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President Jiang Calls for Environmental Cooperation
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Chinese President Jiang Zemin has called for joint efforts in environmental protection by both developed and developing countries to ensure sustainable development worldwide, and pledged China would continue to make its contribution.

Meanwhile, the responsibilities of developed and the developing countries in ensuring sustainable development must be "common but differentiated," Jiang said in his address to the second assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Beijing on Wednesday.

Global action on sustainable development should reflect the wishes and interests of all countries, and a supportive international economic climate should be created to help developing countries achieve sustainable development, Jiang said.

The second assembly of the GEF, an international forum to provide grants for investment projects and technical assistance for worldwide environmental benefits, convened at a time when the international community is devoting unprecedented attention to the environment and sustainable development. It followed the United Nations' Earth Summit six weeks ago in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Protecting the global environment and achieving sustainable development was not only an aspiration the world's people shared but also a pressing task all countries face, Jiang said in his speech titled "Let Us Take Steps to Create A Beautiful Homeland."

"Sustainable development requires that we find a balance between economic growth, environmental protection and all-round social progress," he said, naming economic development and poverty eradication as "a basic prerequisite for ensuring sustainable development."

He said sustainable development inevitably required the rational use of resources and effective environmental protection. And a recycling-style economy, based on the most efficient use of resources and the most effective environmental protection, was the only way to achieve sustainable development. "To achieve all-round social progress and improve the quality of people's lives is the ultimate goal of sustainable development," Jiang said.

He said an international political and economic environment favorable to sustainable development should be cultivated so the sustainable development cause can advance in the right direction.

"Since there is only one earth for us to share, ensuring its sustainable development is the common responsibility of all countries. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities for the developed and developing countries must be upheld," he said.

Jiang stressed that global measures on sustainable development should fully respect the sovereignty of countries and their independence in choosing their own path to progress. International environmental norms should be formulated through the equal participation of all countries and reflect their wishes and interests.

"The difficulties of the developing countries especially should be taken into full consideration and their actual needs respected in an effort to establish a sincere partnership with them," he said.

He also urged reforms of the international finance, investment and trade systems, and transfers of funds and technology to developing countries, which face the dual tasks of poverty eradication and environmental protection.

"It will be very hard for them to achieve sustainable development without a sound and supportive international economic climate," Jiang said.

The president said the Chinese government attached great importance to environmental protection and firmly committed itself to the strategy of sustainable development.

"China's successful performance in the areas of the environment and development has not only led to a better quality environment in China, but has also made an important contribution to global efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development throughout the world," he said.

Jiang praised the GEF's unremitting efforts and remarkable contributions to the global cause of environmental protection, and its positive role in China's environmental protection.

"China is ready to broaden its cooperation with GEF," he said.

Mohamed T. El-Ashry, the GEF CEO and chairman, said the challenge for society remained the same as in 1991 when the GEF was launched - how to ensure sustainable development by balancing growth and environmental protection.

Meeting the challenge would involve leaders from all walks of life - from heads of states to civic leaders and small entrepreneurs, to heads of international organizations and CEOs of major corporations, he said.

The three-day assembly, with some 1,300 participants, will evaluate the GEF's operations and policies and set guidelines for the next four years.

Symposiums on the GEF and China's environment, the global environment and sustainable development, science and world environment, and other topics will be held during the meeting.

Initiated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the GEF aims to help developing countries implement projects that benefit the global environment in the area of biological diversity, climate change, international waters and ozone depletion.

Prevention and control of persistent organic pollutants and land degradation are expected to become new GEF issues to be addressed during the assembly.

The first GEF assembly was held in New Delhi, India, in April 1998.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2002)

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