ``Global 500'' title awarded by the UNEP. Good cooperative relationships have been forged between China and the UN Development Program, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other international organizations. At present, an effective mode of cooperation for the use and management of multilateral funds of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Global Environmental Facility as well as loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank has been established. This has played an active role in promoting prevention and control of China's pollution and in improving environmental management ability. China is a member of the UN Committee on Sustainable Development, set up in 1993, and has played a constructive role in this high-level political forum on the global environment and development. China has kept a close cooperative relationship with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and other relevant organizations, and has made contributions to environmental causes and the development of the Asian and Pacific regions through participating in the Northeast Asia environmental cooperation, the Northwest Pacific Action Plan, and the Regional Coordinating Unit for the East Asian Seas Action Plan.
China has actively developed bilateral cooperation in the field of environmental protection. Over the past ten-odd years China has successively signed bilateral environmental protection cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding with the United States, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Canada, India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Germany, Australia, Ukraine, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Exchanges and cooperation have been carried out in environmental planning and management, global environment problems, pollution control and pre"ivention, protection of forests and wild animals and plants, marine environment, climate change, air pollution, acid rain and sewage disposal and important achievements have been made in these respects. China has also taken part in the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment, as proposed by the United States.
In order to promote further international cooperation in the environment and development field, China set up the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development in April 1992, composed of more than 40 leading specialists and well-known public figures from China and other countries, to be responsible for submitting propo"isals and advisory opinions to the Chinese government. The Council has put forward valuable concrete proposals on energy and the environment, biodiversity protection, ecological agriculture, resources accounting and the pricing system, public participation and the implementation of the environment laws and regulations, which have aroused the attention and response of the Chinese government.
China took an active part in the preparations for and in attending the UN Conference on Environment and Development. It made great efforts for the smooth convening of the Conference. China has taken part in all the preparatory meetings of the Conference and played a constructive role in discussions and negotiations concerning international environment conventions. In June 1991 the Ministerial Conference of Developing Countries on Environment and Development, proposed by China and held in Beijing, was participated in by 41 developing countries, and the Beijing Declaration published by it set forth the principled stand of the developing countries on environment and development, making substantial contributions to the preparation of the UN Conference. In line with the requirements of the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Environment and Development, China worked out the Report on the Environment and Development of the People's Republic of China, which gave an overall exposition on the current situation of China's environment and development, put forward strategic measures for coordinated development of China's environment and economy and set forth China's principled stand on the problems of the global environment, which have received favorable comments from the international community. In June 1992 Song Jian, state councilor and director of the Environmental Protection Commission of the State Council, led a delegation from the Chinese government to the UN Conference on Environment and Development. China's Premier Li Peng was present at the summit meeting of the Conference and made an important speech proposing the strengthening of international cooperation in the field of environment and development, winning positive comments from the international community. On behalf of the Chinese government, Li Peng took the lead in signing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diver"isity, exerting a positive influence on the meeting.
Since 1979 China has signed a series of international environmental conventions and agreements, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (revised version), Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on Combating Desertification, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat, and 1972 London Convention.
China always conscientiously carries out its responsibilities for international environmental conventions and agreements which it has signed, approved or joined. Under the guidance of China's Agenda 21, in order to conscientiously undertake its promised duties China has worked out some important documents and state programs or action plans, including the 21st Century Agenda on Environmental Protection, Action Plan for the Conservation of Biodiversity, Action Plan for Forestry in the 21st Century Agenda, and the 21st Century Marine Agenda. The Chinese government approved the State Plan for Gradually Eliminating Sub"istances That Deplete the Ozone Layer which put forward a plan and policy framework for eliminating controlled materials as well as measures for controlling or banning the production and extensive use of substances which deplete the ozone layer. In July 1994, with the support of the UN Development Program, the Chinese government successfully held in Beijing the High-level International Round-Table Conference on Agenda 21, which contributed to the promotion of the nation's sustainable development. To provide legal basis for preventing environmental pollution by the importation of wastes, in November 1995 China published the Emergency Announcement on Strictly Controlling Trans-Boundary Movement of Wastes to China, and in March 1996 it published the Provisional Regulations on Environmental Protection and Management of Wastes' Importation.