China supports global environmental efforts and has played an active role in international environmental affairs. Since 1994 when the United Nations Framework Convention on Global Climate Change went into effect, China has adhered to its principles in international talks on climate change, adopting measures and defending the legitimate rights of China and other developing countries. In August 2002 China signed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
China ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in June 2004. Aware of its importance, the government organized a lead team to draw up national plans and the State Environmental Protection Administration established a lead team and office for implementing the Stockholm protocols. China will take necessary legal, administrative and technical measures to reduce, control and dispose of persistent organic pollutants; and will handle them in a safe, effective and hazard-free way. As a member state of the Global Environmental Fund (GEF), China has maintained a close cooperative relationship with the organization, an international fund-management partnership founded in 1992 that has become the world's largest investor in the field of international environmental protection. China is one of the few developing world donor countries, having played an active role in fund-raising. At the same time, the GEF has provided financial and technological assistance in helping China protect its environment and fulfill international treaties. China has undertaken dozens of projects with GEF help, receiving several hundred million US dollars in donations and becoming GEF's biggest beneficiary.
In the 1990s, the World Bank and China's State Environmental Protection Administration set out a vision for the sustainable development of China's environment in "China's Environmental Strategy Paper" and "Clear Water, Blue Skies: China's Environment in the 21st Century." In the past two decades, the World Bank has granted loans to 24 environmental protection projects in China, and assisted in obtaining donations from the GEF and Montreal Protocol for Chinese environmental projects.
Non-governmental environmental protection organizations from various countries in the world, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, have successfully cooperated with Chinese authorities and non-governmental organizations in various fields. The "China Council for Cooperation on Environment and Development" consists of some 40 experts and acts as a senior consultancy to government. Since its establishment more than a decade ago, it has made many constructive proposals to the Chinese government and is respected abroad for its international environmental cooperation.
In 2004 China intensified activity in the field of international environmental cooperation; the State Environmental Protection Administration concluded 12 international environmental protocols and multi-lateral environmental negotiations; held the fifth China-Japan-Korea Ministerial Meeting on the Environment; started the China-EU Ministerial Dialogue on Environmental Policies; paid mutual environmental visits to Japan, South Korea, Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Russia and Sweden; and signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of Environmental Protection with the US Environmental Protection Agency. A breakthrough has been made in the Sino-US bilateral environmental cooperation. China also took part in WTO negotiations on trade and environmental issues.