The plenary session and closing ceremony of the 2018 annual general meeting of the CCICED was held in Beijing between Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. MEE Minister and Chinese Executive Vice Chairperson Li Ganjie presented at the meeting and delivered remarks.
Minister Li delivered a keynote speech entitled “advancing reforms and innovations in all aspects and providing strong supports for the uphill fight against pollution” at the plenary session. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up and a milestone in the history of China’s ecological and environmental protection undertaking, when the Chinese Government made a raft of major decisions and deployments on promoting the ecological progress and protecting the environment, which fully embodies its determination and will to unswervingly take a civilized development path featured with advanced production means, affluent life, and sound ecology.
Specifically, in terms of the guiding philosophy, the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection has officially identified the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, which serves as a direction beacon and action guide for strengthening ecological and environmental protection and building a beautiful China. In terms of the top-down design, the Ministry has issued a document on enhanced environmental protection and the fight over pollution, which specifies the timeline, roadmap, and assignments for the fight. In terms of institutional restructuring, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, a new Cabinet department, has been set up with the responsibilities for ecological and pollution regulation and compliance inspection in both urban and rural areas. In terms of legislation, the first session of the 13th NPC has voted through the amendments to the Constitution and incorporated the new development philosophy, ecological civilization, and beautiful China into the Constitution. Positive progress has been made in combating air, water, and soil pollution and conducting ecological conservation and restoration and compliance inspection.
The uphill fight against pollution represents one of the three major battles at the decisive stage for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society, as well as a great mission and challenge, said Li. We should press ahead with the reforms and innovations, advance the modernization of the ecological and environmental governance system and capacity, and provide support for the uphill fight against pollution. We should accelerate the innovation of development models, and promote green development by delineating and observing the “ecological conservation red lines, the environmental quality bottom lines, the resource use upper limits, and the ecological and environmental access lists”. We should be more creative in establishing schemes and mechanisms, advance the institutional reforms in the ecological and environmental departments, and improve the ecological and environmental management systems. We should be creative in the management methodology, give a better play to the economic, market, and technological tools, and perfect the environmental compliance inspection mechanisms. We should strengthen the S&T innovations, give incentives to the innovation by the public, improve the environmental publicity and education approaches, and enable the whole society to be more supportive of the green initiatives. Furthermore, we should advance the reforms and innovations of the global environmental governance system, implement the 2030 sustainable development agenda, build green belt and road initiative, and address the global climate change.
In closing remarks, Li said the Chinese Government has highly valued the development of the CCICED, as can be shown by Vice Premier Han Zheng’s presence at the annual general meeting, which demonstrates the willingness and firm determination of the Chinese Government to contribute to global environmental governance and the building of a clean and beautiful world. The Chinese Government vowed to help develop the Council into an inclusive, open, and cooperative platform for new type international cooperation on environment and development. In spite of the changing contexts and conditions for the environment and development as well as growing uncertainties in China and in the world as a whole, the Chinese Government still holds firm determination and belief in combating pollution, taking the sustainable development path, achieving the 2030 SDGs, advancing the ecological progress and building a beautiful China, taking part in global environmental governance, championing the homeland Planet Earth which sustains the mankind, and building a community of shared future. He hoped that the sixth phase of the Council would carry forward its legacy, play a better role as a high-prestige Policy Express, get more focused on major global ecological and environmental issues, share knowledge, experience, and wisdom, and build the Council into a new type international platform for deeper cooperation on environment and development, and make new contributions to building a beautiful China and a clean world.
Madame Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada and the international Executive Vice Chairperson of the Council), Mr. Xie Zhenhua (China’s special envoy for climate change, the Chinese Vice Chairperson of the Council, and Vice Chairperson of the Subcommittee of Population, Resources and Environment of the 12th CPPCC National Committee), Mr. Erik Solheim (the Council’s Vice Chairperson, UN Deputy Secretary General, and UNEP Executive Director), Mr. Zhou Shengxian (Vice Chairperson of the Council and Vice Chairperson of the Subcommittee of Population, Resources and Environment of the 12th CPPCC National Committee), Mr. Achim Steiner (Vice Chairperson of the Council and UNDP Executive Director), and Mr. Helgesson (Vice Chairperson of the Council and Norwegian special envoy for the High-level Panel on Sustainable Marine Economy) presented at the meeting and delivered remarks. The Council’s Secretary General and MEE Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin shared the work progress of the Council in 2018 and the work plan for 2019.
This year’s annual general meeting was themed on innovation for green new era. The plenary session heard the reports on policy studies and discussed and adopted the policy recommendations to the Chinese Government. A roundtable meeting on green and low-carbon circular development and eight forums were held on the sidelines of the general meeting.