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The 20th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Republic of Korea held in Suzhou
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The 20th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Republic of Korea (TEMM 20) was held in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province in East China between Jun. 23 and 24. Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Li Ganjie, Japanese Minister of the Environment Nakagawa Masaharu, and ROK Minister of Environment Kim Eunkyung headed respective delegations to the meeting and delivered keynote speeches on the latest environmental policies and hot global and regional environmental issues of respective countries.

Minister Li gave a keynote speech at the opening ceremony, with a theme on “promoting ecological and environmental protection and sustainable development, and building a clean and beautiful world”. Over the past year, the Chinese Government has made major decisions and deployments in terms of developing ecological civilization and protecting the environment, from the perspective of theoretical guidance, top-down design, legal support, and institutional reform, which has led to leap-forward progress in the protection of the environment.

First of all, the 19th National Congress of the CPC rolled out brand new top-down design last October for the building of the ecological civilization and the protection of the environment.

Second, the new development philosophy, which is innovation-based, coordinated, green, opening, and sharing development, and the requirements for developing ecological civilization and building a beautiful China has been incorporated into the amendment to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, further cementing the legal bedrock for the ecological and environmental sector to administrate by Constitution and law.

Third, the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection held in May officially identified the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization as the underlying guiding principle for building ecological civilization and protecting the environment in the new era.

Fourth, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment was set up, which integrates the original functions of the former MEP with some functions of six other State departments and is responsible for the ecological conservation and the oversight and compliance inspection on all sorts of pollutants in the urban and rural areas. Under the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, China has, with unprecedented resolve and strength, enhanced the ecological and environmental protection, mobilized the people to adopt green growth patterns and life styles, made full-throttled efforts to advance the air, water, and soil pollution control, and enabled the environmental quality to witness remarkable improvement.

Li stressed that China has also contributed to the global environmental governance apart from advancing the improvement of its environment. China has ratified and acceded to 30 plus multilateral environmental conventions or protocols, boosted the development of the international coalition for green development on the belt and road and the ecological and environmental big data service platform, and actively engaged in the international cooperation on addressing climate change.

Japanese and ROK Ministers delivered keynote speeches as well. Japan shared its fifth basic environment plan, the acts on the progress of pollution control, the promotion of renewable energy, and the adaptation of climate change, as well as biodiversity protection measures. ROK shared its domestic environmental policies related to the sustainable development, rising living standards, and the prevention and control of fine particulate matters, as well as the international environmental cooperation on climate change response, biodiversity and nature protection, chemicals, and environment and health.

The ministers listened to the reports on the review and prospects of the environmental cooperation among China, Japan, and ROK and on the outcomes of five side events including the business roundtable meeting, the policy dialogue on the chemicals management, the workshop on sustainable development and green finance, the sandstorm workshop, and the youth forum. They granted the “award for special contributions to 20 years’ environmental cooperation among China, Japan, and ROK” to China’s National Environmental Monitoring Center and Prof. Hu Min with Peking University, CEO of Sustainablility Forum Japan Mr. Toshihiko Goto and Prof. Hidefumi Imura with Nagoya University, ROK Hanns Seidel Foundation and Prof. Kim Chul Hee with Pusan National University. The ministers also discussed the prospects and future trends of the tripartite environmental cooperation and adopted and signed the Joint Communique of the Twentieth Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan, and Republic of Korea.