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Thursday, March 02, 2000, updated at 16:10(GMT+8)


China to Achieve Sustainable Development in 50 Years

China has published Wednesday "The Report on China's Strategy for Sustainable Development" which predicts that the country can achieve its target of sustainable development by the year 2050.

The report is the brainchild of a group of scholars from the China Academy of Sciences (CAS), headed by Niu Wenyuan, a researcher with a CAS institute studying State policies on the development of science and technology.

China is expected to see zero population growth, a leveling of the consumption of resources and energy, and the end to bio-environmental degeneration by the years 2030, 2040, and 2050, respectively, which are the strategic goals for the country's sustainable development, according to the CAS report.

Having achieved both a low birth rate and low infant mortality, China is entering into a stage of population control at a level similar to developed nations, which is preparing the country for zero population growth, the report says.

It predicts that China will achieve zero population growth by 2030, when the country's population is at 1.6 billion.

According to estimates by the United Nations, by 2050, China's population is expected to decline to 1.517 billion, at which time India will replace China as the most populous country in the world.

Only when the pressure of population is relaxed can a country also achieve zero growth in its consumption of resources and energy and, consequently, relieve the threat of a degenerating bio-environment and head toward sustainable economic and social development, said Niu, the group leader who attended today's gathering at which the report was released.

According to the report, zero population growth is likely to contribute 1.2 to 1.5 percentage points to GNP growth, and 6.6 to 7.0 points in the growth of employment, while decreasing the consumption of resources and energy.

A zero growth in population could also accelerate the extension of life expectancy, the report says, noting that by 2050, the average Chinese will have 12 years of education.

The report estimates that by 2040, China will achieve zero growth in the consumption of resources and energy, namely a balance between development and land utilization, a balance between exploiting and fostering forestry resources, and a long-term balance in the consumption of energy and mineral resources.

Any country that plans to achieve sustainable development will have to go through these three stages, the reports.

Currently, 65 percent of the developed nations have reached the goal of zero population growth, and the United States, Japan, Australia, and several European nations are making efforts to achieve zero growth in the consumption of materials and energy, the report concludes.

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