30 Years of Cooperation: EPA Administrator Mission to China
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson traveled to China from October 9 through October 14, 2010 to strengthen US-China relations and explore new avenues of cooperation in environmental protection.
Press release: EPA Administrator Wraps Up First Official Visit to China
For 30 years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and China have engaged in a wide range of collaborative activities aimed at addressing shared domestic priorities and global environmental challenges.
EPA works with its counterpart agency in China, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) to advance the Agency’s six International Priorities. EPA and MEP have been at the forefront of environmental collaboration and are building on past successes to jointly address current and emerging environmental challenges.
Highlights of Administrator Jackson’s trip included:
- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with her counterpart Minister Zhou Shengxian;
- Opening the annual Regional Air Quality Management meeting in Beijing;
- Visiting electronic waste and recycling sites in the town of Guiyu, in Guangdong Province;
- Touring and discussing water quality on the Pearl River in Guangzhou;
- Holding a town hall meeting with students at Sun Yat-sen University;
- Opening a seminar on corporate environmental stewardship in Shanghai; and
- Celebrating the success of the AirNow International project installed at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.
On October 10, Administrator Jackson met with Minister Zhou Shengxian, head of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), initiating the celebration of 30 years of environmental cooperation between the U.S. and China. During their meeting, Administrator Jackson and Minister Zhou signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming EPA and MEP’s historic alliance (PDF) (15 pp, 2.31 M, About PDF Files). "The United States and China have enjoyed a strong relationship and achieved significant progress in our nearly 30-year partnership on environmental protection. As we celebrate our shared successes, this is a good time for us to also evaluate our collaboration, identify emerging priorities, and sharpen our focus on building a prosperous and healthy future," said Administrator Jackson.
On October 11, Administrator Jackson joined Minister Zhou to open the sixth annual Regional Air Quality Management Conference in Beijing. This conference is co-sponsored by EPA and MEP and has led to innovative policies and strategies on local and regional air quality. At the conference, the Administrator credited China’s long history of ingenuity and innovation, as well as the strong leadership of Minister Zhou, with setting China on a path towards cleaner, healthier air.
"Scientists from China, the U.S. and Europe have been cooperating in recent years to better understand how air pollution moves across our hemisphere. I want to commend Chinese scientists for contributing to this global bank of knowledge. Along with American and European scientists, their work has revealed some important facts. We know that climate change and air quality are closely linked – with many of the sources of air pollution also being sources of greenhouse gases. As a result, integrating air quality goals with addressing climate change can be very beneficial. In addition, having sound and robust environmental information systems can also have broad benefits addressing local and global pollution."
On October 11, Administrator Jackson visited the town of Guiyu in Guangdong Province. Guiyu is noteworthy for its large electronic waste recycling industry. She saw first-hand some of the strategies being used to recycle and reuse discarded electronics and appliances and discussed remaining challenges and opportunities for collaboration. Cleaning up electronic waste, which often contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals, is one of EPA’s international priorities.
On October 12, the Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) hosted Administrator Jackson on a boat tour of the Pearl River in Guangzhou. Administrator Jackson and Guangdong EPB Director General Li Qing discussed the challenges and progress in addressing water pollution in China’s Pearl River Delta and in the United States.
On October 12, Administrator Jackson held a town hall meeting with the students at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Administrator Jackson praised the University, founded in 1924 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, as a "beacon of progress and opportunity."
After speaking about EPA’s international priorities, Administrator Jackson challenged the next generation of innovators and environmental stewards to continue the strong environmental partnership between the U.S. and China. As she stated: "You are the young men and women who will live side by side in the global community with the generation of young Americans growing up today…When I think of what your future holds, I know it is a future you share with my two sons and every young American."
Press release (includes text of Administrator Jackson's speech): EPA Administrator Holds Town Hall Meeting with Chinese Students
On October 13, Administrator Jackson began the day by opening a seminar on corporate environmental stewardship co-hosted by the U.S and Chinese Business Councils for Sustainable Development. The event included a panel of American and Chinese businesses with numerous public and private sustainability partnerships. The Administrator shared EPA’s view that government "needs broad alliances to solve environmental problems in efficient, effective and enduring ways. We need industries and cutting-edge companies to drive innovation. We need academics to strengthen the technical and social foundations for environmental action. We need communities to bring public stewardship, local engagement and sound advice into our work."
Administrator Jackson later visited the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai to celebrate the success of the AirNow International system at the Expo. AirNow International, launched in May by EPA and the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB), provides real-time air quality information to Shanghai citizens through the Internet. AirNow International was built on Shanghai’s existing air quality monitoring network and capability in analyzing air quality data. With EPA’s technical assistance, Shanghai now has the capacity to forecast and report air quality data to the public.
Administrator Jackson closed her trip by noting that those working on China's own environmental protection are keen to move ahead on cooperation aimed at improving the country's heavily polluted air, water and soil. "I have found nothing but interest and enthusiasm among my counterparts for making further gains. It's simply because of the fact that China cannot be fully sustainable on the track it is on without considering issues related to air and water quality," she said, noting the daunting challenges also faced in the U.S.
Administrator Jackson’s trip set the stage for the upcoming meeting of the Joint Committee for Environmental Cooperation (JCEC), held between the EPA and MEP every two years. The next meeting will be hosted by Administrator Jackson in Washington, D.C. on November 16-17, 2010. At the meeting, the Administrator and Minister Zhou will review progress made during the last two years of collaboration and approve work plans for the next two years.
Back to: EPA's Programs in Asia
For additional information on EPA's work in China, contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460