The sixth plenary session of National Environmental Advisory Committee and the Science and Technology Committee of Ministry of Environmental Protection (hereinafter referred to as the two Committees) was held in Beijing today. MEP Minister and Chairman of National Environmental Advisory Committee Zhou Shengxian addressed the meeting. He stressed the need to firmly grasp the important period of strategic opportunities, actively explore a new path to environmental protection in China, accelerate the historical transformations for environmental protection, and strive to facilitate the development of the environmental protection cause during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.
The meeting began by briefing on the drafting of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan for National Environmental Protection. Afterwards, members with the two Committees had hot discussions on the orientation, general train of thought, tasks arrangement, and guarantee measures of the above-said plan.
In his remarks, Zhou Shengxian noted that the 11th Five-Year Plan period was the five years when China made great achievements in environmental protection. Over the past five years, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have put the environmental protection to a more important and strategic position, proposed a series of new concepts including developing conservation culture, facilitating the historical transformations, rehabilitating the rivers and lakes, regarding environmental protection as an important issue concerning people’s well being, and exploring a new path to the environmental protection in China, and facilitated the advance of historical transformations in environmental protection. During this period, the most outstanding achievement in environmental protection has been actively responding to the impact of international financial crisis and doing well in the post-crisis environmental protection, giving priority to solving prominent environmental problems that undermine sustainable development and impair the public health, and focusing on emissions reduction, which resulted in good effect in environmental protection and improvement of environmental qualities. The most remarkable achievement has been the facts that the environmental awareness of the whole society has been greatly enhanced, that the public concern on environmental protection has been unprecedented, and that the environmental protection has witnessed an important change in terms of both the awareness and the practice.
Zhou Shengxian noted that while giving recognition to our achievements, we should also be clearly aware of the serious environmental situation in our country. The relative shortage of resources and the poor environmental carrying capacity have become the basic national conditions in the new development stage, along with the rapid industrialization and urbanization processes, the rising economic size and the growing population. The upcoming five years are the important period of strategic opportunities in China. To solve the difficulties in environmental protection and economic development in the context of shortage in environmental capacity, growing environmental risks, and increasingly complicated environmental problems, we need wisdom, courage and strategy, we need unremitting exploration and innovation, we need new concepts to deepen the understanding of environmental protection, we need new vision to grasp the opportunity for the development of the environmental protection cause, we need new practice to boost the environmental protection to gain more effects, we need new schemes and mechanisms to guarantee the sustained development of environmental protection, and we need new train of thought to plan the future for environmental protection. We should strive to explore a new path to environmental protection of small cost, sound effect, low emissions, and sustainability. “Small cost” means to balance the environmental protection with economic development, and support the sustainable development of the economy and society with minimum resource and environmental cost. “Sound effect” means to make overall plans for the environmental protection and economic and social development, and seek the best environmental, economic and social benefits. “Low emissions” means to integrate the pollution prevention with environmental treatment, and with appropriate cost for environmental treatment, minimize the damages caused by economic and social activities to the environment. “Sustainability” means to integrate the environmental protection with long-term development, and by way of building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society, constantly uplift the ecological conservation.
Zhou Shengxian stressed that the 12th Five-Year Plan period would be the five years full of hope for the development of the environmental protection cause in our country. Standing at a new starting-point in history, we should focus on the theme of scientific development, the main thread of accelerating the shift of economic development mode, and the new requirement for uplifting the ecological conservation; properly handle the relation between economic development and environmental protection; and pay close attention to developing a macro-strategic scheme for environmental protection, an overall pollution prevention and control scheme, a sound and effective environmental treatment scheme, an improved scheme of environmental laws, regulations, policies and standards, a mature environmental management scheme and a social action scheme fully participated by the people while accommodating to our national conditions. We should address environmental problems at the national strategic level, work out environmental economic policies for the whole reproduction process, and optimize the economic growth by protecting the environment. We should continue to focus on solving prominent environmental problems that undermine sustainable development and impair public health, enable the environmental protection to be more active and effective in the macro control, rigorously control the energy-and resource-hungry and highly polluting industries, industries with excessive capacity, and low-level redundant construction projects, and give full play to the important role of adjusting economic structure and shifting development mode. We should go all out to settle prominent environmental problems that cause direct harm to the people’s health such as heavy metal pollution, POPs pollution and soil pollution, try hard to balance and integrate the environmental protection with economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood, and provide a blue sky, clear water and clean soil for the majority of the people.
The meeting was presided over by MEP Vice Minister and Chairman of MEP Science and Technology Committee Wu Xiaoqing.
Vice Chairman of National Environmental Advisory Committee and member with the Chinese Academy of Sciences Sun Honglie, MEP Vice Ministers Zhou Jian and Li Ganjie, MEP Chief Engineer Wan Bentai, and Chief Engineer on Nuclear Safety Yang Chaofei attended the meeting, so did leading officials from MEP departments and Beijing-based regional offices and affiliated institutions.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)