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Beijing Hosts Int'l Meetings on Environment

China will expand international cooperation in environmental protection to ensure that the country embarks on a path of sustainable development, said the country's top environmental official at the Fifth Green China Forum, held in Beijing on Wednesday.

Xie Zhenhua, minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), said that the government pays careful attention to the proposals and suggestions of foreign experts and seeks to draw on the experience of other countries.

The China Council for International Cooperation on the Environment and Development (CCICED), established 13 years ago as China's international advisory body on environment and development, has played an important role in the country's development.

China has acceded to more than 30 conventions on the environment and participated in numerous others.

However, Xie said that international cooperation includes respect for different approaches adopted by countries in line with their actual conditions. He called on developed countries to accept more responsibility for global environmental protection and facilitate the transfer of advanced technologies to developing countries.

"Developed nations should also reduce trade barriers established under the umbrella of environmental standards," he said.

The Green China Forum was established last October to provide a platform for environmental specialists from around the world to exchange ideas on China's sustainable development. Meetings are held irregularly.

Among those attending the fifth meeting of the forum were European Commission Director-General for Environment Catherine Day; Crispin Tickell, former British ambassador to the UN; and Michael McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies and chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University in the US.

"The idea of a 'Green China' is an appealing one," said Day. She stated that the EU looks forward to working with China to help ensure that the country's future is green.

Three areas of Sino-EU cooperation are energy, biodiversity and management of water resources, Day said.

The EU will shortly be launching a 30-billion-euro (US$38.2 billion) project on biodiversity, working with approximately 20 different international organizations to provide a variety of services, including advising farmers on land use improvement and on alternative activities for those living close to protected areas.

Day said that the EU would also be cooperating with the World Bank in starting a 25-million-euro (US$31.8 million) project in 2006 to help China implement the integrated river basin management approach in the Yangtze and Yellow river basins, and to help build a more coherent overall policy framework.

Day will also attend the annual meeting of CCICED to be held in Beijing from Friday to Sunday.

(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2004)

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