The Seventh National Conference on Environmental Protection and 2012 National Meeting on Environmental Protection Work are two meetings on environmental protection (hereinafter referred to as the Two Meetings) with milestone significance. The Two Meetings fully affirm the remarkable achievements of environmental protection during the "11th Five-Year Plan" period; systematically analyzed current preeminent problems in environmental protection; upgrade the strategy "environmental protection during development and development during environmental protection" and "active exploration of new path to environmental protection that is small in cost, sound in benefits, low in emission and sustainable in development" as national will; make arrangements for key activities such as comprehensively addressing preeminent environmental problems affecting scientific development and damaging public health and make strategic arrangements for new development of environmental protection cause of our country.
Taking the major opportunity of opening new situation of environmental protection cause and making due contributions to facilitating environmental protection cause entering the main line and big arena of economic development and social progress and actively exploring new path to environmental protection are the key issues that comrades engaged in environment international cooperation should seriously think about and study in depth.
I. Study and implement the spirits of the "two meetings" and enhance our sense of mission and responsibility for active exploration of new path to environmental protection
The "Two Meetings" further identify core objectives, strategies and specific approaches for environmental protection in the new era. Improvement of environmental quality is the core objective of environmental protection, the everlasting theme for environmental protection, urgent desire of the public, and the very foundation of environmental protection work. One of important indicators of Xiaokang society is evident improvement of environmental quality. In the "11th Five-Year Plan" period, environmental protection in our country has important change from understanding and practice and environmental protection work has made remarkable achievements. Meanwhile, we should see that our country is at the stage of mid and later period of industrialization and accelerated urbanization; there is no fundamental change of overall degradation trend of the environment with relatively preeminent environmental problems affecting and damaging public health. In the key period when our country is developing Xiaokang society in an all round way and accelerating the transformation of economic development mode, to handle well the relations between economic development and environmental protection, we must take environment and resource carrying capacity as basic prerequisite for economic development, adhere to the strategy of environmental protection during development and development during environmental protection, employ environmental protection to optimize economic development and facilitate the transformation of economic development mode.
Environment international cooperation is one of important fields of environmental protection of our country. It is a very active field of foreign exchanges, communications and cooperation and becomes an important component of international relations, state activities and foreign activities. By safeguarding legitimate rights and interests of our country in international conventions and cooperation mechanisms and participating in the development of "rule of games", we avoid undertaking the responsibility and obligations not adaptable to social and economic development level of our country in international cooperation on environmental protection. With introduction of advanced ideas, management thoughts, mechanism, technologies and funds, international cooperation on environmental protection has greatly facilitated the development of environmental protection cause of our country. Implementing the spirits of the "Two Meetings" and exploring new path to environmental protection requires us ── who are engaging international cooperation on environmental protection ── to strengthen sense of mission and responsibility.
II. Environmental international cooperation is facing new situation and challenges
There is profound change of current international situation. Environment issues become a continuous focus of international communities and gradually evolve into a combination involving many factors such as politics, economy and culture. Under the background of globalization and regionalization, the influence of local environmental issues has regional and global implications. Apart from mutual influence of environmental problems themselves, the activities such as investment, trade and personal exchange of one country also affect the environment of other countries. The environmental problem of one country will evolve into regional and global problems in several dimensions, attracting the attention of neighboring countries or even the countries in the world. Also, regional and global environmental problems will cause adverse impacts on the environment of a country. No one country can pay attention to its own environment without thought of others when environment issues have regional and global implications and unable to address regional and global environmental problems by itself. Only through cooperation can we address these environmental problems. However, there is big difference as how to protect the environment and how to shoulder responsibilities. The process of international environment governance has been accelerated and international environment rules become mechanism with responsibilities that member countries should shoulder.
We must understand that on the one hand, there is increasing influences of global and regional environmental problems on our country with grave situation. On the other hand, the role of our country in regional and global environment issues becomes bigger and bigger. And the pressure and requirements of neighboring countries and international communities on our country for shouldering responsibility and obligations becomes stronger and stronger.
At present, the new challenges of environmental international cooperation are mainly in the following 5 areas: 1) How to renew the ideas and awareness in international cooperation on environmental protection and design international environment cooperation in terms of safeguarding national interests, image and environment security; 2) How to facilitate the transformation of cooperation mode, that is, from focusing on introduction of funds into paying more attention to introducing advanced environmental management thoughts, ideas and mechanism in order to effectively facilitate domestic environmental protection work. 3) How to effectively address the contradiction of different pace of domestic environmental protection hot issues with international environmental hot issues, how to effectively combine major environmental protection work with international hot issues on environmental protection, in what way can international environment cooperation more effectively service core work of environmental protection. 4) How to improve relevant mechanism and system and facilitate more effective and closer combination of international negotiation and implementation with domestic work on implementation of the conventions. 5) How to strengthen capacity building of the workforce for international environment cooperation.
III. Taking advantage of current situation, address challenges and open new situation in international cooperation on environmental protection
We will seriously carry out the spirit of the "two meeting". International cooperation on environmental protection must always serve the core work of environmental protection and big picture of diplomacy of our country; make overall plan for big picture of China and the world. we must expand our thinking, renew our ideas, raise our capacity, make due contributions to active exploration of new path to environmental protection; and strive for peaceful and stable international environment, friendly neighboring environment, equal & mutual benefiting environment, mutual trust & cooperative environment and friendly media environment for sustainable development of our country.
Under new situation, the core of environmental international cooperation is to facilitate domestic environmental protection through international environmental cooperation, facilitate continuous improvement of environmental quality and make due contributions to the achievement of Xiaokang society in an all round way.
We should mainly do well the following work:
1) We will design international cooperation on environmental protection with globalization perspective. Employing existing cooperation mechanism and platform, we will actively publicize the practice and progress of environmental protection of our country, make strong voice of our country in the field of environment and development, create good image of our country in international environment and development arena, achieve bilateral communications and sharing in international environment cooperation and provide a wider external development space for our country.
2) We will take core work on environmental protection and key work of our country as the starting point for international environment cooperation; actively seek international cooperation opportunities in key areas such as emission reduction, prevention and control of heavy metals pollution, chemical management, POPs, remedy of soil pollution; focus on introduction of relevant advanced ideas, management thoughts, mechanism and clean technologies and promote major work on environmental protection in our country.
3) According to the guideline "the periphery is initial", we will carry out the principle of "safe-and-rich neighborly relationships", carry out the policy of "Making friends with our neighbors and be nice to them", actively address neighboring environment issues, carry out dialogue and cooperation, enhance trust and eliminate suspect, maintain safe neighboring relations, continuously improve and strengthen existing bilateral and multilateral environment cooperation mechanism and eliminate and minimize the differences with neighboring countries on environment issues. We will do well bilateral cooperation with countries such as Russia, Japan and the United States in accordance with the principle of "bog countries is the key".
4) According to the principle of "the multilateral is important platform", we will actively participate multilateral environment process and guided by "safeguarding interests, striving for interests and expanding the influence", we will play constructive role in development of international environment rules, safeguard core interests of our country, and strive for necessary development space and time for domestic implementation work and facilitating major work on environmental protection. We will take implementation of international environment conventions as an important link to promotion of domestic environmental protection activities, develop the situation in which the implementation of international environment conventions combines with domestic environmental protection work with overall plan and joint progress.
5) We will carry out relevant spirit of "Carrying out reform and innovations in environmental protection system and mechanisms" specified in the Suggestions of the State Council on Strengthen Major Work on Environmental Protection; establish and improve national international environment cooperation and coordination mechanism especially the mechanism for improving implementation of international environment conventions, improve domestic coordination mechanism; actively facilitate the development of the Center for Implementation of International Environment Conventions, include international environment cooperation in national environmental protection plan and relevant plan for foreign cooperation, make and carry out the overall plan.
6) Strengthen capacity building of the team for international environmental cooperation. We will make plan to cultivate special talents who have competency in foreign language, master international rules and are able to take part in international negotiations and develop the bank of talents on international cooperation. We will facilitate the establishment of special team studying international environment strategy and policies and enhance the study on the countries and international organizations that have environmental cooperation with our country. We will strengthen the development of technical supporting workforce for international environment cooperation and support FECO, Sino-Japanese Friendship Center for Environmental Protection and China-ASEAN Environmental Protection Center to raise their technical supporting capacity in an all round way.
7) Based on national strategy of "going global", we will facilitate the establishment of the brand of China in foreign environment aid, make innovations in ways of foreign aid training, develop foreign aid programs, facilitate the development of foreign aid workforce, expand international environmental market and facilitate Chinese environmental industry and services going abroad.
8) Make more investment in international cooperation. We will actively strive for the special fund from international communities for relevant environmental issues and the funds for bilateral environmental cooperation, including the funds for implementation of international environment conventions. We will invest more funds as supporting fund for implementing international environment conventions and increase the funds relevant to international environment cooperation and exchange.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)