China and the United States will strengthen co-operation in environmental protection with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), after a tripartite co-operation statement signed on Friday in Beijing.
"Signing the co-operation statement is a great step forward under the two countries' environmental co-operation framework," said Stephen Johnson, chief of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in his second trip to China with the US delegation to the first Sino-US strategic economic dialogue.
"The statement was signed to protect the environment by promoting sustainable economic growth, achieving effective policy reform, strengthening institutional management and improving human resources," said Zhou Shengxian, minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
"It establishes a framework for tripartite co-operation and expresses the willingness of the three parties to work together and take full advantage of their strengths."
SEPA hopes that, with the US experiences in environmental protection and financial backup from ADB, China would launch two projects next year: capability building in its newly-established five regional supervision centres on the environment, and setting up a cap and trade system of sulphur dioxide (SO2), according to Tang Dingding, vice director of the international co-operation department of SEPA.
The United States has accumulated experience with the establishment of 10 regional environmental watchdogs, as well as in the operation of its SO2 cap and trade system.
At present, Sino-US environmental co-operation focuses on controlling water and air pollution, and managing toxic substances and hazardous and solid waste.
The two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SEPA and the US EPA on Scientific and Technical Co-operation in the Field of the Environment in Washington a year ago.
The two sides also approved a strategy that promised co-operation on water safety, pollution, and a compensation system on water quality between upstream and downstream users under a Water Pollution Annex to the MOU.
In April this year, during Johnson's first visit to China as chief of the US EPA, an annex on hazardous waste to the MOU was signed in Beijing, marking an all-around launch of environmental co-operation under the MOU.
The ADB and China have also kept close relations in co-operation on environmental protection in China.
Last week, Bindu Lohani, director-general of the regional sustainable development department of the ADB, was awarded the title of Green Celebrity of the Year 2006 for helping China in capability building of its five regional environmental protection supervision centres.
"As a regional organization with an extensive economic development programme in China, ADB has a strategic plan to promote sustainable development and environmental protection in China," said Toru Shibuichi, country director of ADB.
"ADB is sure there will be many benefits to be gained from furthering this tripartite collaboration," he said.
Source: China Daily