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Int'l Advisory Org Suggest Setting up Environmental Protection Ministry
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A high level international advisory organization to Chinese government has submitted a report to the State Council, China's cabinet, suggesting establishment of the Environmental Protection Ministry in China.


China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) suggested to elevate the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) to full cabinet rank in the government.


The report is based on two-year investigation and research and the experiences of developed countries, said CCICED.


The report said "China should establish a leading group on national environmental issues chaired by the premier, with membership comprised of the ministers of all relevant agencies and the secretariat provided by the SEPA."


It also proposed China to reform the institutional status of the SEPA to place new burdens upon it so as to enhance the effectiveness of its policy, planning, and evaluation process.


Xue Lan, the leading researcher of the team who made the report, said "although SEPA is already a ministerial-level department in China, the elevation to ministry will increase authority of China's environmental departments."


"If SEPA is elevated to a ministry, the environmental issues will be given more attention in the major decisions of Chinese government," said Xue, who is also a professor with Tsinghua University.


The State Council first set up a leading group on environmental protection in 1974, and the State Bureau of Environmental Protection was established in 1984. In 1998, the bureau was elevated to SEPA.


CCICED was established in 1992. Currently, the chairman of CCICED is Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan. The mandate of CCICED is to put forth policy recommendations and carry out policy and project demonstrations on major and urgent issues in the field of environment and development in China.


Members of CCICED include ministers and vice ministers from the relevant ministries of the State Council, well-known experts and professors in the field of environment and development in and abroad, as well as ministers from other countries and the leaders of international organizations.


(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2006)

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