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Building an “Ecological Civilisation”

November 2013 -Post Third Plenum and the annual meeting of the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development. Whilst the anticipated signing into law of the new Environmental Protection Law didn’t happen it would appear China’s leaders have recognised the need to incorporate environmental protection into economic planning.

Third Plenum

Although the language of the official communiqué was vague, it did, reassert the government’s commitment to build an “ecological civilisation.” Official interpretation of the communiqué includes the following:

  1. Accelerate the reform of an ecological civilization
  2. Delineation of red lines for ecological protection zones
  3. Establishment of a lifelong accountability system for ecological environmental damage
  4. Highlight property rights for natural resource assets and the principle of “paid-use”, as well as improving the ecological compensation system
  5. Accelerate the reform of management systems for ecological and environmental protection
  6. Increasing the weight of environmental indicators in the political performance assessment system for government officials
  7. Strengthen environmental protection responsibilities and  environmental law enforcement at local level
  8. Improve market access for energy saving industries, establish a long-term mechanism to improve the prevention of overcapacity
  9. Encourage state-owned corporations to investment more in the field of environment protection
  10. Accelerate reforms of the natural resource tax and environmental protection tax
  11. Accelerate environmental protection negotiations and apply higher standards for free trade zones construction

Read the full Chinese version here.

Annual Meeting of the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment & Development

The call for an ecological civilisation was repeated by Zhou Shengxian Minister of the Environment, in  the annual meeting of the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development. In his speech at the meeting, five priorities to promote ecological and environmental protection management system:

  1. A reinforced environmental management system that will apply unified supervision for all emissions of all kinds of pollutants
  2. Independent administrative law enforcement and environmental monitoring
  3. Co-ordination of land-sea ecosystem protection and restoration
  4. Regional mechanism for linking pollution prevention and control
  5. Improved management system for state-owned forests, and a reform of the system for collective forest rights

No further details on this were released.

For the full Chinese version please see here.