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MEP holds national on-the-spot meeting on promoting ecological progress

Li Ganjie highlights the importance to study and implement the important strategic thoughts of General Secretary Xi Jinping on promoting ecological progress, adhere to the green development outlook that "lush mountains and lucid waters are invaluable assets", strive to open up new prospects for promoting ecological progress, and meet the latest expectations of the people for sound ecological environment.

On Sept. 21, MEP held the national on-the-spot meeting on promoting ecological progress in Anji County of Zhejiang Province in East China, in order to implement the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, wrap up the progress of the national environmental protection branches in promoting ecological progress, share successful local practices and experience, and make plans for the priority tasks at the next stage. Minister Li Ganjie and Governor of Zhejiang Province Yuan Jiajun presented and spoke at the meeting.

The documentary reflecting the important thought that “lush mountains and lucid waters are invaluable assets” is played at the beginning of the meeting, and then the plates are granted to the first 13 practice and innovation bases and 46 national pilot cities and counties for promoting ecological progress.

In his remarks, Li said since the 18th National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has incorporated ecological progress into the overall plan for promoting economic, political, social, cultural, and ecological progresses, and the “four-prolonged” comprehensive strategy, which constitute the important strategic thought of Xi Jinping on promoting ecological progress. In order to implement this thought, we must respect nature, conform to nature, and protect nature, and shape a new framework for the modernization drive featured with harmony between man and nature. We must embrace the green development outlook, work to develop green development patterns and lifestyles, and strive to balance socioeconomic development with ecological conservation. We must adhere to the people-centered philosophy and view the healthy ecological environment as wellbeing that should be enjoyed by all. We must take the mountain, water, forest, grassland, farmland, and lake ecosystems as a community of shared life, and protect and manage them by the inherent laws of ecosystems. We must preserve the ecological environment with the toughest institutions and promote the ecological progress by establishing institutions and mechanisms. We must seek win-win solutions to promoting global ecological progress and make our due contributions to the global environmental governance.

The conservation of ecological environment as the main platform for promoting ecological progress has made notable achievements, said Li. We have implemented the air, water, and soil action plans in full scale, fueled the development of environmental infrastructure and integrated environmental management projects, and steadily improved the environmental quality. Also, we have optimized the industrial layout and promoted green production patterns through environmental impact assessment, improved environmental standards, and more strict regulation and enforcement. We have delineated ecological conservation red lines, strengthened the regulation over nature reserves, and implemented major projects to protect biodiversity. Furthermore, we have deepened the environmental reforms, and rolled out central environmental protection inspection and other landmark reform measures. We have conducted awareness activities and opened more channels for public participation. The ecological awareness has been unprecedentedly deep over the past five years since the 18th National Congress, thanks to the solid, efficient and effective measures taken to promote ecological progress.

Li pointed it out that the integration of practices with theories is what is needed to promote ecological progress. Over the past few years, multi-layered pilot, experimental, and demonstration projects have been important platforms for promoting ecological progress. Those include the national ecological civilization pilot areas which have facilitated the reforms on the ecological conservation, the eco-province initiatives which have laid the groundwork for ecological progress, the practice and innovation bases which have set examples to realize the concept that “lush mountains and lucid waters are invaluable assets”, as well as the demonstrations areas of ecological civilization which have invigorated the local areas in the ecological drive.

We will align our thoughts and actions with the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and earnestly implement the tasks for promoting ecological progress, for now and for a period of time to come, emphasized Li. First of all, we will take the political responsibility for promoting ecological progress and protecting ecological environment. Second, we will work to adopt green development patterns and lifestyles, establish ecosystem function protection benchmarks, environmental quality safety bottom lines, and upper limits for natural resource utilization. A negative list will be prepared to deny enterprises the environmental access, and environmental standards will be improved to push for industrial restructuring and optimization. Also, we will launch awareness activities and advocate green consumption and public participation. Third, we will make greater efforts in the environmental governance and ecological conservation. We will focus on the control of air, water, and soil pollution, step up the ecological restoration, tighten the environmental compliance inspection and regulation, and prevent and address environmental risks, in order to safeguard the immediate interests of the people and the social harmony and stability. Fourth, we will deepen the reforms in the ecological and environmental protection sector. On the one hand, we will implement the reform documents already put in place by the central authorities, on the other hand, we will mull over new reform measures. We will formulate the list of ecological conservation responsibilities as soon as possible, work harder on the central environmental protection inspection, move forward with the reforms for a vertical management framework for environmental monitoring, inspection and enforcement by environmental institutions below provincial level, establish pilot trans-regional environmental protection institution and piloting the establishment of watershed-specific environmental regulation and enforcement institutions. We will introduce a pollutant permitting system that covers all of the stationary pollution sources, centralize the surface water quality monitoring powers, and improve the environmental protection market system. Fifth, we will continue with the pilot and demonstration projects. We will make strenuous efforts to develop the first batch of practice and innovation bases guided by the concept that “lush mountains and lucid waters are invaluable assets”, enable the ecological civilization demonstration projects to work as the platform to promote ecological progress, and set up corresponding working mechanisms to unclog the bottleneck for promoting ecological progress. The Ministry will develop more institutions to standardize the eco-drives in pilot cities and counties, give equal weight to incentive and disincentive measures, spread the influence of the piloting efforts, and coordinate the eco-province/-city/-county development with the establishment of national ecological civilization pilot areas.

Yuan Jiajun extended welcome to the participants on behalf of the provincial Party committee and government of Zhejiang. The national on-the-spot meeting on promoting ecological progress was convened in Yucun Village of Anji County, where General Secretary Xi Jinping was inspired and proposed the important thought that “lush mountains and lucid waters are invaluable assets”, said Yuan. We’ve taken this opportunity to refresh our memory about this concept. To strengthen ecological conservation and environmental governance and take a path of green development and ecological civilization is Zhejiang’s inevitable choice for sustainable development, as parts of the local efforts to implement the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. The province will strengthen the top-down design, focus on the improvement of environmental quality, and make overall plans for the water, air, and soil pollution control, as well as the environmental management of mountains, and urban and rural areas. It will enhance institutional innovation, take the lead to establish ecological civilization schemes and mechanisms, and work out a performance evaluation mechanism linked with the main functions of the respective administrative areas. Moreover, Zhejiang will deepen the supply side structural reforms and remove the obstructions to the ecological conservation and economic development. Furthermore, it will practice Xi’s important thought, take the ecological development up to new levels, and make due contributions to the building of a beautiful country.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Li went on a field trip to Yucun Village of Anji County, Mantangli Hamlet of Lingfeng Sub-district, and Hangzhou Jiufeng garbage incineration project. He gave full recognition to the achievements made by Zhejiang and hoped that the province could make greater efforts, provide more green experience and meet the people’s expectations for a beautiful environment.

Vice Minister Huang Runqiu presided over the meeting and took part in the field trip. Deputy Governor of Zhejiang Province Xiong Jianping presented at the meeting and accompanied Li in the field trip.

The directors general of the environmental protection departments (EPDs) of all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the heads of the focal points within the EPDs, directors general of relevant internal departments and affiliated institutions of the Ministry, and the heads of the first batch of practice and innovation bases and national ecological civilization demonstration cities and counties attended the meeting.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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