World Bank officials offered a series of recommendations Friday on China's environmental protection work at a news conference in Beijing, focusing on the full mobilization of governmental resources.
Jemal-ud-din Kassum, vice-president of the World Bank for the East Asia and Pacific Region, noted at the conference that the country's governmental departments concerned with the environment, water resources, agriculture, forestry, finance, education and construction should further enhance cross-department co-ordination.
Overlaps and contradictions in responsibilities among governmental departments remains a big obstacle for the country's environmental protection work, according to Kassum.
The country's environmental problem "won't be resolved by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) working on its own."
"There needs to be a national mobilization involving all main government agencies, as well as social institutes and individuals,'' added Kassum.
Xie Zhenhua, minister of SEPA agreed that different governmental departments need to co-ordinate their work to "balance the economic, social and ecological benefits" while accelerating the country's development.
The recommendation is based on the latest World Bank report on the country's environment: "China: Air, Land, and Water -- Environmental Priorities for a New Millennium."
The report, the result of a collaborative effort by the World Bank and SEPA, provides a wide range of suggestions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the government's environmental work.
The report also urged the central government to allocate more power of supervision to SEPA, as well as to local environmental protection bureaux, and to reinforce the law enforcement accordingly.
Kassum, on behalf of the World Bank, promised to enhance co-operation with the country's concerned governmental departments over the coming years.
Officials of the World Bank also encouraged the Chinese Government to increase its environmental expenditures when introducing some of the developed countries' environmental investment strategies.
They reminded the Chinese Government to pay more attention to the investment in "software" such as environmental education, environmental research and feasibility studies of environmental projects.
Ju Kuilin, director of the Ministry of Finance, echoed these suggestions, promising that the central government will inject some 700 billion yuan (US$85 billion) into environmental protection during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05).
The World Bank report speaks highly of the achievements made by China in the environmental arena over the past decade, particularly in three areas: reduction of the emission of industrial pollutants, afforestation and control of soil erosion.
The World Bank released a similar report on China's environment in 1992.
At present, the World Bank provides China with some US$1 billion in loans annually for projects covering the country's environmental protection, agriculture and poverty alleviation projects. It also offers a great deal of support in technology and human resources in these fields.
(China Daily November 17, 2001)