U.S.-Sino Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation Joint Statement
The inaugural meeting of the Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation (JCEC), established under the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of the People’s Republic of China on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Field of the Environment (MOU), was held in Washington, D.C. on November 8, 2005.
The meeting was co-chaired by EPA Administrator, Mr. Stephen L. Johnson, and SEPA Minister, Mr. Xie Zhenhua and was attended by more than two dozen senior environment officials from the United States and China.
The objective of the JCEC is to strengthen ongoing collaboration between the EPA and SEPA and to explore new areas for cooperation. The JCEC also aims to facilitate contacts between environmental and scientific groups from the U.S. and China, including other government agencies, research institutions, business and industry, and universities.
The meeting focused on progress to date and priorities for future cooperation under the three annexes to the EPA-SEPA MOU on air pollution, water pollution, and pollution from toxic substances, as well as a new annex on hazardous and solid waste.
EPA and SEPA noted the success of, and plans to build on, three national workshops under the Air Pollution Annex that recently took place in Beijing. In July, EPA and SEPA held a workshop on lowering sulfur levels in transportation fuels to enable the introduction of clean new fleets and the retrofit of existing fleets, including a pilot effort in Beijing. In October and November, EPA and SEPA held two additional workshops, one on managing regional air quality in priority areas, including the Beijing/Bohai region, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta, and another on managing mercury emissions from coal combustion. EPA, SEPA, and the Ports of Los Angeles and Shanghai also have begun a new project to reduce port emissions from diesel engines.
The two sides recognized accomplishments under the Water Pollution Annex including the source water protection project in Tianjin and approved a new strategy that will focus cooperation on water safety, non-point pollution, and a compensation system on water quality between upstream and downstream users.
EPA and SEPA discussed ongoing cooperation under the Toxics Annex, including joint efforts to reduce dioxin emissions from cement kilns, to assess pollution from the pesticide lindane, and to clean-up polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminated sites. A new strategy under the Toxics Annex also was approved that is intended to give emphasis to the reduction of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and to partnerships to reduce the use and emissions of mercury, in support of the United Nations Environment Program’s Global Mercury Program.
EPA announced plans to assist China to virtually eliminate mercury from the health-care sector and hopes to assist China in conducting mercury emissions inventories. EPA and SEPA intend to continue to explore work together under the Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research Partnership. EPA and SEPA also plan to develop a new annex and strategy on hazardous and solid waste.
SEPA gave a presentation on China’s 11th Five-Year Plan for the environment and committed to increasing cooperation with the United States, especially concerning environmental technology and industry. EPA introduced SEPA to recent U.S. developments in integrating environmental information and reported on the progress of environmental cooperation with China by other U.S. agencies.
Both sides highly praised the effectiveness of the MOU, its annexes, and the JCEC, as mechanisms for U.S.-China cooperation and recognized the importance of communicating and collaborating with other agencies and international financial institutions. Administrator Johnson and Minister Xie expressed their commitment to further strengthening U.S.-Sino cooperation and to working together to protect the global environment.
With Minister Xie expressing his appreciation to EPA for hosting the meeting and for the warm hospitality extended to the participants, the meeting was successfully concluded. Administrator Johnson and Minister Xie resolved to reconvene the JCEC in China in 2007.
Signed in Washington, D.C this 8th day of November, 2005.
|Mr. Stephen L. Johnson
United States Environmental Protection Agency
State Environmental Protection Administration, People’s Republic of China