18th June 2021
The EU-China Environment Project concluded its first phase with a seminar on June 16th, following a series of exchange activities covering climate change, biodiversity, the environment and trade, marine protection and the green economic recovery.
The initiative aimed at strengthening cooperation between the EU and China on environmental protection, and supported a wave of policy developments which address urgent biodiversity and climate issues.
These exchanges have helped usher in key legislation and policies aimed at bolstering environmental protection standards and increasing on environmental governance, including:
• The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, to be agreed upon at COP15 in Kunming this year;
• China’s National Pollutant Discharge Permitting Regulation;
• The Yangtze River Protection Law, China’s first legislation on a specific river basin
Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin praised the EU-China Environment Project, noting that it has been “an important component of the EU and China's environmental cooperation.
“In three years, it has successfully supported mutually beneficial policy dialogue between China and the EU, provided a communication platform for policymakers and experts, and provided support for the common challenges the two sides face in the fields of biodiversity, environmental law, green transition and green economic recovery."
High-level officials from the China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) attended the closing event.
It also brought together officials and experts from the EU Delegation in China, the European Commission, European member state embassies, the International Centre of Cooperation of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the Development Research Center of China’s State Council, the UNDP, Ellen McArthur Foundation and the WWF.
The EU-China Environment Project, funded by the European Commission, was established in 2018 to foster policy integration and collaboration between China and the EU. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the focus shifted towards how to address biodiversity loss and climate change and promote a green recovery in the face of an economic downturn, with online workshops replacing international travel.
EU ambassador Nicolas Chapuis noted that “the project managed to organise a great deal of activities to bring together experts and policy makers from both sides”.
“It contributed to move forward in some of the most important files under discussion at the global stage, such as biodiversity, pollution and climate related issues,” he said.
“The EU and China should continue to support these channels of cooperation that help us to jointly address the mounting global environmental challenges.”
ClientEarth has supported implementation of the project, as part of a consortium including the Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy (PRCEE) of China’s MEE, and GOPA.
The second phase of the project is expected to start soon, running until June 2024. Like the first phase, it will implement a series of joint studies, workshops, short papers, trainings, and study visits, addressing priority topics.
*picture shows Zhao Yingmin, China’s Vice Minister of Environment and Ecology, and Nicolas Chapuis, the EU ambassador to China, sitting together at the meeting.