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Nation vows proactive contribution to progress

By HOU LIQIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-11 07:27
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Aerial photo taken on Aug 23, 2021 shows the scenery of Saihanba forest farm in North China's Hebei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

China continues to support cooperation on green development, vice-premier says

Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng reaffirmed the country's commitment to multilateralism in global environmental progress on Thursday, vowing proactive contributions to global sustainable development.

The country will also make endeavors to promote full, effective and continuous implementation of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as to host a successful COP 15 United Nations Biodiversity Conference, he said, addressing the closing ceremony of the annual general meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

The world's biggest biodiversity meeting in a decade, the COP 15 UN Biodiversity Conference will be held in Kunming, Yunnan province, from Oct 11 to 15 and in the first half of next year.

"I hope the council members and experts continue to offer opinions and recommendations and make new, even greater contributions to promote the comprehensive green transition in China's economic and social development, as well as the construction of a clean and beautiful world," he continued.

Established in 1992, the council is a high-level international advisory body that provides policy advice to the Chinese government.

Addressing the closing ceremony via a video link, leaders of international organizations said China plays a critical role in providing the leadership and contributing solutions for the world's endeavor to a sustainable future.

"The decisions of our generation in Kunming and Glasgow as well as in China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) require innovative transforming approaches towards inclusive, green development," said Achim Steiner, CCICED vice-chairman and also administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

From Oct 31 to Nov 12, the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

"We are now discussing how to reestablish the old system and how to create a new normal. A new normal that is (UN Sustainable Development Goals) compatible, nature positive and climate responsible and inclusive," he continued.

He said the Kunming and Glasgow summits offer unique opportunities to increase ambition to address many of the threats to people, the planet and prosperity.

"Each country will have to make its own decisions, but collectively we will define the world's ambitions," he said, adding many countries look to China to see how they can contribute to raising global ambitions to the greatest extent possible.

"The China leadership will be critical for building the sustainable future for all among the community of nations," he said.

Besides decarbonizing its economy in years ahead as it has committed, China also needs to adopt sustainability standards of pricing and set out a roadmap of financing a green future, in which the country has already pioneered, he said.

Kristin Halvorsen, CCICED vice-chairwoman, said she has found China a completely different country compared with 1985 when she first visited.

"I'm also very impressed by all your achievements during the last decades, especially your fight against poverty.

"To go into a broad range of challenges, climate change, threats against biodiversity and the need for just transition to the sustainable economy. I'm impressed by the expertise that CCICED can mobilize to contribute to solve these tasks," said Halvorsen, also director of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research.

"I also appreciate how the experts try to focus on solutions," she added.

Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, said COP 15 is "a wonderful opportunity to reverse the tragic loss of nature".

"We all agree that we stand at a crucial time in history. Massive risks and huge opportunities," he said.

"We all agree that China's role in finding solutions is obviously crucial. China has demonstrated it can drive down the cost of technology and can implement it at unprecedented scale."

Stephen Heintz, president and CEO of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, said the Chinese leadership is committed to building an ecological civilization and it is clear China has reliable allies in the diverse international leaders and organizations represented at this annual general meeting.

"I think CCICED can be seen as a model of global trust-building, cooperation and effective partnership," he said.

He said this model will help China reach it ambitious goals of peaking carbon dioxide emissions and going carbon neutral. They are helping the world community to a future of net zero emissions.

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