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China, EU Contribute Millions to Environmental Protection

China and the European Union (EU) will contribute a total of US$17.5 million to bolster environmental protection, officials said Thursday.

The two entities launched the EU-China Environmental Management Co-operation Programme Thursday in Beijing, funded by the EU's 13 million euros (US$12.03 million) over the coming four years and China's 5.9 million euros (US$5.5 million).

The project is one of the biggest co-operation programmes between EU and China in the environmental management sector and will focus on technology and management expertise exchanges.

EU official Jean Marc Riegel said the programme aims to increase China's planning, enforcement and management capability in environmental protection.

According to the Sino-EU agreement, the 13 million euros will go to four institutions. They are the Administrative Centre for China's Agenda 21, China's International Training Centre for Sustainable Development, the National Cleaner Production Centre and China's Centre for Environmental Management Systems.

The joint agreement also declares that the Administrative Centre for China's Agenda 21, an official institution with years of environmental protection experience, will mainly oversee the four-year programme with supervision from the European Commission and several relevant Chinese government agencies.

The EU has also promised to send long-term consultants and experts for this programme during the next four years.

Chen Ning, an official with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, said Thursday that China views environmental protection as one of its top two major issues as written in the country's 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05).

The other top issue is poverty alleviation.

(China Daily 09/21/2001)

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