Future holds rich opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, says German official.
China needs to put the environment at the center of its coming 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and fully implement existing laws and regulations to control pollution, according to a senior German environmental official.
China and Germany have great potential for cooperation on broad environmental issues, said Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary of the German federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
“ We have many ongoing cooperation programs,” he said,” Environmental protection in the area of air, soil, water or waste management, as well as climate protection, are priorities within our bilateral cooperation”. Cooperation with China is intensive. The German international Climate Initiative has already commissioned 32 bilateral projects costing 74.1million Euros($83.1million), he said.
Flasbarth made the remarks at the International Advisory Meeting on the Environment and Development for China’s 13 Five-Year Plan, which was held from June 8-10 in Beijing.
Meeting with Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Tuesday, Flasbarth said China should place the environment at the center, not at the margins, of the Five-Year plan- a priority Zhang endorsed, adding that it’s not something China can neglect.
The plan, which serves as a road map for the country’s social and economic development, is currently being drafted. It will include a chapter devoted to details of ecological growth and will set metrics for how to reach specific goals in ecological development, said Yang Chunping, a member of a think tank of the the National Development and Reform Commission, the national economic planner.
Germany experienced severe pollution in the 1960s and 70s, “When you could see, feel, smell and taste it”, Flasbarth said, adding that it took 20years to significantly reduce pollution in the air and water.
During the effort, Germany realized it’s better to design the whole process so that industrial pollution does not appear in the first place, rather than trying to manage emissions at the end of the process, he said. To accomplish that, the country invested in technology and innovation.
China is confronted with serious pollution that has come with rapid economic growth, and the two countries can share and cooperate on a large scale, according to officials and companies on both sides.