Sino-German Environmental Partnership

Project description

Title: Sino-German Environmental Partnership
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: China
Partner: Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP)
Overall term: 2013 to 2016

Context

According to a study by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences, the annual costs incurred as a result of damage to the environment and the climate in China amount to more than 230 billion US dollars or 3.5 per cent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP). With the current 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP 2011-2015), the Chinese Government is pursuing the objective of transforming the Chinese economy into a green and low carbon economy in the medium to long term. Despite making considerable progress with the design and implementation of modern environmental legislation, much work still needs to be done.

Objective

The Sino-German strategic environmental dialogue on policy development and implementation in the areas of environmental protection and climate- and resource-friendly patterns of consumption and production is supported and intensified.

Approach

In order to encourage efforts to put into effect modern policy approaches and implementation strategies and to promote their inclusion in the 13th FYP, the project supports the sharing of experience between Germany and China on selected topics within the strategic environmental dialogue, climate change mitigation and core topics of the 12th FYP. These core topics include improving water, air and soil quality and increasing sustainable consumption through environmental labelling.

The project works with the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) to support the drafting of policy recommendations to the Chinese State Council on specific climate, environment and development matters by drawing on German and international expertise.

Results

The project has been advising the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on air quality and integrated permitting since 2013 in close cooperation with the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The Ministry's Department of Total Pollutants Control has been mandated to present comprehensive legislative regulations by the end of 2015 with the aim of improving environmental protection in industry. As a result of the advisory services provided by the project, lessons learned in Germany concerning a number of aspects were taken into account in the new regulations. These included the integration of existing instruments such as environmental impact assessments and binding emissions standards into the new permitting procedure; the bundling of permitting processes to make the application procedure for companies more efficient; the improvement of data collection, analysis and quality as well as the establishment of an efficient data management system; and the strengthening of the financial and human resources of the permitting authorities.

The project has successfully supported exchanges of personnel between MEP’s Environmental Development Center and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in the areas of eco-labelling and green public procurement. In the run-up to a conference in November 2014, both parties signed a cooperation agreement that specifies the steps planned up to the end of 2016 for the further harmonisation of environmental labels. The focus is on harmonising award criteria to support producers in submitting their applications for the national environmental label in the relevant partner country. The project, which is part of the German Federal Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative (IKI), will support the selection of suitable product groups, the development of a standardised certification mechanism and the recognition of the relevant certification authorities.

Since it began, the project has been drawing on German expertise and international success stories to support the CCICED working groups in the areas of sustainable consumption and production, corporate social responsibility, urbanisation, institutional innovation and the evaluation of the national plan of measures for air pollution control. At the CCICED Annual General Meetings, the working groups' policy recommendations are prepared for the State Council. As part of this process, the working groups have successfully included lessons learned in Germany and Europe.

Barbara Hendricks, the German Federal Environment Minister, became International Vice-Chairperson of CCICED in 2014. This is a clear sign of the high regard in which Sino-German cooperation is held and will pave the way for stepping up collaboration.

Further information