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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for China's agriculture and rural development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

China intensified legislation and law enforcement relating to environmental protection over the past few years. A series of relevant laws and regulations have been promulgated, providing a legal guarantee for curbing environmental pollution and improving environmental quality. China has formulated six environmental laws and nine relating resources laws, including the Law on Environmental Protection, the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Air Pollution, the Law on the Prevention of Water Pollution, the Law on Environmental Prevention and Control of Solid Waste Pollution, the Law on Environmental Prevention and Control of Noise Pollution, and the Law on Maritime Environmental Protection. The newly revised Criminal Law has added a clause on crimes relating to destruction of environment and resources. The government has also promulgated 28 legal regulations and 70 statutes, and localities have put forward more than 900 local regulations relating to environmental protection. A total of 375 relevant standards provide an effective environmental management system which defines the norms for the evaluation of impacts on environment, assessment of comprehensive treatments on urban environment, and control on pollutants. All these efforts have helped formulate and construct environmental policies, laws, standards and management systems, which conform to the national conditions.

Restructuring the national grain circulation system is the priority of the five reform tasks set by the new Chinese cabinet in 1998. The current system mostly follows the operational mode set up under the planned economic structure. Grain enterprises engage in commercial operation in order to gain profits, while exercising management functions on behalf of government grain departments to undertake policy-oriented business. This means that when the market price falls due to excessive supply, they purchase grains at a government-set protective price, which is higher than the market price in order to guarantee farmers' interests. When the price goes up due to short supply, they sell large quantities of grain to stabilize the market price. In particular, they must strictly implement the state monopoly price in purchasing and marketing state ordered grain. All losses accruing from this policy-oriented operation are borne by the state. Due to the state's limited financial capacity, these losses have to be left to banks as overdue debts. Such debts increased by 19.7 billion yuan in 1996, rising by 48 billion yuan in 1998 and 27 billion yuan in the first quarter of 1999.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Chinese government formulated three major environmental policies characterized by stressing prevention while combining prevention with control, forcing pollution-makers to finance treatment, and strengthening environmental management.

A social guarantee system has been introduced in rural areas to protect the 900 million Chinese farmers in recent years. Through investigations and practice for several years, 997 counties have tried out the system, covering over 80 percent of the rural populations in Guangdong, Hebei, Guangxi and Shandong provinces. Within 10 years, a fairly complete social guarantee network will be set up over the entire rural areas. At the present stage, the social guarantee system in rural areas is mainly composed of six items, including social relief, old-age insurance, special care for the disabled, family members of revolutionary martyrs and servicemen, social mutual benefit and cooperative medical care, and a social guarantee service network. However, because of different levels of economic development, it is impossible to set up the system simultaneously in all areas.

Since 1995, China has witnessed bumper harvests for three consecutive years, which is rare in history. Under such circumstances, many state grain purchase and storage enterprises, which serve as the main channels for grain circulation, failed to purchase all the surplus grain from farmers at protective prices. Moreover, due to the glut, they sold grain at losses. The situation became worse when private dealers entered the market, driving the price down and greatly dampening farmers' enthusiasm for grain production. Hence, the Chinese government decided to restructure the grain circulation system. The aim is to lighten the heavy burden plaguing state finances and ensure steady development of grain production and smooth, orderly circulation of grains. This will contribute to promoting the development and perfection of the grain market, stabilizing prices, protecting farmers' enthusiasm for farming, and playing a positive role in guaranteeing long-term steady growth of grain output.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The most pressing is to solve the food and clothing problem. The key to successfully handling this is to find sources of funds. Over the past few years, many local governments found good methods to raise funds. For instance, funds in areas with good economic conditions came from village collectives, while in areas with poor conditions, local governments managed funds. Qinghai Province, which is inhabited by many ethnic minority groups, is a poverty-stricken region typified by many disasters. Under exceedingly difficult financial circumstances, the provincial government made efforts to raise funds to support people who are in financial difficulties and establish associations for grain storage. It also set up a basic living guarantee system combining state allowances with collective support, individual savings and social donations. Shandong is a province with a rapidly developing social guarantee system, which covers 80 percent of the rural population. The widespread implementation of the old-age insurance system in the province benefits mainly from a strict and standard management system. Yantai City, for instance, has established city-county-township old-age insurance management organs in 1992. Owing to strict management, these organs have enjoyed benefits from the farmers' trust, in which 89 percent of the farmers have enrolled.

Programmes and Projects   

The major tasks for national sustainable agriculture in 1998 were as follows: China intensified capital construction for agricultural development, focusing on water conservancy. The government at all levels sped up the work of harnessing major rivers and lakes and repairing the facilities damaged by floods, focusing on reinforcement of banks to ensure safety during the flood season. Silted rivers and lakes were dredged. Some embankments were removed according to a plan to discharge floodwater, and some reclaimed farmland were turned back to the original state, so as to restore and improve the capacity of rivers to handle floodwater and store floodwater. New towns were built as needed for the displaced people. Projects were sped up to repair dilapidated and dangerous reservoirs, and to intensify efforts to build more regulating facilities on major rivers to improve their regulating and storage capacity.

Practical measures were taken to improve the environmental conditions. In the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers, plus the grasslands and the windy and sandy areas in the northwest, northeast and northern regions of China, farmers doubled their efforts to improve the environment, planting trees and grass on a large scale and developing environmentally friendly agriculture. They made efforts to return farmland to forests and turn hillsides into terraced fields. Restoring and increasing grassland vegetation and taming small rivers were helpful in reducing soil erosion. Measures were made to continue protecting natural forests and develop 1O shelter forest projects.

Practical measures have been taken to lighten the burden on farmers. These measures include implementing the policy of collecting reasonable and limited charges for specified items, which remain unchanged for at least three years, and resolutely banning indiscriminate charges, unauthorized fund-raising and arbitrary fines and quotas. The development of small cities and towns is accelerating. Local governments do good jobs in experimenting with the reform of the management system for household registration in cities and towns, and promoting small cities and towns to play roles in achieving economic development in rural areas and improving the quality of life of farmers.

Great efforts have been made to increase the income of farmers. The system of non-governmental services is improved in agricultural development, and more industrialized agricultural operations are developed thus increasing the degree of processing and the conversion rate of agricultural products. More rural work force is organized to work on infrastructure development. During their service, the income of the rural workers increased. Most regions in the country are restructuring rural enterprises, paying particular attention to quality, economic performance and environmental protection and focusing on processing of agricultural and subsidiary products and their storage, preservation, transportation and marketing.

Status

Sustainable agricultural development is the basis for the development of China's national economy and sustainable social development. Paying attention to rational agricultural development and sustainable use of agricultural resources is a trend in the current world, and a pressing and long-term task for China. By 2010, China plans to achieve her GNP as twice as that in 2000 and a better life for her people; by 2020, to achieve further development of national economy; and by mid 21 century, to basically realize modernization. To achieve these goals, China puts agriculture at the top of its economic agenda and highlights sustainable agricultural development.

The Chinese government always dedicates to poverty-eradication. Achievements were most significant during the past 20 years during which the number of poverty people sharply declined. The number of people living below the poverty line dropped from 250 million in 1978 to 42 million in 1998. By providing adequate food and clothing to the majority of the impoverished population, the drive lays a solid foundation for China to become a more prosperous country. China's anti-poverty campaign is a great social undertaking, which shows the determination of the Government to guarantee people's fundamental human rights, the rights to subsistence and development. Now the anti-poverty campaign has entered its most difficult stage, as the remaining 42 million poor people mostly live in extremely harsh natural conditions without convenient transportation. To ensure meeting the basic living standards for 20 million poor people within two years poses as a great challenge to poverty-relief workers. The anti-poverty campaign is integrated into the country's efforts to accelerate economic construction in central and western China, and to narrow the gap between the more prosperous eastern regions and the less-developed western areas. To achieve the goal, China will make huge investments and speed up infrastructure construction, environmental protection and natural resources development in the central and western regions. Meanwhile, the eastern regions are required to raise financial and technical assistance to help residents in the central and western pans improve their living and working conditions. The State will add 6.5 billion yuan to poverty relief funds, raising the sum in 1999 to a record of 24.8 billion yuan. With the expansion of poverty-relief investment and improvements in fund efficiency, the poverty-stricken people will be given more financial and technical assistance to develop farming and animal husbandry, and to achieve economic sell-reliance.

China achieved good harvests and steady industrial increase in recent years. In 1998, China's grain output exceeded 490 million tons; cotton output reached 4.4 million tons; and oil-bearing crops reached 22.92 million tons. The livestock and aquaculture industries continued growing. The total output of pork, beef and mutton hit 43.55 million tons, an increase of 6.5 percent over the previous year. The output of aquatic products reached 38.54 million tons, an increase of 7 percent. The per-capita annual income of farmers jumped from 133 yuan in 1978 to 2,160 yuan in 1998.

In China, agriculture restructuring needs further to be undertaken. The area sown in grain crops in 1999 is maintained at 11O million hectares and the total grain output will reach 495 million tons. The farmers adjust the pattern of cultivation to meet market demand and improve the quality of farm produce. Cotton production in Xinjiang is maintained at the current level, while the production has been reduced in Hebei, Shandong and Henan provinces and in the Yangtze River valley. The production of sugar and tobacco is adjusted in response to changes in market demand. Provinces continue to produce commodities for the "shopping cart project" to ensure ample supply in the market.

In 1998, the Chinese government made energetic efforts to improve environmental protection. Progress was made in controlling the total amount of pollutant discharges, reducing the amount of industrial pollution discharges and in the overall improvement of the urban environment. Investment in environmental protection increased significantly. The state key project which is to control water pollution in the Taihu Lake basin has achieved Results. Beijing was listed as a key pollution control city by the government. In addition, the State Council issued the National Plan for Ecological Environment Construction, the Ministry of Agriculture developed the "Agricultural Action Plan for China's Agenda 21" and suggested to further improve relevant measures and adopt diversified development modes so as to promote its works in all fields. The natural forest protection project was launched. Great importance and intensified efforts were devoted to ecological construction and protection. However, China is still facing a grim environmental situation. In certain areas, environmental pollution is deteriorating. Ecological problems, such as soil erosion, desert and weakened forest and grassland functions are serious in some regions. Serious natural disasters such as floods, red tides and sandstorms occurred in 1998.

China is one of the countries with the richest biodiversity. China has plentiful diversities of biological species, complete types of ecological systems, and numerous varieties of artificially bred wild fauna and flora. At present, the country's biodiversity faces threats from forest lumbering, wetland development, drastic reduction of the living space for wild fauna and flora and environmental pollution. In 1998, the State Council approved the construction of 12 new state-level nature reserves, raising the total number to 136. One reserve has been accepted by the UNESCO as a member of the International Man and Biosphere Protection Zone. Now China has 15 biosphere protection zones. In 1998, the State Council issued the circular on intensifying the Management Work of Nature Preserves, helping reinforce the management and construction of various natural reserves.

Challenges  

China's per-capita cultivated land is limited and the quality is not high. Although the Government has set the target for the total amount of cultivated land and begun to freeze the occupation of cultivated land for non-agricultural construction since 1997, the decrease of cultivated land in 1998 still surpassed that in 1997. The organic substance in the soil of cultivated land basically remained stable. The application of organic fertilizer declined and the soil quality deteriorated to some extent. In 1998, the State amended the Land Administration Law and related decrees, providing land administration with a fairly complete legal basis.

China's water environment faces three serious problems: water body pollution, shortage of water resources, and floods and damages caused by water-logging. In 1998, the total amount of waste waters discharge declined to a certain extent. However, water body pollution still remains fairly high. Owing to the abnormal climate and ecological destruction, devastating floods hit some areas, while the arid and semi-arid areas in northwest China continued suffering from the shortage of fresh water resources. In vast rural areas, the irrational use of chemical fertilizer, insecticides and other farm chemicals intensified the adverse affect on surface water. Results of sectional monitoring of China's main river basins (systems) indicate that the water quality of Yangtze, Huaihe and Pearl rivers improved when compared with that in 1997, that of Yellow, Haihe and Songhuajiang rivers showed little change, while that of the Liaohe River deteriorated. The extent of pollution of the seven major river systems is listed from the highest to the lowest as follows: Liaohe, Haihe, Huaihe, Yellow, Songhuajiang, Pearl and Yangtze. Large fresh water lakes and lakes in cities are contaminated at a middle level. Eutrophication remains a serious problem in Chaohu (Xiban), Dianchi and Taihu lakes. The quality of half of the offshore body of water is rated third class or worse.

Water pollution prevention and control work in the Taihu Lake basin has achieved varying results. In accordance with the requirements of the State Council, waste waters discharged in the lake basin by industrial enterprises and animal farms, as well as hotels and other sources of pollution around the lake, basically met the pollutant discharge standards set by the state or local governments by the end of 1998. Water pollution control in the Huaihe River basin has been reinforced. This will consolidate results in the maintenance of the standards of pollutant discharges.

In 1998, China intensified efforts to control soil erosion, and more than 5 million hectares of land was treated. By the end of 1998, the country had completed comprehensive treatment of 78 million hectares of land affected by soil erosion. Water and soil conservation projects constructed on the seven major river basins now cover more than 800 counties in 26 provinces and more than 20,000 small watersheds, with projects on more than 5,000 small watersheds completed. Both central and local governments increased input in water and soil conservation projects.

Capacity Building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising

The Chinese government chose and put into practice the strategy of developing agriculture by relying on science, technology and education. A series of measures have been adopted to enable science and technology to play a greater role in increasing agricultural production. In order to enable new labor recruits to receive primary vocational training, a streaming system is adopted at the primary school and at the second grade of the junior middle school. Students are given both diplomas and "green certificates." In addition, training is given to ordinary laborers under 50 by broadcasting schools, technology extension schools, senior agricultural middle schools, and agricultural technical schools. Those who pass the examinations will be given "green certificates." In order to enhance farmers' abilities to accept and apply new agricultural technologies through extensive vocational training, especially through the "Green Certificate" project, China is taking measures to fully use her existing 500-odd agricultural and forestry poly-technical schools, more than 2,000 country-level agricultural broadcasting and TV schools, and grass-roots agricultural technology popularization organs. By 2000, 10 million farmers will obtain such certificates and a large number of grain-growing experts will emerge.

Information

As a developing country, China actively participates in activities connected to the UN's Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction and attaches high importance to natural calamity forecasts. The successful launching of Fengyun-l and Fengyun-II meteorological satellites helped China achieve significant results in reducing natural disasters. In 1986, about 24 hours before the No. 8607 typhoon hit Shantou, a city in the Guangdong Province, the provincial meteorological department sounded the alarm. The local government immediately informed more than 3,000 fishing vessels out at sea, organized the farmers to harvest 200,000 hectares of crops and adopted safety measures to protect 35 large and medium-sized reservoirs in the locality. This helped reduce losses by nearly 1 billion yuan.

During the fight against the floods in the Yangtze, Nenjiang and Songhuajiang river valleys in the summer of 1998, the meteorological department used satellite data figures to monitor the floods and acquired meteorological information covering an area of 320,000 square km. The information provided a scientific basis for relevant authorities to make the decision of "defending the dikes to the last".

China is a country prone to forest fires. According to statistics, during the 36 years between 1950-86, fire affected areas up to 960,000 hectares. The situation has improved since the application of the satellite system. During the catastrophic forest fire that took place in the Greater Hinggan Mountain from May 6 to June 1 in 1987, related departments used meteorological satellite to monitor the disaster. The satellite transmitted more than 800 radiophotos of forest fire, providing effective information support for fire-control headquarters.

In November 1998, China Satellite Disaster Reduction Center was formally established. Following the successful launching of Fengyun-I and two other meteorological satellites, China is expediting the development of Fengyun-III, a new-generation meteorological satellite. Fengyun-III is designed to study the laws governing the global climate and its changes, monitor wide-range climate changes, natural disasters and the environmental ecology, and provide related departments with meteorological information from different regions throughout the world.

Research and Technologies  

While restructuring industries and upgrading technology, various localities and departments are striving to popularize clean production and make a number of high energy-consuming and heavy polluting techniques and equipment obsolete.

The agricultural R&D institutions continue to expand the application of advanced practical agricultural technologies, especially various forms of more efficient water-saving irrigation, such as seepage control of channels, water conveyance by low-pressure pipelines, spray irrigation and drip irrigation, and dry farming techniques. In areas where conditions permit great efforts are made to develop precision agriculture.

Financing

The use of foreign capital partially contributed to the speedy development of agriculture. By the end of 1997, foreign-funded agricultural projects numbered 7,896 in China, involving US$12 billion in foreign capital. This included 814 launched in 1997, with committed and paid-in foreign capital totaling US$1.07 billion and US$628 million respectively. Foreign capital absorbed by the sector mainly comes from three sources: overseas loans, foreign aid and direct investment by foreign businesses, according to available statistics, respectively accounting for 44.5 percent, 1O percent and 44.5 percent of the total foreign capital. Capital acquired through foreign aid was mainly used to assist poor areas in developing economy, upgrading technology and training personnel. Experts deem direct investment from overseas businesses as the most vigorous and flexible method for the utilization of foreign capital.

Prior to 1996, preferential loans and various kinds of aid, which made up more than 80 percent of the total amount of foreign capital, were used by the agricultural sector. Foreign-aid projects focused on poverty-stricken areas. Their implementation played an important role in promoting the development of agriculture and rural economy in poor areas, improving local people's living standards and eliminating poverty. Major projects include food aid provided by the World Food Program (WFP) since 1980 and the WFP-funded comprehensive agricultural development program through the work-relief project. By the end of 1996, The WFP had ratified 58 food-aid projects in China, valued at US$750 million. The majority of these projects are located in the 169 state-and provincial-level poverty-stricken counties, benefiting more than 20 million local residents.

Cooperation

In China, green food has only emerged recently and the efforts have been fruitful. A total of 37 associated agencies and 56 environmental monitoring organs related to the production of green food have been established throughout the country. A national network for the production, management, quality control and technical supervision of green food is taking form. Standards relating to the environment required for the production of green food and the utilization of production means such as fertilizers, pesticides, food additives and feed additives, as well as technical procedures for 72 varieties of crops in the seven major geographical areas have been established. A standard system for the full-range quality control of green food production has made initial shape. The green food market has made considerable progress. In Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen and other cities, special marketing channels for green food have been formed. The China Green Food Company has built a distribution center for green food. A considerable proportion of Chinese green food is exported to Japan, the United States, Europe and other countries and regions. Export channels related to green food expand steadily. Currently, 544 enterprises are engaged in the production of 892 kinds of green food. In 1997, the output of green food was approximately 6.3 million tons, and the gross sales volume reached 24 billion yuan. The green food sector displays encouraging ecological and economic benefits. In 1993, the China Green Food Development Center joined the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, symbolizing further cooperation and exchanges between China's green food sector and relevant industries throughout the world. In 1997, the World Agriculture Association recommended the China Green Food Project to UNCSD as one of the 20 most successful sustainable development modes in the world.

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This information was provided by the Government of China to the 5th, 6th & 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1999.

To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
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For access to the priority programme of China's Agenda 21 "A Strategy for Intensive-sustainable Agriculture in China and Demonstration Projects in Ten Counties" click here:
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Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Montreal Protocol and the London Amendment were ratified in 1991. The latest report to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat was prepared in 1996. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified in 1993.

In 1995, China promulgated the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution. Some seriously polluted cities have adopted a permit system for air-polluting material production and an experimental charge system for sulphur dioxide exhaust so as to control smoke and limit the emission of sulphur dioxide. The country has clearly defined acid rain and sulphur dioxide control areas and adopted stricter standards for exhaustion of sulphur dioxide from industrial pits and furnaces. In some seriously polluted cities of southwestern China (such as Nanchong, Yibin, Chongqing, and Zunyi), smoke pollution and acid rain problems have been eased to some degree. In order to control sulphur dioxide pollution, clean coal and clean combustion technologies have been introduced. Newly-built coal mines with high sulphur and lime content are accompanied by coal washeries. For smoke control, measures have been made to eliminate smoke, promote boiler innovation, and encourage central heating, all of which have proved to be effective. In 1996, the smoke-elimination rate of waste gas from coal combustion of industry reached 90% and the purification rate of waste gas from production technology reached 74.9%.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In January of 1993, the Chinese Government approved the National Programme of China for Phasing Out of Ozone Layer-Depleting Substances and drafted an action plan. Specific measures for gradually eliminating designated materials have been taken in nine industries: air-dissolved rubber, foamed plastics, household refrigeration, industrial and commercial refrigeration, halon fire-fighting, tobacco, and electronic cleaning. This plan has been carried out in all enterprises.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Chinese Government is greatly concerned with global climate change and has activly organised research on this topic. With the cooperation of international organisations, some institutes have conducted research on "China's Greenhouse Gas Resources and Reducing Strategy" and "Climate Change Caused by the Greenhouse Effect and Its Influence on China". During the Ninth Five-Year Plan, China will emphasise research on the "Assessment of Influence of Climate Change on China's Regional Environment" and "The Influence of Greenhouse Gas Exhaustion on Climate Change and its Counter-Measures".

Status   

No information is available

Challenges

With the rapid expansion of the economic scale and the development of urbanisation, China is challenged with the serious task of controlling urban atmospheric pollution. The rapid development of urban transportation makes vehicle exhaust emissions the most serious difficult problem concerning urban air pollution control. Moreover, acid rain and the production of greenhouse gases and ozone layer-depleting substances are of great concern to the Chinese Government. Difficulties have been encountered in implementing the Montreal Protocol such as diverse competing interests, lack of funding, lack of technology and further economic and technical difficulties.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

With support of the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO) and the Global Environment Fund, a World Atmosphere Background Data Observatory was built in Wali Guanshan in 1994. This observatory has filled a gap in China's atmosphere background data observation. It is the first continental data observatory in Asia's heartland and an important component of the global atmosphere background observation network. China has also set up the National Climate Centre which began research and service work in January of 1995. This centre gives monthly, seasonal, and yearly flood forecasts. In order to improve the capabilities of forecasting short-term climate change and assessing the influence of climate change, China is vigorously organising the construction of a systematic engineering system for short-term climate forecast.

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

China participates in the Global Ozone Observation Network and plans to establish a network of ozone observation stations. China will participate in international research and scientific and technological cooperation and will seek investment from the international community for projects which assist in the slowing of climate change. The US Department of Energy supports China's country study on climate change. By the end of 1995, 156 projects had been approved by the Executive Committee of the Ozone Preservation Multilateral Fund and four of them had been completed. These efforts reduced emissions of controlled material by 6,000 tons (as calculated by the ozone layer-depleting potential value). Three CFC substitution centres in the rubber-dissolving industry have been constructed. This lays a solid foundation for the final achievement of complete substitution. By July of 1996, China had been granted than 170 projects from the Montreal Multilateral Fund. These projects have been successfully implemented.

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This information is based on China's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998

Click here for national information from the Web Site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) is the lead organization for the protection of biodiversity. The Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Administration of Oceanography and the Ministry of Construction are responsible for providing management in their respective areas. The State Planning Commission and the State Science and Technology Commission also have responsibilities for the conservation of biodiversity. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has established a Committee for Environmental and Resource Protection within its framework. Local governments have agencies similar to those in the central Government, which have been established to address local issues in the conservation of biodiversity.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on Biological Diversity was ratified in 1993. The latest report was submitted in 1994. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was ratified in 1981.

China has successively formulated and promulgated laws and regulations such as the Forest Law, the Law of Fishing , the Wildlife Protection Law , the Management Regulation of Natural Reserves, the Regulation Concerning Continental Wild Animals, the Regulations for the Protection of Aquatic and Wild Animals , the Regulations on Wild Flora Conservation, the Regulations on Management of Forest and Wildlife Nature Reserves, the Provisions Governing Hunting Guns and Bullets , the List of Key Protected Wildlife of National Importance, and the National List of Rare and Endangered Plants. The various provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central Government have formulated and issued corresponding local laws and executive regulations. The Environmental Protection Committee (under the National People's Congress) and the State Council have inspected the enforcement of environmental protection in fishery and forestry departments, and strictly prosecuted those offenders who have seriously destroyed the wild fauna and flora resources (such as excessive hunting and smuggling).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In order to fulfil the UN Convention on Biodiversity, the Chinese Government has formulated China's Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan and the Country Study Report on Biodiversity in China, carried out comprehensive assessments of its biodiversity, indexed endangered animals and plants, and put forward policy suggestions regarding the strengthening of national capacity for biodiversity protection and the sustainable utilisation of biological resources.

China has set up management offices and scientific committees for the import and export of endangered species. Management institutions for wild animals and plants, as well as the nature reserves, have been established in 25 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central Government. Research institutions for the study of endangered animals and plants have been set up in northeastern, northwestern, and southern China. In Sichuan, Hunan, Guangdong, and Guangxi Provinces, 19 protection and breeding centres have been established for endangered wild animals and plants such as the Northeast tiger, elk, wild horse, high-nose antelope, nipponia bird, Chinese sturgeon, Yangtze alligator, golden-striped tortoise, etc. Across China, there are over 300 artificial breeding farms for wild animals and plants, one national bird centre, fifty bird stations, and five white-flag dolphin protection stations.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

NGOs, such as the Chinese Society of Environmental Sciences, the Chinese Ecological Society, the Chinese Society of Forestry, the Chinese Society of Agronomy, the Chinese Society of Oceanography, the Chinese Society of Botany, the Chinese Society of Zoology and the Chinese Association of Wildlife Conservation, play an active role in biodiversity conservation in coordination with the governmental agencies.

Programmes and Projects   

The Chinese Government has carried out a series of rescue projects for endangered animals that have led to the restoration of many species. By the end of 1995, China had established 175 animal parks and animal exhibition zones in the parks, and 227 breeding centres for wild animals. The project for the protection of giant pandas and their habitats has been carried out with 28 panda protection zones already established or still under preparation. There are currently a total of 1,000 giant pandas from several different species. The population in each of the species is stable. Nipponia birds were an endangered species world-wide with only seven in China in 1981 upon their rediscovery. Now, there are more than 60 in China due to the rescue project. The artificial breeding of Yangtze crocodiles has been a success, with a current population of more than 4,000. The population of Hainan deer has increased to more than 500 from the initial 50. In order to rescue and breed endangered or rare plants, China has successively set up more than 400 stations for rare plants protection and breeding, and more than 120 botanical gardens and tree gardens. These measures have protected 1,800 species, enabled 90% of the wild plants under national protection to be moved (and thus protected), and enabled nearly 1,000 rare plants to be protected and bred. The artificial breeding of the Chinese unique cathy fir, metasequoia, and Chinese parasol has been remarkably successful. The Chinese sturgeon has also been well protected in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Seven protection stations, one protection zone, and one rescue centre for the Chinese sturgeon have been established. Every year, over 300,000 young Chinese sturgeons are put into the Yangtze River. This keeps the population of the Chinese sturgeon stable in the Yangtze River.

Status   

China is a large country with a biodiversity of global significance. For a long time the protection of biodiversity has been facing serious challenges due to the rapid population growth and changes in the biological environment.
China's nature reserves network has been greatly developed. This has effectively protected most of the representative and scientifically valuable ecosystems, and endangered rare species. By the end of 1996, there were 799 nature reserves (including 106 state-owned) which were designed for the conservation of a variety of species. The area of these nature reserves totals 71.85 million hectares, accounting for 7.2% of China's land area. Twelve of these reserves have joined the Man and Biosphere International Protection Zone Network. China has also set up 752 forest parks with a total area of more than 6.6 million hectares. These have become important places for the protection of ecosystems and local species.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

China has disseminated laws and regulations, such as the Regulations for the Protection of Aquatic and Wild Animals, and popularised the scientific knowledge of wild flora and fauna through various media and activities such as Bird-Loving Week, Biodiversity Day, Publicity Month for the Protection of Wild Animals, public lectures, exhibits, etc. Each year for the past ten years, the organisations for wildlife administration and environmental protection at national and local levels have held quiz games, composition contests, and summer camp activities about wild animal and plants for primary and middle school students. Such special programmes as Animal World and Humans and Nature on CCTV (China Central Television) have become popular programmes with great influence.

Information

The Chinese Government has set up several special biodiversity information systems. The Chinese Academy of Sciences alone has established a relatively complete biodiversity information system which includes 5 subject branches, 25 data sources, and more than 30 databases. A species and products resource database system for agriculture has been established by the agricultural departments, including 15 agricultural products, 270,000 seeds samples, and 12,590,000 data entries. The National Environmental Protection Agency has set up a database for nature reserves across the country. An ecosystem and biodiversity study and monitoring network, composed of 78 ecological stations, has been established in China.
China started the compilation of the Red Book of Plants in China and the Red Book of Animals in China. These books will have eight volumes, three of which are already finished. China also published the List of Ecosystems under Priority Protection, the List of Animals under Priority Protection, and the List of Wild Plants under Priority Protection.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

Ten nature reserves have been included in the International Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO. Six nature reserves have been listed in the List of International Important Wetlands. The US-based MacArthur Foundation supports the project Forest Resources Management and Biodiversity Protection in the Gaoli Gongshan Natural Reserve.

* * *

This information is based on China's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For access to the China Council Working Group on Protection of Biodiversity click here:
To access the Chinese Biodiversity Information System click here:
For information especially on Chinese flora click here:
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Establishment of A Biodiversity Network and Conservation of Endangered Species", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Conservation and Restoration of Tropical Rain Forest in Southern China", click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa was ratified on 18 February 1997.

In 1993, the Regulations regarding Law on Water and Soil Conservation was put into effect. A comprehensive system of administrative agencies for water and soil conservation ranging from the central Government to local authorities was established. The Government has established the National Coordination Panel for Desertification Control and has approved the inclusion of the desertification control projects in the national economic and social development plans.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Since 1990, the Chinese Government has taken a series of steps to control desertification. It has formulated the National Planning Programme for the Control of Desertification in 1991-2000 and the National Action Plan for the Control of Desertification of China. It has also established the Chinese Research and Development Centre for the Control of Desertification, as well as several training and monitoring centres. It has promulgated the Principle Technology Programme for Monitoring Desertification. The Chinese Government has also promulgated the Comments on Several Policies and Measures for the Control of Desertification, which gives preferential low interest loans for desertification control. To counter different types of desertification, the Government focused on 20 major counties and established 9 experiment areas and 22 experiment and demonstration bases. From 1991 to 1995, 4.29 million hectares were brought under control, of which 1.22 million hectares were subject to sandy land enclosure, afforestation, and grass planting. Another 470,000 hectares were subject to sandy land control, cultivation, and low-yield farmland transformation.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Major groups have been involved in the activities for combating desertification.

Programmes and Projects   

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to preventing and combating desertification, and has formulated and started implementing the national ten-year Anti-Desertification Programme before the negotiation of the Convention. China has included this programme in China's Agenda 21.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

In combating desertification, China is still faced with great difficulties because desertification affects a vast amount of land in a number of different regions of the country. Although the Chinese Government has allocated financial and material resources to deal with the problem, the resources still fall far short of the actual needs. In this context, China needs financial and technological support from the international community, especially from the developed countries, to better address desertification and achieve sustainable development in ecologically fragile areas so as to make her contribution to the global effort at combating desertification and protecting the ecological environment.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

The Chinese Government had sent delegations to participate in all negotiations on the Convention between 1993 and 1994, and has played a constructive role during the negotiations process. In October of 1994, the Chinese Government signed this Convention. In order to enhance the awareness of government personnel at all levels concerning desertification, China has held three High-Level Workshops on the UN Convention on the Prevention of Desertification during the past two years. Moreover, in order to strengthen international cooperation in combating desertification, China, in collaboration with Japan and the UN Special Coordinator's Office for Africa and the Least Developed Countries, hosted the Asia-Africa Anti-Desertification Seminar (1996, Beijing), at which twenty countries from Asia and Africa exchanged experience in combating desertification, explored possible activities of cooperation, and adopted the Asia-Africa Action Framework on the Prevention of Desertification.

* * *

This information is based on China's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Prevention and Control of Soil Erosion and Land Degradation in the Middle and Upper Reaches of the Yangtze River", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Prevention of Desertification: A Demonstration Project in China", click here:

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ENERGY

No information is available.

For access to the China Council Working Group on Energy Strategies and Technologies click here:
To access the Web Site of the China Coal Research Institute click here:
For official information on the Three Gorges Project click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Construction of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Demonstration Power Plant", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Construction of 150 Mwe Pressurized Fluidized Bed Combustion Combined Cycle Demonstration Power Plant ", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Construction of Nuclear Heating Plant and Improvement of Safety Capacity", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Emission Control, Energy Economy and Improvement of Safety for Automotive Products", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "A Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Power Utilization", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 " The Development of A Large Size Wind Turbine Generator", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Exploitation, Utilization and Demonstration Projects of Biomass Energy", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Increasing Energy Efficiency in Buildings", click here:

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The State Forestry Administration (former Ministry of Forestry) is responsible for all issues in this field. China attaches great importance to the development of forest resources and has formulated the Forestry Action Plan for China's Agenda 21, the Outline of China National Programme for Ecological Environment Improvement, the Key Points of the Programme for Comprehensive Forestry Development in Mountain Areas, etc.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Forest Law of the People's Republic of China was promulgated in 1984, symbolizing a new era for forestry development under the regulation of law. In pace with the deepening of economic system reform and the establishment of a market economy system, many provisions of the Forest Law promulgated in 1984 were in conflict with practical forest development. Therefore, the amendments of the Forest Law became an important task for forestry development. After 3 years' endeavor, the revised Forest Law was adopted by the Second Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress.

The revised Forest Law made additions, deletions and revisions of 26 articles of the original law. The new Law clearly defines "the ownership or tenure of forests, trees and forest land owned by the State and the collective, trees owned and forest land used by individuals shall be confirmed by governments at county level and above through registration and issuing certification. The State Council shall authorize the department of the State Council responsible for forestry to register and file the forests, tree and forest land in key State-owned forest regions defined by the State Council, to issue certification accordingly and to inform relevant local government." "The State shall protect the legal rights and interests enjoyed by the collectives and the individuals who contracted to plant trees." "The State shall set up Compensation Fund for Forest Ecological Benefits to be used for silviculture, tending, protection and management of forest resources and trees of shelterbelt and forests for special purposes which create ecological benefits. The Compensation Fund for Forest Ecological Benefits is a special fund that shall be used only for its specific purpose other than misappropriation. The detailed regulation on the Fund shall be made by the State Council." "According to the principle that consumption of timber forest should not exceed growth, the State shall strictly control the annual allowable cut of forest. The annual logging quotas of the State-owned forests and trees shall be defined accordingly taking State-owned forestry enterprise and institution, farm, factory and mine as a unit, and that of the collectively owned forests and trees and individually owned trees shall be defined taking county as a unit. The annual logging quotas shall be set by departments responsible for forestry at the level of province, autonomous region and municipality and after being reviewed by the government at the same level, submit to the State Council for approval."

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Government has put forward a number of general strategic objectives and countermeasures: strengthening breeding, protection and management of forest resources, enlarging forest areas, and improving the forest quality. The past seven years have seen the planting of large-scale shelter forests, implementation of ecosystem improvement programmes, and compulsory afforestation activities through nationwide tree planting and territory greening programmes .

While protecting and making use of forest resources, the Government has made vigorous efforts to develop forest resources in mountain areas and develop forestry and fruit growing as the backbone industries of the regional economy in order to encourage social and economic development in poverty-stricken areas. For example, in Liuzhou, Guilin, and Hechi Prefectures of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the 18 poor counties in five prefectures of Guizhou Province (which is known as the Ninety Thousand Mountain Area) through forest resources development, industrial structure adjustment, and developing the backbone industries of forestry and fruits, the forest cover of the area has been raised to 37.61% and the per capita income has increased by RMB 367 yuan.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

In 1998, the Chinese Government launched the Natural Forest Protection Programme, involving the major State-owned forestry enterprises in 18 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) including Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang and Hainan. Included are also some local forestry enterprises, logging and silvicultural units of ecological importance along the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, as well as those State-owned forest farms depending on harvesting natural forest as the pillar industry.

The Natural Forest Protection Programme is implemented in two phases. The first phase from 1998 to 2000 mainly focuses on adjusting and reducing timber production from natural forest, establishing ecological protection forest for public benefits and commercial forest and projects for re-orientation, and re-directing excessive laborers and (or) re-settling laid-off workers. The second phase, from 2001 to 2010, mainly focuses on establishing protection ecological forest and projects for re-orientation, building up reserve resources, promoting the capacity of timber supply, and restoring and developing economy.

Women, Children and Youth, minority nationality districts, worker and labor unions, science and technology circles have also been deeply involved in the activities of planting trees and combating deforestation.

Programmes and Projects   

In order to preserve the environment in ecologically fragile areas, China has successfully carried out about a dozen ecological forest programmes and five major ones are as follows:

In addition to the five major programmes mentioned above, some new programmes were launched in 1995 in the Huaihe River Basin, Taihu Basin, Zhujiang River Basin, Liaohe River Basin, and the middle reaches of the Yellow River. These shelter forest programmes involve 609 counties of 16 provinces and the planned afforestation area is 6.6 million hectares.

Status

Since 1990, afforestation has covered 24.7 million hectares, regeneration through aerial sowing has seeded 12.74 million hectares, the area of mountain closure has reached 26.26 million hectares, and the national forest cover has increased from 12.98% to the present 13.92%. A significant increase of forest area and growing stock has been achieved and the trend of long-term decrease in forest growing stock has been basically reversed. Now there are only a few uncovered afforestable mountains or lands in twelve provinces.

Challenges

China is deficient in forest resources. At present forests cover an area of 130 million hectares, which is only 3-4% of the total forest area of the world. The national forest cover is less than 14%. The available per capita forest area is only 0.11 hectares or 11.7% of the world average. This situation presents major environmental problems, such as soil erosion and land desertification as well as the increasing occurrence of natural disasters such as drought, floods, and high winds. All these environmental problems are closely linked with the shortage of forest, their uneven distribution, and low functional utility.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

Guided by the strategy of promoting afforestation through application of science and technology, the Chinese Government has promulgated a series of afforestation technology regulations and set up scientific and technological systems, information networks for scientific research, and technical extension and supervision, thus promoting the advanced scientific and technological achievements and practical technology to improve the quality of forest breeding and afforestation.

Financing

The revised Forest Law stipulates that the State set up Compensation Fund for Forest Ecological Benefits to be used for silviculture, tending, protection and management of forest resources and trees of shelterbelt and forests for special purposes which create ecological benefits. The Compensation Fund for Forest Ecological Benefits is a special fund that would be used only for its specific purpose other than misappropriation. The detailed regulation on the Fund would be made by the State Council.

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of China to the 5th, 6th & 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1999.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Water Resources is responsible for overall water resources planning and management, major hydro infrastructures, and large hydropower generation. The Ministry of Construction is responsible for urban waste water treatment investment, whereas the National Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for waste water legislation and discharge compliance monitoring. However, the State Council has its special committee in coordination with water cross sectoral issues to determine its major policy and action, for example, during 1996 and 2000, waste water control is focused on three large rivers and three main lakes in China. This committee is chaired by the State Councillor, Mr Son Jian, Chairperson of the State Science and Technology Commission. The State Planning Commission contributes an important role in the major water projects decided in every 5- year national planning, in which the overall budget is approved.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In order to implement China's Agenda 21 in the area of water conservation, the Chinese Government has formulated China's Water Conservation Agenda 21 and the National Plan for Medium- and Long-Term Water Supply and Demand. This agenda has put forward the general objectives for water resource protection and sustainable utilisation. The objectives are: to implement the policy of rational exploration, utilisation, and comprehensive conservation of water; to strengthen the management of river basins and lakes; to improve the management and control of water pollution; and to vigorously maintain and improve the natural utility of water resources and the ecological environment of basins.

In the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000), the water issue is placed at its importance above all other threatening factors. The main tasks include flood control, irrigation efficiency, hydro power station, drinking water improving in dry regions. In fighting with waste water, China has set up its focus on three large rivers: Huaihe, Haihe and Liaohe, and three main lakes: Taihu, Chaohu and Dianchi as the targets for clear up the water in a limited time period. Small production capacity industry is now met with very restricted regulation to either meet discharge compliance within a limited time or shut down. Developing and introducing suitable waste water treatment technologies and establishing integrated water resources management system are placed in China at high priority in dealing with water challenges.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

During the past five years, the Chinese Government has strengthened the integrated development and management of major rivers and lakes. The main objective of this programme is to prevent flooding disasters by heightening and reinforcing major dams, building flood-division areas, and realigning river courses in major rivers and lakes such as the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the lower reaches of the Yellow River, Huaihe River, Haihe River, Songhuajiang River, Liaohe River, and Taihu Lake. A group of important large-scale water conservation projects have been developed to allow more effective control and bring comprehensive benefits. In order to solve the problem of water shortages in northern China, the Chinese Government has vigorously organised the planning and construction of trans-basin water-transferring projects, conducted a scientific feasibility study of transferring water from the south to the north in the central, eastern, and western parts of China, and made preliminary preparations for the project.

In order to bring water pollution under effective control and protect the aquatic environment, beginning in 1994 the Chinese Government carried out the Three Rivers and Three Lakes water pollution control project (Huaihe River, Haihe River, Liaohe River, Taihu Lake, Dianchi Lake, and Chaohu Lake). In 1995, the Interim Regulations on the Protection against Water Pollution in the Huaihe River Basin was issued and the Programme and Ninth Five-Year Plan of Water Pollution Control in the Huaihe Basin was formulated by the Government. It also defined the targets for controlling the total amount of water pollutants discharged into river basins, as well as the maximum permissible discharge amount for major cities, towns, and discharge points. Meanwhile, a deadline was set for closure or production changes in those small-sized paper mills whose production capacity was less than 5,000 tons in the Huaihe Basin. By June 30th of 1996, 1,111 small paper mills in four provinces along the Huaihe River had been closed, reducing COD discharge by 346, 000 tons, and achieving the objective of a 15% reduction in pollutants for that year.

The Chinese Government has organised the compilation of the China Water-Conserving Development Programme for Irrigation Agriculture, drawn up the technology standards suitable for national conditions for various water-conserving irrigation projects, and formulated the plan for the construction of large-scale water-conserving irrigation demonstrations at the national level. At present, the total area covered by water-conserving irrigation has reached 13.33 million hectares. Some practical water-conserving technologies have been developed and these are being used in the technical preparations for the establishment of 300 demonstration counties for water-conserving irrigation projects during the Ninth Five-Year Plan.

In order to solve the drinking water problems of some poor rural areas, the Chinese Government carried out a drinking water project for those areas in 1990. Since 1991, 145,000 drinking water projects have been built, 470,000 drinking water wells have been dug, 199,000 water-collecting facilities have been established, and 174 million rural people have had the problem of inadequate drinking water resolved. With the cooperation of UNICEF, the Government has carried out the Trinity project (water, environmental hygiene, and health education) and achieved preliminary progress. Moreover, the Government has spread low-cost water supply measures and sanitary toilets, and disseminated health knowledge to farmers. With the implementation of the Sweet Dew Project, more than 4 million people in Shaanxi Province and 3.8 million herdsmen in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have achieved adequate drinking water supplies during the past 3 years. A series of drinking water projects have also been carried out in Xinjiang, Gansu, and some other western provinces. All these have eased, to some degree, the difficulties of peasants in water-short areas.

The Chinese Government has greatly promoted the western water resource development plan and carried out a number of utilisation projects that focus on the central and western regions. These projects include the Xinjiang Wuluwati Reservoir project, Tibet Manla Reservoir project, Guizhou Wangerhe Reservoir project, Qinghai Heiquan Reservoir project, Ningxia Fuyanghuang irrigation project, Gansu Changma Reservoir project, etc. These projects will play a very important role in promoting the social and economic development in central and western China, changing the poor and backward situation, improving the eco-environment, and strengthening national solidarity.

Status

In China, freshwater resources are inadequate and unevenly distributed. China's per capita water resources is only one-fourth of the world average. With the growth of the population and economic development, serious water shortages have appeared not only in the arid and semi-arid areas, but also in many cities of northern China. This has become a limitation to economic development. Moreover, all the river basins of the country have been polluted to various degrees, resulting in a further decrease of water resources utility. Therefore, it is important to implement sustainable development in order to rationally use and protect water resources.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

UNDP and several national governments are providing support to a development and conservation project for the Yellow River delta and to the Integrated Development and Management Project of the Mountain-River-Lake Region of Jiangxi Province.

* * * 

This information is based on China's submission to the 5th & 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998

At the sixth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, China gave a national presentation on China's Freshwater Development and Management.

For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Sustainable Resource Development in Tarim Basin", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 " Water Pollution Control and Protection of Water Resources in Sanya City, Hainan Island", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21"Environmental Water Treatment Project in Northern Jiangsu", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Waste Water Treatment Demonstration Project in Luohe City Henan Province", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Integrated Water Management in the Jingsha Urban Area", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Water Pollution Control and Demonstration Project for Dianchi Lake", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Water Pollution Control and Sustainable Use of Resources in the Water-Land Ecosystem of Baiyangdian Lake", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Conservation of Water Environment and Ecology of the Bosteng Lake in Xinjiang, China", click here:

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Land and Resources is the leading agency responsible for overall management of land use in China, and is an administrative body of the State Council for planning, managing and protecting land resources, mineral resources and marine resources. It was established on the basis of the former Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources, the former State Land Administration, the State Bureau of Oceanography and the National Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The following laws and regulations relevant to land management have been issued by the Chinese Government: the Land Administration Law, the Regulations on the Implementation of Law on Land Management, the Regulations on Protection of Basic Farmland, the Regulations on the Rehabilitation of Land, the Provisional Regulations on Land Appreciation Tax, the Administration Measures on Land Use for Construction, etc. The Land Administration Law was revised at the 4th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on August 29, 1998. The newly revised Law is enacted in accordance with the Constitution for the purpose of strengthening land administration, protecting and developing land resources, making proper use of land, effectively protecting cultivated land, and promoting sustainable development of the society and economy. Moreover, illegal land use was included in the revised Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China (issued in 1997). Land management monitoring and inspection systems have been gradually established and completed, thus bringing land management onto the realm of legal administration.

In recent years, the Chinese Government also promulgated and enforced the Law of the People¡¯s Republic of China on Water and Soil Conservation and the Regulations on the Enforcement of Law of the People¡¯s Republic of China on Water and Soil Conservation. All of these have encouraged the control of soil and water loss.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Twenty-five major soil erosion controlled areas have been established at the national level. Soil and water conservation projects have been carried out in the seven large river basins. The accumulated eroded soil area under control is 67 million hectares. The integrated soil erosion control area in the Loess Plateau is 15 million hectares, putting 30% of the eroded soil area under control to some extent and decreasing the annual discharge of silt to the Yellow River by more than 300 million tons.

In 1996, the State Land Administration Bureau engaged, for the first time, a number of inspectors for land management supervision and set up a social supervision system, an important measure towards strengthening the supervision of land law implementation.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Farmers have been mobilised to carry out comprehensive management of mountains, rivers, farmland, forests, and roads in the key 10,000 small river basins with serious soil erosion. From 1991 to 1995, 30,000 square km of soil erosion area and 10,000 square km of wind erosion area were brought under control each year. The Government has formulated the encouraging policy of those who control the area, get the benefit and carried out family contracting, corporate sharing, leasing, and auctioning of the usage rights of the land, as well as other kinds of control measures. These steps have protected the legitimate rights of farmers and aroused their enthusiasm to harness bare mountains and land. As a result of their efforts farmers have gained profits.

Programmes and Projects   

The macro-adjustment and control system has been established with the main contents of the overall plan for land use, the five-year plan for land use, and the annual plan for land use. The Government has set up a primary system of basic land zoning in order to protect farmland and is establishing a management system for land use. It has also drawn up the utilisation and management control system, which provides rational regulations on the location and scale of the land for urban and other kinds of construction. In addition to these steps, the Chinese Government has implemented the construction land management method, which focuses on land scales and allocation of projects, so that construction projects will utilise areas which are not useful for agricultural purposes. Examination and approval systems for all kinds of land use have been adopted. The management system, which focuses on the identification of ownership, registration, and granting of certification, has been established for the rural collective land ownership, reclamation, and development.

In some areas, experiments have been developed to compensate peasants for valuable farmland lost to non-agricultural purposes. Under the premise of guaranteeing the original quantity and quality of the basic farmland reserves, new farmland with equivalent quality and quantity should be reclaimed to compensate for occupied farmland. In cases without reclamation conditions, a cultivation fee is required according to the regulations. This will result in a better utilization of the total amount of farmland.

Status

Since 1989, basic farmland reserves have been established in China. By the end of 1996, 2,100 counties had finished the work and 65% of the farmland is under effective protection. The problem of farmland misuse has been resolved to a certain degree.

Since 1988, when the Chinese Government promulgated the Regulations on Reclamation of Land, great progress has been made in the rehabilitation of abandoned land. According to statistics, 163,300 hectares of abandoned land have been rehabilitated or reused, 75% of which have been used for farmland or other agricultural purposes. In 1995, the State Coal Industry Ministry arranged 10 key demonstration projects such as the project in the area at the conjunction of Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Inner Mongolia which rehabilitates 4,500 hectares of land annually (this being 22.5% of the total subsided area caused by coal mining in that year). Moreover, 1,770 hectares of slag hills were rehabilitated in opencut coal mine areas (amounting to 33% of the total slag hill area created that year). Since the early 1990s, Huaibei City of Anhui Province has made great efforts in the rehabilitation of the subsided land caused by coal mining. The accumulated rehabilitated area was 4,700 hectares, a rehabilitation rate of over 50%.

Challenges

The per capita usable land resources of China are very low and will continue to decrease in quantity and quality. Due to increasing population, industrialisation, and urbanisation, the demand for land resources has increased. A shortage in land resources has become a major limitation to the sustainable economic and social development of China.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

The Canadian Government supports the Sustainable Resource Development Project in the Tarim Region.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of China to the 5th & 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1999.

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MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Programme for Comprehensive Development of Forests in Mountain Areas has been drawn up, and, since 1990, 26.26 million hectares of land in mountain areas have been afforested. Many projects in the field of rural development, agriculture, forestry and water resources development cover mountain areas and address mountain development issues.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

While protecting and making use of forest resources, the Government has made vigorous efforts to develop forest resources in mountain areas and develop forestry and fruit-growing as the backbone industries of the regional economy in order to encourage social and economic development in poverty-stricken areas. For example, in Liuzhou, Guilin, and Hechi Prefectures of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the 18 poor counties from five prefectures of Guizhou Province (which is known as the Ninety Thousand Mountain Area) through forest resources development, industrial structure adjustment, and developing the backbone industries of forestry and fruits, the forest cover of the area has been raised to 37.61% and the per capita income has been increased by RMB 367 yuan.
The Taihang Mountains Afforestation Project involves 110 counties from Beijing, Hebei, Henan, and Shanxi Provinces. It was planned that 3.56 million hectares of forests would be planted by 2050. Since 1993, 1.31 million hectares have been afforested.
The Mountain, River and Lake Project of Jiangxi Province focuses on comprehensive sustainable agricultural development and control of mountains, rivers, and lakes and is a large drainage area control project. With the comprehensive planning, development, and control of over 160,000 square kilometres, over 2 million farmers have been brought out of poverty. Water and soil erosion, ecological deterioration, environmental pollution, and endemic diseases have been effectively controlled. Clearly, a solid basis for future sustainable development has been created in the mountain, river, and lake areas.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

For further information on mountain development issues, please refer to the information provided under the chapters on agriculture, biodiversity, forests, freshwater and land management.

This information is based on China's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The State Oceanic Administration is the lead agency responsible for China's ocean policy making and overall management. The State Science and Technology Commission, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of Agriculture are also major governmental agencies involved in coordination of domestic oceanic affairs.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was ratified in 1996.
A mechanism and a legal system for the management and conservation of marine resources have been established.

On the basis of the existing laws concerning marine environmental protection, China is drafting the Exclusive Economic Law on the Continental Shelf of the People's Republic of China and the Law on Maritime Resource Utilisation Management. China is emphasizing the creation of domestic law consistent with the international maritime laws. It has formulated an oceanic zoning system and national and regional plans for oceanic exploration. It has also created a licensing system for waste discharge into the sea. During the past few years, China has designated 38 areas for waste discharge. Through strengthening law enforcement and monitoring, the Government effectively stopped illegal discharge of wastes into seas. For the control of maritime petroleum exploration, the Government strictly requires that the exploring department be furnished with sewage disposal facilities, and emergency and monitoring facilities for oil-spilling. In 1993, the Xiamen coastal area was chosen as one of the three demonstration areas for the "Maritime Pollution Prevention and Control Project in South Asian Maritime Space" by UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and the International Maritime Affairs Organisation. Through research and practice, the control work of Xiamen coastal area has entered into a stage of programming, coordinated management, joint law enforcement and rational exploration. This has provided examples for the entire country in the management of coastal areas, especially in the prevention of sea pollution.
In recent years, the Chinese fishery department has clearly stipulated that fishery fallowing must be carried out in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea in July and August of every year. This has achieved good results in the protection of maritime fishery resources. Since the early 1990s, 25 nature preserves have been set up, covering a total area of 660,000 hectares. Also, a special ocean environment preserve is planned to effectively protect typical ocean ecosystems and endangered species.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Early in 1995, a common understanding on the principal strategy, objectives, and countermeasures of China's maritime work in the 21st Century was reached after several discussions organised by the State Oceanic Administration and attended by local governments in the coastal areas, ministries in charge of foreign exploration and management, and marine research specialists. After more than one year's efforts, the State Oceanic Administration formally released China's Ocean Agenda 21 in May of 1996 and formulated an Action Plan. These became the guidelines and action framework for the exploration and protection of maritime resources, the improvement of the polluted marine environment, and the implementation of sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

China has a vast maritime space, a long coastal line, and rich marine resources. At present, the marine industry has become a new area of growth for the coastal regions economic development. According to available information, the total annual output of China's marine industry is over RMB 220 billion yuan. Therefore, China considers rational utilisation of marine resources and the protection of marine environment as inseparable and has taken steps to develop and strengthen marine resource management and marine environmental protection.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

China has set up a national maritime environment monitoring network and made improvements in the national maritime information service system and the maritime environment forecast system. At present, the maritime monitoring force is composed of planes, ships, land stations, and buoys. It is responsible for monitoring and supervising the sea environment. The maritime information system and the maritime forecast system have begun to form. People can get timely information on changes in trends of the maritime environment and the daily forecast is broadcast through the central and local radio, and TV stations. This system also provides warnings to prevent disasters due to sudden storms. China has also set up an information-sharing mechanism with nearly 100 institutions in more than 60 countries. China is actively promoting the implementation of the global ocean monitoring system program and participating in the Northeast Asia Ocean Monitoring System Programme. China also formulated a national Oceanic Eco-Environment Monitoring Network Plan.

Research and Technologies  

In 1989, China began to conduct a survey of sea islands. After eight years, it came to a successful end in 1996 with a primary understanding of the quantity of the country's sea islands and the marine resources on and near these islands, as well as the environmental, social, and economic conditions of the islands and surrounding areas. These steps have laid the foundation for rational exploration and utilisation of China's sea islands. Since 1993, China has approved six sea islands national comprehensive experimental development areas (Changdao Island of Shandong Province, Zhoushan Liuheng Island of Zhejiang Province, Haitan Island of Fujian Province, Changhai Island of Liaoning Province, Nan'ao Island of Guangdong Province, and Weizhou Island of Guangxi Province.) After more than three years of construction, outstanding benefits have been achieved. For example, in the experimental area of Liaoning's Changhai Island, people made great efforts in the development and promotion of seven floating-raft aquaculture projects and seabed sowing technology, including those for shrimp and scallops. The ratio of input to output is 1:3.5. The total annual economic profit of these projects is more than RMB 340 million yuan.

In order to strengthen the comprehensive management capability of coastal areas, China has listed some key technology research areas in the Ninth Five-Year Plan for intensive scientific and technological attention. They include: research on key technologies for utilisation of coastal resources and environment, research on key technologies for comprehensive utilisation of sea water resources, research on key technologies for oceanic energy generation, and research on key technologies for membranes. In 1996, China started to implement a program to develop the ocean through application of science and technology, and to promote economic development in coastal areas.

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

China is involved in cooperation on international marine legislation, marine living resources in high seas, sea bed mineral resources, marine scientific research, marine environmental protection, polar exploration and peaceful use, and marine affairs cooperation and exchange in the Asia-Pacific Region.

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This information is based on China's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Prevention and Control of Marine Oil Spills", click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    '

The Ministry of the Chemical Industry is the lead agency dealing with toxic chemicals overall policy and management. The National Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for legislation of all kinds of solid waste environmental compliance and monitoring, and as well for prevention of illegal international traffic in hazardous wastes, including toxic chemicals. In case of a cross sectoral issue regarding toxic chemicals causing heavy impact to the environmental, like the case of chromic slag pollution, a joint action will be taken from chemical industry, local environmental protection agency and local government to cope with the pollution disaster.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was ratified in 1991.
In October of 1995, China promulgated the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste. This law has brought the control of solid waste (especially hazardous waste) into the legal structure.

In order to control the import of hazardous wastes, in 1991 China promulgated the Circular on the Strict Control of Transfer of Hazardous Waste into China. After several experiences with hazardous waste import, China promulgated in November of 1995 the Urgent Circular on Resolute and Strict Control of Transfer of Foreign Waste into China. Also, in March of 1996, the Government promulgated the Provisional Regulations on Waste Import and Environmental Protection. China is resolutely prosecuting those discovered to have imported hazardous waste. The Government also urged the countries concerned to observe the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal and has instructed the enterprises concerned to return the waste to the donor country and make compensations for relevant loss.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In order to identify the variety, characteristics, quantity, and pollution situation of solid waste (especially the hazardous types), find out major sources of pollution, and to promote waste utilisation and disposal, China has conducted experiments of solid waste registration in 17 cities, including Nantong, Jinan, Shenyang, and Shanghai since 1992. In terms of waste registration, the Government has begun to carry out a permit and manifest system for the centralised utilisation and disposal of wastes. In April 1993, the National Environmental Protection Agency promulgated the Implementation Programme of Experiments on Waste Exchange, which defines the waste exchange's basis, type, treatment process, procedure, experiment requirement, etc. Three years of experimental work has laid a solid foundation for waste exchange.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

In order to safely dispose of hazardous wastes, China has built a standard waste disposal plant in Shenzhen City. Regional centralised waste burning and burying plants are also being built in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. These plants have improved the cities' environment.

Status

Since 1992, China has promoted waste minimisation in the industrial departments. Efforts have been made to conserve resources, reduce consumption, recycle, and make comprehensive use of wastes. Meanwhile, a series of solid waste storage and disposal facilities have been built. These efforts remarkably reduced the amount of industrial waste from 33.76 million tons in 1991 to 22.42 million tons in 1995. Also, the amount of waste poured directly into rivers, lakes, and seas each year has dropped from 11.81 million tons in 1991 to 6.49 million tons in 1995.
As a result of its extensive production pattern, China's industrial solid waste output is about 644 million tons each year, of which 2.4% is considered hazardous (poisonous, reactive, corrosive, explosive, or flammable) waste. Urban domestic trash production amounts to 100 million tons. Therefore, it has become an important task to reduce the amount of solid wastes and render them harmless.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information is based on China's submission to the 5th & 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of the Chemical Industry is the responsible national level agency dealing with toxic chemicals overall policy and management.The National Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for the legislation under the Solid Waste Act which comprises the management of hazardous and dangerous wastes disposal. The National Environmental Protection Agency is also responsible for environmental impact assessment concerning projects that generate hazardous products. Environmental inspection for the safe disposal of hazardous waste is a joint effort between NEPA and other relevant ministries.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Other than the government, the Chinese Research Academy for Environmental Sciences is the national level research body for the technical solution of waste disposal problems. In each province, there are research institutes responsible for developing or adopting safe solid waste methods and technologies.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

China is currently in a pilot phase, introducing legislation of solid waste disposal, landfill and incineration facilities. Due to its large cost, advanced technologies for burial or burning the waste may not be suitable for dissemination until the future. A joint cooperation to develop out suitable technologies based on cost- effective analysis for safe disposal of solid waste is strongly recommended by local governments in China. In some pilot localities, such as Hangzhou and Shengzheng cities, low cost landfills are now under construction.

Challenges

The mechanization level for waste collection and treatment is low. Equipment is obsolete and not suitable for the task. The scientific and technological level of waste treatment and disposal is in urgent need of improvement. In this area, active cooperation with international companies has been carried out. More such cooperation is expected to introduce or jointly develop suitable technologies for China.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The State Bureau of Nuclear Safety is responsible for safe management and disposal of radioactive wastes. Under China's governmental structure, the State Bureau of Nuclear Safety is affiliated with the State Science and Technology Commission of China.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In 1992, the Chinese Government promulgated China's Environmental Policy on the Disposal of Middle- and Low-Level Radioactive Waste. Examination of the operation of the Qinshan and Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plants has shown that the land gamma radiation levels around the plants and the radioactive elements in soil, water, air-dissolved rubber, sediment, and biological samples are all within the data scope. A model plant is under construction for the disposal of radioactive wastes from the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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Please refer also to the information provided under Toxic Chemicals.

This information is based on China's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Marketing Secondary Resources Reclaimed From Waste", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Municipal Solid Waste Management Systems, Technical Standards and Capacity Building in China", click here:
For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Technical Support and Disposal Demonstration Project of Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Materials in China", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Safe and Effective Management of Radioactive Wastes", click here:
For access to the Priority Programme of China's Agenda 21 "Radioactive Waste Disposal Technology Demonstration Project", click here:


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