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Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-10 07:23

III. Environmental Rights

China will implement a strategy of sustainable development, follow the general principle of reducing pollution and carbon emission, and promote green development. It will build a system to secure eco-environmental progress, improve the legal system for environmental protection, and accelerate green and low-carbon development. It will improve the environment, constantly meet people's increasing demands for a beautiful environment, and ensure harmony between man and nature.

1. Pollution Prevention and Control

China will fight and win the battle against pollution and continuously improve the eco-environment.

-Improving air quality. The state will take further actions to prevent and control atmospheric pollution, and coordinate its commitments to reducing air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. It will keep improving air quality across the country and largely eliminate heavy pollution. Specific targets include: the average PM2.5 intensity in cities at or above the prefectural level to fall by 10 percent; the total emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds both to drop by more than 10 percent.

-Strengthening water treatment and protection. China will continue the environmental protection campaign to treat black and malodorous water bodies in cities and largely eliminate such phenomena in urban built-up areas. More efforts will be made to treat sewage in cities, towns and industrial parks and designate township-level concentrated drinking water source protection areas. The state will carry out comprehensive environmental improvement projects in key waters and preserve and enhance beautiful bays.

-Intensifying soil conservation. China will consolidate and improve the safe use of agricultural land, reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and treat the pollution caused by agricultural plastic film. Departments taking major responsibility for supervision will be urged to fulfill their obligations in soil pollution prevention and control.

-Improving the treatment of sewage and solid waste. China will achieve full coverage of sewage pipe networks in urban areas, and ensure that treatment to render sewage sludge harmless reaches 90 percent and that the rate of utilizing municipal sewage as a resource exceeds 25 percent in water-constrained cities at the prefectural level and above. Centralized hazardous waste reuse and disposal facilities will be built with major industrial bases as the main locations. Efforts will be made to speed up the construction of centralized medical waste disposal facilities in cities at the prefectural level and above, and improve the collection, transport and disposal system for medical waste in every county.

-Improving garbage disposal in urban and rural areas. A basic system for dropping, collecting, transporting and disposing of sorted household garbage will be established in cities at the prefectural level and above. The national urban household garbage recycling rate will exceed 35 percent. Rural household garbage disposal will be advanced comprehensively, to realize extensive coverage of the waste collection, transport and disposal systems.

-Improving law-based environmental governance. China will improve its eco-environmental legal system. It will formulate and revise laws and regulations on Yellow River harnessing, noise pollution prevention and control, marine environmental protection, carbon emission trading management and eco-environmental monitoring. It will steadily push forward the formulation and revision of environmental standards, carry on the reform of comprehensive environmental law enforcement, and take resolute action against illegal and criminal activities in the eco-environmental field in accordance with the law.

2. Eco-Environmental Information Disclosure

China will make environmental information more transparent, and effectively guarantee people's right to be informed.

-Strengthening government information release. Eco-environmental protection departments will disclose timely eco-environmental information to the public through government websites, press briefings, media and other means that are convenient for the public.

-Improving law-based disclosure of corporate information. The state will formulate regulatory measures for and promote the reform of law-based disclosure of environmental information, and clarify the responsibility for and content of mandatory disclosure. The forms of disclosure will be improved and major environmental information will be released in a timely manner. Relevant departments will standardize environmental information disclosure by listed companies and bond issuing enterprises in accordance with the law, strengthen the sector-specific management of mandatory environmental information disclosure, and establish a mechanism for sharing environmental information.

3. Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making

China will formulate and enforce environmental impact evaluation law and implement the measures for public participation in environmental impact evaluation, to facilitate effective public participation in environmental decision-making.

-Encouraging public participation. The state encourages the public to participate in the environmental impact evaluation of special plans that may cause adverse environmental impact and directly affect the environmental rights of the public.

-Improving supervisory mechanism. Measures will be taken to support the integration of the 12369 hotline for reporting environmental problems and the 12345 service hotline across the country. Complaints and reports of environmental problems via the WeChat platform will be handled promptly to help resolve prominent environmental problems affecting the immediate interests of the public.

4. Public Interest Environmental Litigation and Eco-Environmental Damage Compensation

China will encourage and expand the scope of public interest environmental litigation, and improve the systems of public interest environmental litigation and compensation for eco-environmental damage.

-Improving the litigation system. China will explore the scope of preventative public interest environmental litigation, formulate rules on implementing environmental bans, and publicize exemplary cases of public interest environmental litigation.

-Improving damage compensation system. Provincial and prefectural governments, as the claimants of eco-environmental damages within their respective jurisdiction, will hold those who cause damage accountable in accordance with the law, restore the eco-environment, and safeguard ecological security of the nation.

5. Territorial Eco-Environmental Restoration and Protection

China will adopt a holistic approach to conserving mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands. It will make greater efforts to protect and restore ecosystems, enhance their self-restoring capacity and stability, and participate in shaping a shared future for all life on earth.

-Carrying out major projects for protecting and restoring key ecosystems. China will accelerate the building of ecosystem shields including the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau ecosystem shields, the Yellow River and Yangtze River key ecosystem zones, the Northeast forest belt, the North China sand control belt, the South China hilly and mountainous belt, and coastal belts. It will strengthen the protection and improvement of wetlands in the basins of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and major lakes. The protection rate of wetlands will reach 55 percent. China will promote the rehabilitation of grassland, forests, rivers and lakes, and improve the systems of crop rotation and fallowing. It will build an interconnected national-local platform for evaluating such projects and monitoring eco-environmental conditions.

-Building a system of nature reserves. The government will rigorously control destructive activities within nature reserves. It will advance the building of national parks including Sanjiangyuan (source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers) and parks for protecting Northeast China tigers and leopards, great pandas and Hainan rain forests. Qinling Mountains, the Yellow River Estuary and other national parks will be established through reorganization.

-Carrying out major projects of biodiversity protection. China will build gene banks and rescue and breeding centers for rare and endangered wild animal and plant species, and set up special programs to save 48 critically endangered wild animal species and 50 plant species with extremely small populations.

6. Response to Climate Change

China will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase its adaptability to climate change. It will actively participate in global climate governance and realize sustainable development.

-Peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality. To achieve the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on climate change, China will formulate a document on the guiding principles for reaching peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality by fully applying the new development philosophy, and an action plan for peaking its carbon emissions before 2030, to form a policy system for achieving these goals in various regions, sectors and industries. It will improve the double control system over total energy consumption and energy intensity, with controlling fossil energy consumption as one of the main thrusts. A system will be implemented with carbon intensity control as the main target and total carbon emissions control as the secondary target. Localities with requisite conditions and key sectors and enterprises will be supported to peak carbon emissions first. China will raise the capacity of ecosystems to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. It will strengthen territorial planning and land use regulation, ensure that forests, grasslands, wetlands, seas, soil and frozen ground play an effective role as carbon sinks, and boost the carbon absorption increments of ecosystems. Comprehensive scientific investigation and research of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will be intensified.

-Increasing adaptability to climate change. The state will formulate and implement the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2035, better monitor and assess the impact of global climate change on vulnerable regions in the country, and improve the climate adaptability of urban and rural development, agricultural production and infrastructure.

-Strengthening international cooperation. China will maintain its commitment to the principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and constructively lead and participate in international cooperation on climate change. It will press ahead with the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, and actively carry out South-South cooperation on climate change.

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