Global Celebrations for World Environment Day 2019
Following the close of the Annual General Meeting, many China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) participants stayed to take part in the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) celebration of World Environment Day, which this year took place in Hangzhou, on the theme of ‘Beat Air Pollution.’
Li Ganjie, Executive Vice Chairperson of CCICED, and Minister of Ecology and Environment, China, chaired the ceremony, which more than 1,100 participants attended. Han Zheng, Vice-Premier, China, delivered a greeting from President Xi Jinping, China, calling for continued global efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. In his message, Xi pledged to continue national development policies that promote the ‘green is gold’ concept to encourage harmony between humans and nature.
Li introduced measures taken by China since 2013 in fighting air pollution, including industrial restrictions and promoting clean energy development. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China, also launched its ‘blue sky campaign’ and released its Air Quality Improvement Report 2013-18, highlighting many achievements in this regard to date.
Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UNEP, shared a message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in which he called on governments to tax pollution, end fossil fuel subsidies, and stop building new coal-fired power plants. Msuya added her own comments, noting the Chinese government’s allocation of more than USD 10 billion from 2013-18 to fight air pollution and stressed that blue skies need protection all around the world.
Ban Ki-moon, President and Chair, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and former UN Secretary-General, concurred that air pollution cannot be dealt with alone and called for the solidarity of nations in combating it.
Li Haisheng, President, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, presented the newly-released Air Quality Improvement Report 2013-18, explaining achievements and remaining challenges. Other speakers included municipal officials and private individuals, including a former winner of the UN Champions of the Earth award, Jiang Lijuan, an entrepreneur from Chun’an, Zhejiang, who had successfully established a sustainable tourism business in her hometown.
In a concluding segment, several other individuals engaged in green development efforts in different parts of China were invited on stage to share their experiences, including: launching a campaign to promote the use of public transport and cycling instead of driving short distances; expanding the use of share-bikes in Hangzhou; increasing the transparency of waste management operations by opening incineration plants to the public for monitoring; and improving pollution monitoring through scientific research into the chemical composition of air and expanding networks of pollution monitoring stations.
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