Environmental Policy Programme

Programme description

Title: Environmental Policy Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: China
Lead executing agency: Department of Environment and Resources Conservation, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development
Overall term: 2007 to 2011

Context

China's economic growth is causing serious environmental degradation, which involves a financial cost of as much as 12 % of its GDP, according to World Bank estimates. China faces immense environmental challenges, such as extreme air and water pollution, ever-growing waste mountains, the effects of climate change and problems in implementing environmental legislation.

The central government and local authorities have committed themselves to balancing economic goals with increasingly stringent environmental objectives. This is reflected in the targets set out in the 11th and 12th Five-Year Plans. However, the relevant institutions are often not capable of shaping environmental policy in a way that will ensure it can be implemented.

Objective

National and local key institutions have gained appropriate capacities for developing the necessary environmental policy regulations, and for implementing them.

Approach

The project team advises the key institutions NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission), CCICED (China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China (MEP) on a demand-oriented basis on developing and applying an effective environmental policy. The programme consists of three components.

Environmental policy development: The GIZ team advises the NDRC on preparing the waste management strategy set out in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011 to 2015), and on energy and resource efficiency in the chemicals industry.

Environmental legislation and implementation: GIZ is advising the MEP on chemicals management, licensing procedures, air quality, biodiversity, climate-related product labelling and capacity development to ensure more effective environmental monitoring. The programme also advises China as it prepares to sign the UN Convention on Mercury.

International dialogue on environmental policy: Experts are advising China's State Council about chemicals management, economic instruments for energy efficiency and environmental protection, and on the management of ecosystems.

Results achieved so far

The Environmental Policy Programme played a key role in a number of new environmental laws and regulations that China has initiated in recent years. New statutory implementation guidelines, for example, have improved in-process environmental protection in the chemicals industry and promoted the sustainable use of resources. Changes to licensing procedures mean that companies that pollute the water and air must produce a license to do so and are subject to controls.

Environmental inspectors have undergone training and now apply a German methodology to assess the potential risks of chemical plants. The inspectors are applying this checklist method in pilot projects and are thereby ensuring that environmental legislation is being observed and accidents prevented.

As a result of the advisory services, the Chinese MEP enacting regulations that forced all petrol stations in China to undergo a refit. Dangerous hydrocarbons are now drawn off, thus reducing the impact on the environment. The necessary technology for this was provided by German industry.

Local key institutions, such as the authorities responsible for environmental monitoring, have completed an incremental training programme that enables them to monitor companies more efficiently.