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Experts on Sustainable Development

Eighteen experts with China's top advisory body have called on the Chinese government to launch the country's first ever nation-wide survey of its ecological and environmental situation.

Niu Wenyuan, a research fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an expert on sustainable development, said lack of understanding of the situation makes it difficult for policy- makers to formulate policies compatible with the real situation.

Citing an example, Niu, also editor of the annual publication "Report on China's Sustainable Development", said three government departments would give three different figures on the area of desertified land in China, making it difficult for scientists to evaluate and compare the changes.

The Chinese economy has been growing at a two-digit rate over the past two decades but few people can tell the actual impact of such rapid economic growth on the country's fragile environment, said Niu, who and other 17 experts on the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body, signed a proposal calling for the survey.

Yang Chaofei, an official with the State Environmental Protection Administration of China (SEPA), said the proposed survey is important and necessary.

Despite recent moves by the Chinese government to protect the environment, ecological degradation has yet to be curbed, said sources with SEPA.

(People’s Daily March 14, 2002)

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