High-level advisory panel pitches 15-year pollution fight, but holds China up as model
A high-level international advisory body applauded China’s efforts to improve the environment and suggested a 15-year strategy against pollution in a draft recommendation report on Monday.
China has made building an ecological civilization an important goal and has taken comprehensive measures to improve the environment. This has resulted in positive results, including improved air quality, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said when chairing the annual meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a high-level international advisory body.
Like Zhang, Erik Solheim, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said he was impressed by China’s tremendous achievements regarding its environment in recent years, in particular curbing much of the smog problem.
“China is capable of solving the environment problems themselves,” said Solheim, the council’s vice-chairman, adding the best practices taken by China could provide guidance to other areas facing similar issues.
His praise of China’s approaches to move toward being an ecological civilization won wide support from other members of the environmental council, which includes senior officials and experts from home and abroad.
The council’s draft recommendation presents highlights of the war against pollution in air, water and soil, and suggests the creation of a 15-year strategy that will be “focused on cost-effectiveness, synergies and ways to build public confidence about eventual results”.
Ideally, the integrated rollout should be ready before 2020, to be in line with the 2035 pivot point, when China expects to be a “basic modern country”, the draft said.
Solheim said he is confident that China can reach the 2035 goal to build a “beautiful China”, considering the determined and effective efforts adopted in recent years.
Along with the longer-term strategy to curb pollution, council members suggested creating conditions for fair competition and incentives for green industries.
Based on the input from Monday’s meeting, the advisers and their support teams will modify their proposal and provide a final version to the State Council through the Ministry of Environmental Protection.