United Nations officials Thursday called for China to adopt a sustainable industrialization mode, and Chinese officials agreed sustainable development was necessary for China "to build a well-off society."
"China's performance in sustainable industrialization will not only determine the well being of its own people, but will have consequences for the whole planet," Executive Director of United Nations Environment Program Klaus Topfer said at the second annual meeting of the third China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), the Chinese government's senior advisory body on environment and development strategy.
"China will shift to a sustainable industrialization mode which features technology, cost-effectiveness, low resource consumption, low pollution and good use of labor force," said Xie Zhenhua, director of China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
Xie said a well-off society consists of economic development, political improvement, social stability and environmental precaution. Facing a degrading environment and drained resources accompanying a racing economy, China is making strides for change.
Last year, China published laws and regulations regarding cleaner production, environmental impact assessment and radioactive pollution prevention. Emission fees also began to be levied by aggregate amount and environmental legislation, more forcefully enforced, has shut down companies that conducted illegal emissions.
Meanwhile, around the country are springing up model provinces, cities and industrial parks for sustainable development and environmentally-friendly businesses, schools and communities.
China's improvement is a great contribution to the global community, said Borge Brende, chairman of the UN Council for Sustainable Development.
At the three-day conference which opened Thursday, the attendees offered various suggestions to the Chinese government.
Brende suggested China pay special attention to its water pollution, saying "this is the problem which worries me most."
Topfer recommended the Chinese government adopt cleaner production processes and link the industrial development with poverty eradication. Besides, the market mechanism should be widely used and environmental laws and regulations should be vigorously enforced.
"China is entering a critical period of development. An incorrect growth strategy will lead to irretrievable damage to the environment. I'm happy to see the Chinese government, with the strong support of SEPA, is keenly aware of environmental challenges and making the right decision." said Paul Thibault, president of the Canadian International Development Agency and executive vice-chairman of CCICED.
(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2003)