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Link-up on Environment Urged

Europe and Asia should join forces to cope with the challenges of environmental protection. This remark was made by Xie Zhenhua, minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) Monday, when he said environmental co-operation between Asia and Europe has "good potential."

The comments came two days before the two-day Asia-Europe Environment Ministers Meeting - the first of its kind - to be held in Beijing.

The high-level inter-governmental forum will focus on Asia-Europe environmental co-operation, as well as some related hot global and regional issues.

Asia and Europe belong to a single continent geologically, both of which, therefore, are closely connected with each other in economic development and environmental protection, Xie said.

On such a basis, European and Asian countries can and should unite their efforts to cope with challenges to environmental protection to achieve the common sustainable development, noted Xie.

On the other hand, Asia and Europe differ greatly in their resources, which also enhance the possibility and potential of their environmental co-operation, according to Xie.

He added Asian countries mostly boast of abundant natural and human resources but face serious environmental problems as their economies grow rapidly.

Arduous environmental protection tasks for Asian countries meanwhile provide European countries a multitude of good business opportunities to use their rich economic resources and advanced environmental technologies, as well as their long-accumulated experience in environmental protection, said Xie.

To prepare for the Asia-Europe Environment Ministers Meeting, SEPA, along with the Centre for Environmental Education and Communications, and Asia-Europe Environmental Technology Centre, yesterday in Beijing held a non-governmental seminar - Asia-Europe Dialogue on Public Participation and Environmental Decision-Making.

Representatives of environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and environmental experts from more than a dozen Asian and European countries attended the seminar, discussing how to promote public participation in environmental protection, legislation and education.

(China Daily January 15, 2002)

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