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NGOs discuss environment plans at forum
By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-13 05:24

China's non-governmental voice has grown stronger in the recent global discussions on environmental issues held in Dubai at the beginning of this month.

The high-profile delegation, sent by the All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF), one of the most influential environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) in China, was led by Song Jian, ACEF chairman.

At the forum, Song has clearly set forth China's standpoints on three main topics energy and the environment, chemicals management and tourism and the environment.

The two-day environmental forum was attended by NGOs from more than 160 different countries and regions.

Song supports the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, and called for an additional organization to pool funds to make sure developing countries have safe chemicals.

"China will make an effort to fulfil its commitment of dealing with toxic chemicals safely, such as some persistent organic pollutants," Song said.

"But according to the country's conditions, some chemicals, such as pesticides, should be eliminated step by step," he said.

"The country has a large population to feed. If we stop the use of pesticide immediately, food security could not be guaranteed," he added.

ACEF said it disagrees with the strong objections to the establishment of dams and the development of nuclear power made by many European NGOs.

"China should actively develop nuclear power as well as keep it safe," Song said. "And the country will spread the technology of coal liquefaction to take over from fossil fuels as a kind of clean energy."

"Hydro power is an important and clear kind of energy for China," Song said. "Through protecting local ecology, China will not give up the construction of hydro power plants."

The seventh United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Civil Society Forum was held to collect suggestions from international environmental NGOs for the ninth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, held last week.

After meeting the Chinese delegation, Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director, expressed his hope of increasing co-operation with China's environmental NGOs. Currently, UNEP carries on most of its co-operations with the official governmental departments.

ACEF also wants to speed up its learning and sharing with foreign organizations, Song said.

"China's environmental NGOs are still not strong enough to cope with the country's environmental problems," said Li Hengyuan, secretary-general of ACEF.

"We have a long way to go to strengthen our capabilities."

(China Daily 02/13/2006 page2)

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