6 - Education and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development
6.1 China's capacity for sustainable development,
an essential guarantee for the successful implementation of China's Agenda
21, is determined to a large extent by the capabilities of its government
and people, as well as its ecological and geographical conditions. Specifically,
capacity building is based on the interaction of national planning, decision-making,
administration, the environment, resources, and scientific, technological
and human resources.
6.2 The Government of China has formulated strategic
guidelines based on China's actual conditions, whereby economic development,
urban and rural construction and environmental protection are being planned
for and developed contemporaneously, so as to maximize economic, social
and environmental benefits. It is implementing the three major environmental
policies of stressing prevention, of "polluter pays" and of intensified
management of the environment. In addition, work has been done to strengthen
the legal system and to promote the widespread management of land resources.
Efforts have been made to make primary and middle school education compulsory
so as to raise educational levels. Efforts have also been made to publicize
environmental protection so as to raise awareness of environmental protection
and to promote scientific and technological research. In addition, much
attention has been given to the family planning policy, which is helping
to reduce the enormous pressures on the environment caused by population
growth and economic development. These undertakings are laying a solid foundation
for China's capacity building for sustainable development.
6.3 This chapter, which is linked with all other
chapters, is composed of six programme areas:
A. Improvement of Management System for Sustainable
Basis for action
6.4 Currently, the State Planning Commission and
the State Science and Technology Commission, which are led by the State
Council, are charged with responsibility for the management of China's sustainable
development, that is, for the implementation and administration of China's
Agenda 21. Other governmental agencies and departments are responsible for
various aspects of the work.
6.5 The realization of sustainable development
requires an extremely effective management system, in which capacity building
for decision-making and for management are crucial. The management of sustainable
development requires the comprehensive use of planning, administrative techniques,
and legal and economic measures. It requires well-trained decision-makers
and managerial personnel. It requires the use of advance management techniques
and the establishment and improvement of organizational institutions, so
as to form a cohesive management system. At present, a lot of work has been
done in these areas, but there is still much work to be done.
6.6 It should be pointed out that the implementation
of other programme areas found in this chapter will contribute to the successful
realization of objectives contained in this programme area.
6.7 Develop a fairly complete management system
for sustainable development by the end of this century. This will mean that
governments at all levels will have the expertise for decision-making, coordination
and management for sustainable development and will have an enhanced capacity
for servicing sustainable development.
6.8 Gradually set up coordination and management
mechanisms which will promote sustainable development:
6.9 The Chinese Government will gradually incorporate
China's Agenda 21 into its plan for national economic and social development.
Various measures are needed to enhance awareness of sustainable development
amongst the people involved in planning, management and decision-making
and to upgrade their abilities with respect to making plans for its implementation.
Efforts should be made to intensify studies of systems of sustainable development
indicators, and sustainable development policies and measures.
6.10 Establish sustainable development research
institutions and organizations nation-wide and make full use of existing
management research institutions to conduct in-depth and systematic multi-disciplinary
studies on sustainable development in order to provide policy advice to
administrative and decision-making authorities.
6.11 Implement integrated decision-making based
on consideration of economic, social, natural resource and environmental
- (a) When making major decisions or proposing
key projects, government agencies at all levels should conduct sustainable
development impact assessments (SDIA) to see whether or not projects are
in accord with the sustainable development requirements of regional development
(b) Enhance transparency in administration and
decision-making and establish non-governmental consultancy agencies and
a public information network to enable the public and relevant non- governmental
organizations to participate more effectively in the process of decision-making;
(c) Systematically monitor and evaluate the development
process so that government agencies at all levels can assess the progress
of sustainable development;
(d) Rationalize resource allocation through policy
6.12 Adjust the functions of government so that
the government will set and implement the macro- control policies which
will promote sustainable development:
- (a) Promote the use of effective, practical comprehensive
management systems, especially in managing natural resources and the environment;
gradually include consideration of natural resources and the environment
in the national economic accounting system; establish a system of compensation
for the use of resources and a system of compensation for polluting the
(b) Revise and improve existing financial and
economic regulations to meet the objectives of sustainable development;
(c) Establish and improve national and local laws
and regulations on the environment and development, while encouraging a
policy environment favourable to sustainable development;
(d) Encourage the local areas and enterprises
to formulate and implement practices and regulations required by a sustainable
development accounting system.
6.13 Adjust government functions to strengthen
the capacities of government agencies to provide organization, coordination
and information services, as well as scientific and technical assistance
for sustainable development.
6.14 Use a range of approaches to improve the training
of the decision-makers and administrative personnel at all levels in order
to enhance their awareness of sustainable development, to raise their theoretical
understanding of it and to ensure appropriate decision-making and the smooth
implementation of plans and programmes. Conduct regular and systematic training
sessions for various levels of planners, administrative personnel and particularly
leaders to upgrade skills and to allow for exchanges of management experiences.
6.15 Encourage international cooperation for training
so as to continuously introduce new thinking and practices of foreign countries
and to train people involved in management and technology.
B. Development of Education
Basis for action
6.16 The key to eliminating poverty through developing
the economy is in scientific and technical progress and improving labour
skills. The development of education is fundamental to sustainable development.
6.17 The achievements of China's elementary education
have been recognized world-wide, with 98% of its children attending school.
Compulsory primary education has been popularized in over 90% of China's
populated areas. Primary education has been thoroughly popularized over
half of all provinces and municipalities. In recent years, the proportion
of qualified primary and middle school teachers has been increasing year
by year. Yet, the educational system is still faced with many problems:
disproportionately low investments in education; a rising dropout rate in
primary and middle school, particularly in primary middle school; instability
and serious dropouts of the teaching personnel; the failure of educational
contents and methodologies to meet current needs for sustainable social
and economic development.
6.18 Improve the educational system; continue to
strengthen primary education; vigorously develop vocational education; actively
promote adult education and higher education; encourage self-study; implement
The National Program for Educational Reform and Development, so as to build
a group of far-sighted leaders and decision-makers, a contingent of highly-skilled
scientific and technological workers in various fields and a large labour
force with specific skills and scientific and cultural knowledge.
6.19 The National Program for Educational Reform
and Development should be implemented. In the national economic and social
development plans, investment for education will be guaranteed and will
be graduate increased with the development of economy. Great efforts will
be made to strengthen primary education and to develop vocational, technical,
adult, and high education. Engineering 211 for high education will be implemented.
6.20 Continue to insist and perfect the system
of collecting educational funds in various fund raising approaches and taking
government subsidies as the main source of revenue. With the steady development
of the economy, there should be a continuous increase of educational input.
Ensure the density of input. Encourage enterprises, social organizations
and individuals to contribute financial support or the collection of funds
6.21 Encourage the idea of sustainable development
in students' thinking. Incorporate information about natural resources,
ecology, the environment and sustainable development into primary school
nature courses and middle school geography classes. Offer courses on Development
and the Environment in institutions of higher learning, set up additional
courses for postgraduates with majors closely related to sustainable development,
such as environmental science, so as to include elements of sustainable
development in the curricula throughout the whole educational system, ranging
from primary to tertiary education.
6.22 Energetically strengthen elementary education,
generally popularize nine-year compulsory education and eliminate illiteracy
among the young and middle-aged. Roughly meet the requirement of preschool
education in large and middle cities. Actively develop preschool in the
vast rural areas. Attach importance to the education and training in border,
remote and poor regions. Gradually reduce the differences of educated levels
between girls and boys and among people of different nationalities or living
in different regions.
6.23 The structure of middle school education will
be ameliorated to strengthen the construction of vocational and technical
senior middle schools. By the year 2000, enrolment and student number in
vocational schools will be maintained to an average of 60% of senior high
school students nationwide. The network for vocational education and training
will be established and improved. The personnel administrative system of
"training prior to employment and training necessary for employment"
will be applied. On-the-job training and continuous training programmes
will be vigorously developed to enable employees to constantly upgrade their
knowledge and to improve their skills.
6.24 Place emphasis on the building of key institutes
of higher learning and key majors in order to meet the needs of the 21st
century. Strengthen the training of high level talents. Positively promote
the construction of information networks among universities and the exchanges
of international information.
6.25 Strengthen the dissemination and popularization
of scientific knowledge. Publish popular science books. Encourage the raising
of the level of people's cultural and scientific understanding through public
education using mass media, viz., the press, films, radio and television,
and through offering various kinds of short-term training courses. Raise
people's awareness of the issues of sustainable development and their understanding
of the urgent need for sustainable development.
6.26 Increase pay for teachers and intellectuals
and improve their working and living conditions.
C. Human Resource Development and Capacity Building
Basis for action
6.27 China has a huge population, yet its workers
have relatively low levels of cultural and scientific education. In 1989,
among those workers whose technical skills levels were graded, 71% were
graded class 1 to 3, 23% class 4 to 6 and only 2% for class 7 to 8, the
highest. Rural people have even lower educational levels, and 24% are illiterate.
This is an important problem which needs to be considered when addressing
various issues. China has a large labour force, with over one hundred million
surplus labourers in the countryside alone. This figure will reach about
two hundred million by the year 2000, which not only will result in a tremendous
waste of human resources, but also will result in an increased burden for
society due to the greater consumption of resources. Therefore, the development
and use of China's labour force and human resources are important for sustainable
development capacity building.
6.28 Comprehensively utilize human resources. Expand
job opportunities and offer new areas for employment. Promote full employment
and make use of talented people to meet the demands for human resources
in achieving sustainable development.
6.29 Develop community economies, in particular
through the development of tertiary industries, and village and township
enterprises so as to provide a wide range of job opportunities for rural
youth. Establish a labour services market to promote employment and the
rational use of talents. Organize and attract surplus rural labourers to
engage in labour-intensive industries, such as ecological projects (e.g.
planting trees and grass) and other public works construction projects (e.g.
building roads), while improving education and technical training.
6.30 Stress the important role of intellectual
resources for sustainable development through radio, televisions and films,
in order to allow knowledge and intellectuals their rightful positions in
society, and to enhance the whole nation's awareness of the importance of
science, technology and ability. Create a social environment in which education
is taken seriously, and teachers and talent are respected. Strengthen the
management of talented people, by promoting their rational utilization so
as to take advantage of individuals' special skills and strengths.
6.31 Support the study and popularization of sustainable
knowledge and production skills. Encourage craftsmen and other people of
ability to make use of their talents and special skills as a means of alleviating
poverty and enriching themselves. Encourage them to pass on their technical
skills and knowledge to others.
6.32 Establish training agencies at local levels
to enhance professional and technical training. Provide communities with
the latest training materials. Introduce successful activities, programmes
and projects in the area of human resources development and capacity building
to these communities. Emphasize training in practical technologies and skills
for rural people; continuously upgrade training techniques and increase
6.33 Improve pay and conditions for intellectuals.
Adopt incentive measures. Create a liberal environment. Organize the tackling
of key problems in science and technology. Provide opportunities for retraining
in an effort to tap the enthusiasm and creativity of scientific and technical
personnel, and to build up a larger contingent of personnel trained in science
6.34 Improve the system for cadre training to create
a group of educated and resourceful decision- makers and leaders, who have
a sense of historical responsibility and strategic thinking, who have organizational
abilities and who keep up abreast of developments in order to strengthen
the decision- making and organizational abilities of all levels of government.
6.35 Open up farther to the outside world and improve
the domestic work environment so as to attract those studying overseas to
come back to serve the motherland. Through technical assistance and international
cooperation, take advantage of foreign intellectual resources for China's
sustainable development and construction, while exporting labour services
in accordance with the demands of foreign labour service markets.
D. Science and Technology for Capacity Building
Basis for action
6.36 Science and technology are important components
of aggregate national strength and one of the fundamental bases for sustainable
development. Without the support of advanced science and technology, the
objective of sustainable development cannot be realized. The scientific
thesis that science and technology constitute a fundamental productive force
has been universally accepted in China.
6.37 Continuous advances in science and technology
can effectively provide support for the formulation of policies for sustainable
development, can promote the upgrading of the management for sustainable
development, can deepen humankind's understanding of the relationship between
man and nature, can expand the supply and availability of natural resources,
can enhance the utilization and economic benefits of resources, can provide
effective means for the protection of the environment and natural resources.
These capacities are critical to alleviating the contradictions among China's
population and economic growth and limited resources, while attempting to
expand the environment's capacity for sustainability and to improve the
quality of life, thereby realizing the strategic objectives of sustainable
6.38 Vigorously promote scientific and technological
progress and practise scientific and democratic decision-making; build the
national economy by relying on scientific and technological advances to
improve economic efficiency and by improving the quality of the labour force;
keep in the forefront of developments in high technology, while endeavouring
to make breakthroughs; train and build up a well- structured and capable
contingent of science and technology personnel.
6.39 Implement the Outline for Long-term and Medium-term
Scientific and Technological Development, the National Plan for Key Scientific
and Technological Projects, the National Programme for High-tech Research
and Development Projects, the National Plan for Key Industrial Experimental
Projects, the National Plan for Key Technical Development Projects, the
National Plan for the Construction of Key Laboratories, the National Plan
for the Construction of an Engineering Research Centre, the National Plan
for Key Projects, the Torch Plan, the Sparkling Plan and the Plan for the
Popularization of Key Scientific and Technological Achievements.
6.40 Develop effective guidelines and policies
to attract and encourage large numbers of talented people to engage in science
and technology for sustainable development and to build up a well-organized
and able contingent of scientific researchers.
6.41 Constantly improve the system for protecting
intellectual property and for legislating on science and technology; use
government to guide policy to organize management, and to organize scientific
and technological collaboration for tackling difficult problems; enhance
the building of the support system for scientific research and services
by improving research sites, laboratories, experimental facilities and library
6.42 Conduct studies on the basic theories of sustainable
development and develop a theory of sustainable development appropriate
to the Chinese situation.
6.43 Conduct studies on the selection of sustainable
technologies, on risk assessment and on indicator systems; develop a mature
assessment system for sustainable development and a rational technological
and economic system for sustainable development.
6.44 Develop a well-structured scientific and technological
system for basic research, applied research and engineering design; strengthen
new and high-tech research for sustainable development.
6.45 Deepen reforms in scientific and technological
systems; develop the market for technology; promote the popularization of
scientific and technological achievements; establish a coordinated programme
of scientific research, technological development, production and marketing.
6.46 Promote extensive exchange and cooperation
among scientific researchers in all fields and from all parts of the country,
particularly with respect to interdisciplinary exchanges and cooperation;
conduct studies on science and technology for sustainable development; enhance
exchanges and collaboration in the fields of scientific research, teaching
and production; encourage the use of technological advances and developments
6.47 Strengthen international cooperation, promote
the exchange of scientific and technical information both at home and abroad
and follow closely the latest international scientific developments. Actively
seek support from the international community through various channels,
in order to cooperate in international scientific and technological activities
and exchanges of personnel and achievements. At the same time, assimilate
and upgrade advanced technologies imported from overseas.
E. Sustainable Development Information Systems
Basis for action
6.48 Sustainable development is an ongoing process,
so it is essential that information can be accessed at any given time, to
provide feedback so that adjustments can be made as necessary. It is difficult
to arrive at correct decisions with insufficient information. As far as
sustainable development is concerned, everyone is both an information supplier
and user. Therefore, the establishment of a sustainable development information
system involves a broad range of areas.
6.49 Currently, various government agencies and
different localities have already established information centres and the
state has also set up an broadly-based national information centre. These
provide an existing foundation for the development of information system
for sustainable development.
6.50 In the development of and information system
for sustainable development, consideration should be given not only to the
quantity and completeness of information but also to its quality and consistency.
6.51 By the year 2000, gradually establish a rich
information network for sustainable development to which people can have
easy access and from which departments and agencies concerned can conveniently
obtain the latest, most comprehensive information and statistical indicators
about sustainable development.
6.52 Identify the framework, standards and necessary
features of an information system for sustainable development.
6.53 Conduct a technical assessment and comparison
of China's existing information systems, which could be used to support
sustainable development; identify problems and suggest ways for improving
those systems to provide the basis upon which an information system and
statistical indicators for sustainable development can be established.
6.54 Establish China's sustainable development
information network for exchanges with foreign countries through the UNDP-sponsored
"Sustainable Development Network".
6.55 Formulate legislation or a system to govern
China's information network for sustainable development; promote the formation
of information sharing systems to ensure access by all government agencies,
non-governmental organizations and the general public and to ensure the
exchange of information.
6.56 Develop and adopt modern instruments for information
collection, transmission, management, analysis and processing; develop the
high-technologies for geography information systems, remote sensing, satellite
communications and computer networks and their application.
F. Continuous Improvement of China's Agenda 21
Basis for action
6.57 China's Agenda 21 is providing the strategic
framework for China's sustainable development, within which various programmes
of all departments and localities can be coordinated and implemented in
accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The implementation
of China's Agenda 21 is a long-term, gradual process, therefore, it is necessary
to continually improve the Agenda and to identify priorities for work in
different development phases in accordance with changing circumstances.
The priority programmes for China's Agenda 21 are directly derived from
China's Agenda 21. As a result, they serve to transform China's Agenda 21,
a strategic framework, to a phased, operational programme of priority projects,
which combine pressing issues which need to be solved, capacity building,
key technologies and demonstration projects for China's sustainable development.
6.58 It should be pointed out that the implementation
of activities in other relevant programme areas will contribute to the realization
of the objectives of this programme area.
6.59 Ensure that by the year 2000, the objectives
of sustainable development are included in China's major development strategies
and objectives. In accordance with the changes in various aspects and priorities
of work in different stages, China's Agenda 21 and its Priority Programmes
will devise new objectives as time proceeds.
6.60 Conduct research on the concept, theories
behind and policies for impact assessments for sustainable development;
improve capabilities for multi-disciplinary and comprehensive analyses and
for solving problems; analyze and evaluate the results of different policies
for development and provide policy advice to the relevant authorities.
6.61 Organize consultations amongst various departments
at regular intervals to discuss and evaluate relevant strategies and implementation
issues regarding sustainable development; provide policy advice to decision-making
authorities; continue to improve China's Agenda 21 and its Priority Programmes.
6.62 Ensure the full participation of the public
and all sectors of society, so as to fully reflect people's wishes and the
requirements of the times in China's Agenda 21 and its Priority Programmes
and to obtain public support.
6.63 Focus on the objectives of this programme
area; maintain close contact and cooperation with other countries and international
organizations in an effort to continually learn about important developments
and common practices from the international community in its pursuit of
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