An Italian government official and a senior officer of the World Bank were the first to receive a Chinese environmental award in Beijing Monday in recognition of their achievements in promoting the environmental protection work in China.
The Award for International Cooperation on Environmental Protection, set up by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) last year, is a top honor for foreigners who contribute significantly to China's environment-related work, said SEPA director Xie Zhenhua.
Corrado Clini, an official with Italy's Ministry of the Environment and Territory, was cited for initiating and leading a successful program of cooperation between Italy and China in the field of environmental protection.
The program was promoted across China rapidly in the past two years, with focuses on key fields such as conservation of bio-diversity, the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and permanent organic pollutants, and global climate change.
Sino-Italian cooperation had become one of China's most active areas of international initiatives with the most positive results in environmental protection, said Zhu Guangyao, SEPA deputy director.
Another laureate was Helen Chan, a senior operations officer of the World Bank and a key figure pushing the work to phase out ODSs in China.
Leading a World Bank team on ozone layer protection, Chan worked with the Chinese government to gradually eliminate the use of ODSs in manufacturing sectors.
China has greatly improved its capacity to implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer through international cooperation, Zhu noted.
The biennial award is dedicated to foreigners who "achieve remarkable results in introducing new and advanced environmental theories and technologies into China, providing solutions to major environment-related problems in China, or raising public awareness of environmental protection in the country," according to the SEPA.
(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2003)