Amid claims that compensation for environmental damage is often being evaded, experts are calling for the creation of a system to oversee the process.
The call came at an international conference in Beijing in late August where experts encouraged the use of economic mechanisms to ensure sustainable use of the environment.
"The absence of this type of mechanism is the fundamental economic reason for eco-system destruction in China," said Ye Rutang, vice-chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress.
According to Li Wenhua, co-chair of the Task Force on Eco-compensation Mechanism and Policies of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, the country possesses a strong policy system for pollution prevention and control, but equal measures for conservation are still absent.
"The lack of a mechanism leads to unequal distribution of environmental benefits and related economic benefits," Li said. "To put it another way, conservators are not getting economic rewards; damagers are not taking financial responsibility; and victims aren't getting enough compensation."
Li's group will work out strategic guidelines and policy recommendations for the eco-compensation mechanism, focusing first on water, mining, forestry and nature reserves.
Li pointed out the task will be arduous given the difficulty of implementing practical recommendations, the difficulties of calculating compensation standards and the absence of supervisory legislation, something experts at the conference also remarked on.
(China Daily September 4, 2006)