Clarification of responsibilities for ecology and environment-related fiscal expenditure
On 12 June 2020, the General Office of China’s State Council published a reform plan for the division of financial powers and expenditure responsibilities between the central and local governments in the field of ecology and environment. As such, the plan acts as a follow-up to an overarching top-level guideline on building a modern environmental governance system which was published in early March.
The plan clarifies the division of responsibilities in the following areas: (1) Development of environmental planning systems, (2) environmental monitoring and law enforcement, (3) environmental management affairs and capacity building, (4) pollution prevention and (5) other matters like research. In essence, except for major environmental governance issues of national, key regional river basin, or cross-regional importance or those related to international cooperation, local governments shall be mainly responsible for environmental governance expenditures.