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US$1.2 Billion for Sustainable Development R&D
The central government will allocate 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) to fund science and technology research on sustainable development during the ongoing 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) period, said a senior official yesterday.

"Sustainable development is regarded as a major strategy of our country," said Li Xueyong, vice-minister of science and technology. In particular, the nation values the role of science and technology in promoting sustainable development.

Li made the remarks at a conference during which he officially announced the release of the Science and Technology Framework for Sustainable Development 2001-10.

With the expansion of its market economy and its World Trade Organization (WTO) accession, China is confronted with a series of sustainable development challenges related to population, resources and environmental protection, Li noted.

In addition, new problems have emerged such as an ageing population, the spread of major diseases and ecological degradation in some places.

According to the framework document, the nation has identified six priority tasks: to conduct strategic research in key technologies; to strengthen basic research and enhance the commercialization of research and development findings; to implement pilot programs and to optimize science and technology resources.

For example, China plans to conduct 10 key State projects involving water pollution control and clean-up technologies. Another 35 scheduled projects are related to the technologies of water security and exploration and the exploitation of large oil and gas fields. Also planned are high-tech research projects on environmental, biological, marine and energy technology as well as basic research projects related to population, resources and environmental protection.

The market mechanism should be leveraged to motivate enterprises and all quarters of society to develop advanced and practical technologies, Li said.

Though government is the primary source of funding for sustainable development, governments at all levels should also attract private capital to fuel projects through the commercialization of research findings, Li said.

A venture capital investment mechanism should be introduced in this field, he stressed.

China will also expand channels of cooperation with the international community, and seek overseas aid and investment to advance science and technology for sustainable development, he said.

(China Daily August 15, 2002)

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