On Jun. 30, Minister Li Ganjie met with UN Deputy Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim in Saihanba of Hebei Province in North China. They had a field trip to Saihanba Forest Farm which won the UN Award for Champion of the Earth 2017.
Li shared with Mr. Solheim three latest developments in China’s ecological and environmental protection sector. The first one is the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection between May 18 and 19, which marks a historic event at the highest level and with the largest attendance, widest influence and most profound significance, in the development course of China’s ecological and environmental protection sector and the efforts to develop ecological civilization. The event was a first in four aspects: it was convened by the CPC Central Committee for the first time; General Secretary never presented or spoke at such an event before; the first major policy document on strengthening ecological and environmental protection was printed and distributed on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council; and the conference was renamed as National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection, which was unprecedented. Moreover, the major highlight of the conference was the official identification of the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization which provides solid theoretical guidance and action guide for promoting ecological progress and strengthening the ecological and environmental protection.
The second is the tough fight against pollution which has been fully launched and proceeded in orderly progress. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council required to combat pollution, which will be done through seven major battles, to be specific, to successfully protect the blue sky from air pollution, control the pollution from diesel-fueled cargo trucks, treat the dark and odorous waters in the urban areas, conduct integrate environmental management of the Bohai Sea, protect and restore the Yangtze River, protect the source water, and control pollution in the agricultural sector and in rural areas, and four thematic campaigns, which is, carry out the plan to ban foreign wastes and advance the institutional reform on the solid waste importation, crack down on the illegal transfer and dumping of solid wastes and hazardous wastes, urge the garbage incinerating power generators to meet emission standards, and launch the “Green Shield” inspection on nature reserves.
The third development is the foundation of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The Chinese Government decided to establish the new ministry to exercise the power to protect the environment and oversee and conduct compliance inspection on all sorts of pollutants in the urban and rural areas, which is of great significance to comprehensively strengthening the ecological and environmental protection, building a beautiful China, and safeguarding the national ecological security.
The two sides also welcome the new strides made in the preparations for China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center and the international coalition for the green development on the belt and road, and exchanged views on the next plans.
Mr. Solheim congratulated Li on the success of the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection. He appreciated the tremendous endeavors and positive outcomes of the Chinese Government in the control of pollution, and spoke highly of the long-standing bilateral cooperation effects. He vowed to continue to support China’s ecological and environmental protection undertaking and deepen the bilateral cooperation, building on the previous cooperation. The trip to Saihanba has confirmed the UN award of “Champion of the Earth” an absolutely correct decision of the UNEP, said Mr. Solheim.
The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation.