On 22 November 2013, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms that laid out a strategic arrangement of measures to comprehensively reform major areas such as economy, politics, culture, society, and laid the foundation for the concept of ecological civilization. It called for development and improvement of socialism with Chinese characteristics in order to promote modernization of the national governance system and capacity.
The Decision clearly puts forward the requirement of establishing a complete institutional system for ecological civilization designed to protect ecological and environmental conditions and processes. In particular, it states the necessity to: (1) reform the ecological environment management system; (2) establish and improve the environmental protection management system in a way that must strictly regulate discharges of all pollutants; and (3) achieve an independent environmental regulation and enforcement approach. These features are of great significance for improving the national environmental governance system and for enhancing modernization of national governance capacity. In reality, China’s current environmental management system cannot meet the transformative change required for construction of an ecological civilization.
Sino-German Environmental Partnership
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU) the Sino-German Environmental Partnership project supports the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) in various projects and studies promoting Ecological Civilization. Main component here are Task Forces (TF) on Institutional Innovation for Environmental Protection in the Context of Ecological Civilization.
Based on the need to accelerate the construction of an ecological civilization, the objectives of this TF are to provide advice for:
- Accelerating the reform of the national environmental governance system and improve environmental governance capacities.
- How to stimulate innovations in environmental protection institutions and governance systems in order to improve environmental quality.
- A top-level design for a strategic transformation of environmental management approaches.
A Special Policy Study (SPS) on Good City Models of Urbanization Under the Concept of Ecological Civilization is intended to focus on trends in urbanization in China, highlighting key problems in urbanization, which are at odds with the concept of ecological civilization, aiming to protect environment and enhance the quality of urban living environment.
The objectives are to:
- Assess urban problems in international perspective and provide useful experience.
- Focus on five core areas of problems and countermeasures: Planning and land use, regeneration of old cities and architecture, transportation in large cities, construction of environmental infrastructure and urban residential construction.
- Propose institutional mechanisms and policy innovation of the new urbanization mode in the perspective of ecological civilization. Focus on resources and ecological protection at national level, urbanization development policy, recommendation of protection mechanisms of ecology and environment at city level, including planning systems, social governance, public oversight and public participation, elaborate a roadmap to implement a replicable model for urban development and applied technologies.