Published by: ACCA21 January 2001

Volume 7 Issue 1

[ Editor's note ]

To facilitate the implementation of the strategy of sustainable development on a local level, the formal State Planning Commission and the State Science and Technology Commission in November 1997 designated 16 provinces (cities) to pilot China's Agenda 21. These are: Beijing, Hubei, Guizhou, Shanghai, Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Dalian, Harbin, Guangzhou, Changzhou, Benxi, Nanyang, Tongchuan and Chizhou. The UNDP has extended generous assistance to the project, launching a capacity-building project for local agenda 21s during 1997-2000.

This issue reports progress made in the capacity-building project as well as the good practices of the pilot localities over the past several years. We will run special reports from each of these localities to share information and promote progress.

In this Issue:
International Workshop on LA21 Held in
Tongchuan, Shaanxi

An international workshop on local agenda 21 piloting was held from October 30 to November 1, 2000 in Tongchuan, Shaanxi Province under the auspices of the ACCA21 and the UNDP. Participants include 70 representatives from the 16 pilot localities, UNDP officials, Chinese experts and officials from the State Development Planning Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the host province.

The purpose of this workshop was to share experiences and good practices in implementing sustainable development. Speakers included eight Chinese and foreign experts and representatives from 14 pilot localities. At panel discussions, existing problems were addressed and solutions were proposed. Representatives expressed hope that the central authorities and the UNDP continue to support local efforts at sustainable development. In particular, they hoped that the central government take into consideration the need for supporting local Agenda 21 when formulating macro policies, such as setting up a special fund to finance the initiative.

A consensus was reached at the meeting on the ways to promote sustainable development in China:

  • Focusing on priority areas
  • Government support
  • Institutional innovation
  • Legal safeguards
  • Demo and modeling
  • Information sharing
  • Public participation

Participants agreed to establish a regular joint conference mechanism (i.e. once a year) to exchange information and promote common development.

Over the course of the last three years, thanks to the concerted efforts of the pilot provinces and municipalities, all the planned objectives have been met or even exceeded. The UNDP has been very supportive of China's capacity-building efforts, offering many useful suggestions. UNDP officials from the headquarters and its Beijing office even made evaluation tours to Taiyuan and Changzhou. In their evaluation report, the officials and experts spoke highly of China's efforts to implement its Agenda 21, praising the country as "one of the most advanced in the world in sustainable development."

Summary Report of the Capacity Building Project
for Local Agenda 21 in China

1. Background

The Chinese Government attached great importance to the Outcomes of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio in l992. Since then, the Government has taken a series of effective measures to apply these outcomes. With support from United Nations Development Programs(UNDP), particularly the Capacity 21 Trust Fund, the Chinese Government took a lead by formulating China's Agenda 21 in 1994 and promoting implementation of this national Agenda 21 through a program of Priority Projects. During the years 1995 to 1996, the Chinese Government made a great effort to adopt Agenda 21 as the blueprint for the national economy and social development by integrating its principles into the national development plans. In 1996, the Government officially) listed sustainable development as the major strategy for China's future development. and emphasized its implementation at the local level through the formulation and implementation of Local Agenda 21s (LA2l).

2. Objective of the project

The project's aim was to assist in the translation of the sustainable development strategy set by the state into concrete local action, and to help strengthen capacity in China for the implementation of China's Agenda 21 provincial and municipality levels.

3. Brief outline of the project

This project has been carried out at two levels to achieve this objective:

  • Through promoting LA21 actions and processes at the local (provincial and municipality); and
  • Through providing support from the national level for these local initiatives. At the local level, a core of 6 typical provinces and cities were selected as local demonstration pilots with financial, training and other support from the project. A further l0 cities and provinces were also selected to participate in this project so as to expand its influence. These pilots participated in training activities but did not receive any direct financial support from the project.

Each pilot province or city prepared and carried out its own action plan based on China's Agenda 21, based on their own priorities, needs, and strengths. The national level project provided training and technical support for the pilots according to their needs. The steps taken include:

  • Based on their own local needs and existing problems, each pilot province or municipality determined its own priorities for action.
  • Based on these priorities, each pilot drew up an action plan to implement China's Agenda 2l, and took the necessary steps to implement these plans.
  • Before the completion of the project, each pilot evaluated the process. of developing and implementing their LA21, and summarized their experiences and lessons learned.

At the national level, methods and tools for implementing China's Agenda 21 in the pilot provinces or municipalities were worked out by ACCA21 as the office responsible for project management. These methodologies and tools included:

  • How to carry out China's Agenda 2I through participation;
  • The setting up and application of information networks.
  • Investment in environmentally sound technology.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of LA2 l processes and achievements.

These tools and methodologies were used to provide training for each pilot province or municipality to help them carry out their LA21s.

The project consisted of four stages:

1. Warming up stage (April, 1998-May; 1998)
The main task was a conference of the pilots to assign jobs for the capacity building project, give relevant instructions, and to establish a project management office.

2. Identifying the main task (June, 1998- September,1998)
Two tasks are were accomplished at this stage Each pilot province or municipality identified their main constraints in the process of achieving sustainable development. Based on these, the major tasks were determined and work plans prepared for the priority projects.

3. Taking action (September,1998-May, 2000)
Each province or municipality began work on their priority projects or ensured that existing projects complied with the principles of China's Agenda 21.

4. Summary and promotion (May, 2000-end of the year)
The main task of this stage was to consolidate the process of local sustainable development through adjustments to organizational systems, policies and regulations, financing, etc. Each pilot province or city summaries its working process for LA2l and the experiences and lessons lessons for dissemination to other municipalities.

4. Fulfillment of the project

2. Objective of the project

2. Objective of the project

2. Objective of the project

2. Objective of the project

Sino-Swedish Seminar
Held in Shenyang
A Sino-Swedish seminar on LA21 was held May 31-June 2, 1999 in northeast China's Shenyang City. The event marked the fruition of a cooperative project initiated three years ago between China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Swedish International Cooperation Agency.

The meeting was co-sponsored by the Administrative Center for China's Agenda 21 (ACCA21) and the Swedish Academy of General Consulting. Featured speakers included Wang Qinghan, Party Secretary of Liaohe District, Shenyang; Dr. Guo Risheng, Deputy Director of ACCA21; Yang Derun, Deputy Director ofthe Science and Technology Commission of Liaoning Province; Wang Zhou, Vice Mayor of Shenyang; and Swedish experts.

Chinese participants from Shenhe District of Shenyang, Nanyang City of Henan Province, Panzhihua City of Sichuan Province and Mouping District of Yantai City, Shandong Province exchanged their experience in implementing sustainable development on a local level. Swedish participants spoke on the trends and opportunities of the "green market", climate change and local action, and international cooperation. Huang Jing, Director of Strategic Studies, ACCA21, briefed participants on LA21 progress in China.

Participants expressed readiness for strengthened cooperation between China and Sweden in building a sound mechanism for input, operation and participation, environmental protection, energy utilization and Eco-building. They also agreed that the ACCA21 should serve as a bridge between the two sides for facilitating cooperation.

Jiangsu Commends Achievers
of Sustainable Development

Eight Experimental Sustainable Communities in Jiangsu Province that have excelled in pursuing balanced socio-economic development were commended at a meeting held June 9-10, 1999 in Jiangyin City. One hundred and twenty people attended the event, including Vice Governor Jin Zhongqing and leading officials from the eight communities.

Over the last decade, sustainable development as a new strategy for socio-economic growth has found expression into governmental socio-economic planning at various levels. As a result, there has been a marked improvement in people's livelihood and the ecological environment.

Major practices include granting local governments full organizational powers in building the pilot areas; giving full play to science and technology; diversifying sources of funding; integrating and matching facilities in the construction of pilot areas; and bolstering training for capacity-building.

Vice-Governor Jin noted that sustainable development is a choice of necessity for Jiangsu. Among the recipients were 13 projects -- including one of waste rubber recycling -- and 12 managers
Eco-tour Seminar Held in Beijing

ACCA21, in conjunction with the United Nations Development Program, hosted a seminar on Eco-tourism: Prospects and Project Preparation Training in September 9-10, 1999 in Beijing. The meeting attempted to address four issues: enhancing understanding of Eco-tour project development; promoting international cooperation; reviewing existing Eco-tour programs; and exploring ways to deal with the problems besetting China's Eco-tourism industry.

Present at the meeting were 50 Chinese and foreign officials and experts on Eco-tourism and environmental preservation, as well as local officials from various localities. Among them were Wang Weizhong, Director of ACCA21, Wang Liming, Deputy Director of Resource Planning Division of State Tourism Administration, Wang Xianpu, Research Fellow with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Wanner Walter, Senior Consultant with the UNDP.

Sixty project proposals submitted by 17 provinces -- including Shanghai, Hainan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Yunnan, Sichuan, Anhui, Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia -- were reviewed.

APEC Virtual Center Operational

The APEC Virtual Center for Environmental Technology Exchange went into operation in October 1999 under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Managed by the ACCA21 and maintained by the Center for Environmentally Sound Technology Transfer, the center represents a new effort by Asian-Pacific countries to resolve environmental problems.

The purpose of the center is to promote environmental information sharing via Internet among member countries and regions of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). Beneficiaries include governments, enterprises and environmental watchdogs. Compared with conventional exhibitions, the virtual center carries far more information, transmits it more widely and is more accessible.

China has been actively involved with the preparations for the center since 1995, believing that the center should play a role not only in promoting end treatment technologies but more importantly, in promoting exchanges and application of clean production technologies. Since September 1998, the ACCA21 has been devoted to the implementation of an information-sharing program for environmentally sound technologies. Currently, a powerful information system has been built, consisting of 11 databases and Internet homepages. Types of information covered by the system include technology supply, technology demand, investment opportunities, directories of organizations and companies, names of experts, and case studies.

In addition, the Center for Environmentally Sound Technology Transfer is compiling an Information Resource Guide for Environmentally Sound Technologies in China that will gather information from various databases, website and publications.

The first service the center offers is a membership-based interconnection system that links the website of the Virtual Center with the homepages of central and local government departments, research institutes, intermediary agencies and owners of environmental technologies.

Pilots in Focus

Nanyang Seeks International

As sustainable development proceeds on a local level, it has come to be realized that international cooperation -- including the introduction of viable practices, advanced technology and management expertise, and international funding -- is an effective vehicle for facilitating LA21 implementation. In this regard, Nanyang City, Henan Province, one of the first pilot cities for LA21, has forged friendly ties with more than 10 countries and regions including Canada, Sweden, the United States and Japan. Major projects with international assistance include the following

SDH Nanyang Model Project

Nanyang Model Project, an important part of the Sustainable Development Henan (SDH) program, was initiated by the Iowa State University and supported by Chinese entities such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Henan Provincial Science and Technology Commission and other research institutes.

Since 1997, when the project was officially launched, US environmental experts from the Iowa State University have visited Nanyang many times to investigate local conditions such as development of Eco-agriculture, clean production, treatment of waste and urban construction. Seminars were held on regional sustainable development, environmental education, environmental cleanup and climate change.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides, Nanyang will apply patented technologies from the US to develop a biological gasification system using crop stalks to provide fuel to farmers and improve the environmental quality. Nanyang Guanghui Machinery Plant recently manufactured the prototype machine and mass production is expected in 2000.

The Iowa State University has also agreed to help Nanyang College of Technology to build an environmental engineering department by taking Chinese teachers for training and providing management expertise.

In addition, the two sides will also step up cooperation in Eco-agriculture and clean production.

Sino-Swedish Project

A Sino-Swedish cooperative project on LA21 was launched in 1997. An international seminar was held in Nanyang in January that year, with the Swedish participants signing a letter of intent on sister-city exchanges and technical cooperation. In October 1997, municipal officials from Nanyang visited Ulan (?, to be checked), Sweden with a Chinese government delegation and signed a protocol with the city government on bilateral cooperation.

In October 1998, an Ulan delegation visited Nanyang back to study the city's papermaking, green agriculture, pharmaceuticals, foreign trade, energy development and other industries. This visit yielded nine letters of intent on LA21 cooperation, methane development, Chinese medicine development and clean production. Currently, Nanyang is making all the necessary preparations for the implementation of those protocols.

UNDP-Assisted Project

Construction for the Nanyang Service Center for Pollution Reduction for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises broke ground recently thanks to the strong support of the Iowa State University and the provincial and municipal government. The China Center for International Technological Exchange has agreed to send 10 UN experts to Nanyang to support the initiative.

UNDP Project Update

LA21 Capacity-Building
Project Reviewed

A tripartite conference to review progress of the UNDP-assisted LA21 capacity-building project was held on June 15, 1999 at ACCA21, Beijing. Present at the meeting were officials from the State Development Planning, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the UNDP and ACCA21. As the executive body for the project, ACCA21 reported on the progress and proposed strategies for the next stage of implementation.

On the national level, the central government directed, promoted and helped pilot provinces and cities in their endeavors to implement LA21. Major activities include:

, Discuss, revamp, revise and finalize LA21 project documents and proposals
, Hold working conferences and identify pilot locations and schedules
, Compile training materials
, Hold training activities on subjects such as ways of LA21 participation, information network building for sustainable development, international cooperation and financing
, Promote information exchange by publishing an LA21 newsletter and homepage making

On the local level, the various localities have, in line with their local conditions, identified their priority areas and submitted project proposals. The identified priority areas are as follows:

, Hebei Province: sustainable utilization and management of water resources, including revamping of policies and regulations, water price readjustment, and the establishment of a water-saving agricultural project.
, Sichuan Province: application of Guanghan model of urban waste treatment.
, Shanxi Province: formulation and construction of the Taiyuan-Jinzhong clean energy plan.
, Tongchuan City: formulation of Tongchuan's Agenda 21 and planning of priority areas.
, Changzhou City: urban community building and water pollution cleanup around the Taihu Lake area.
, Chizhou Prefecture: formulation of an outline of Eco-agricultural development and the construction of a model tea farm.

Over the past year, these localities have achieved fresh progress in implementing LA21 through holding training programs, organizing fact-finding visits and other forms of awareness-building activities.

Participants to the meeting were pleased to note that the LA21 capacity-building program had made progress over the last year in the following areas:

, The various projects proceeded as planned on both the national and local levels in 1998.

, The revised project documents allowed local governments to identify their priority areas and lines of work in accordance with local needs andconditions and map out their action plans accordingly.

, Local governments have been mobilized to contribute financial and human resources to the program.
, Progress has been made in the four major aspects of LA21: participation, information, priority projects, and monitoring. Participatory methods, in particular, have been applied aggressively by local governments to mobilize participation by public offices, organizations, social groups and the public at large.

In 2000, the central government will continue to lend strong support to the LA21 program by providing training, advisory and information exchange services to accelerate implementation

UNDP Adviser Visits Hebei

Dr. Nizar Mohamed, senior technical adviser of the LA21 Capacity-Building Program of the UNDP, visited Hebei Province June 13-14, 1999. Accompanied by officials of the ACCA21, Dr. Nizar met with local project supervisors and coordinators and Chinese experts. He also visited a number of pilot areas for water-saving technology and exchanged views with local officials regarding implementation of the project.

Hebei lists the sustainable development and utilization of water resources as its top priority. Toward that end, the province proposed four objectives:

, Amend laws and regulations
, Introduce water resource fee and water-price reform in pilot cities
, Build a model farm using water-saving technology
, Step up LA21-capacity building in Hebei

Initial progress has been made in those areas. A set of regulations on water saving, for example, was drafted and went into effect on September 22, 1998.

Dr. Nizar was satisfied with the implementation of the project in Hebei. He was especially pleased that Hebei had been able to apply many principles of LA21 to local practices.

China's Experimental Sustainable Communities

Sustainable Development: the Baishan Style

Baishan City, Jilin Province covers an area of 3,890 square km with a population of 2.2 million. It became a national-level experimental sustainable community in 1997 for socio-economic development, the largest of its kind in China.

Proceeding from its conditions, the municipal government of Baishan formulated a strategy of sustainable development by focusing on selected localities. These locations were selected based on a series of criteria such as representation, preparedness and modeling effects. Aided by surveys, research and planning, the government has over the past two years built the following projects:

, Linjiang City: Model Park for Three-Dimensional Agriculture and Native Product Technology Development
, Linjiang: Model Area for Torch Program
, Fusong County: Model Area for Ecological Development
, Hongtuya Township, Badaojiang: Model Area for Industrializing Animal Husbandry , Sandaogou Township: Model Area for Aquatic Culture
, Sandaogou Township: Model Area for Cultivation of Chinese Herbal Medicines in Changbai Mountains
, Model Area for Vegetable-Growing Technology
, Model Area for Forest and Ecological Economics

Through these programs, Baishan has successfully applied 50 agricultural technologies, which greatly helped develop local resources.

At an international seminar held in 1998 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, Vice Minister of Science and Technology Han Deqian spoke highly of Baishan's practices. In addition, the city has aggressively sought to collaborate with domestic and international research institutes. In March 1998, Mayor Wang Chun led a delegation to visit the Western District of Beijing, a pioneer in sustainable development. The city has also invited officials and experts from 26 different areas to be members of the Municipal Economic and Technological Council. Municipal officials have also reached out to the UNDP and the World Heritage Committee in a bid to list Changbai Mountains as one of the World Heritage sites.

Raising Awareness of Sustainability:
Shenhe District of Shenyang City

Shenhe District is located in the downtown area of Shenyang, capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province. Because of its central location, the district places the emphasis of sustainable development on raising the overall quality of residents and balancing environmental preservation against social development.

To that end, the district has built a number of facilities such as a cultural plaza, a folklore museum, and an open-air cinema. In addition, a community cultural center has recently been put into service, to the warm applause of local residents.

In environmental preservation, air quality is at its best. In 1998, Shenyang shed the stigma of one of the most polluted cities in the world. A total of 6.3 million RMB was spent in 1998 to clean up the environment. Citywide, smog emission is 100% up to the standard and 85.7% of its wastewater treatment facilities meet state requirements.

In urban construction, a new tourist facility centering on the Palace Museum was dedicated in 1998. In addition, new sights were added to Wanliutang (10,000-Willow Pond) Park; 54 roads were expanded; new environmentally sound toilets were built along streets; 52 green residential areas were built; and sorted waste treatment made much headway.

In social development, the district designated in 1998 Daxi Neighborhood as a model community for balanced socio-economic development and environmental preservation. Based on existing resources, the neighborhood developed a program spearheaded by science and technology and centering on community building and services. Activities include lectures, improving hygienic conditions, providing convenient and timely medical services, and match-making services.

Setting High Standards:
Zhongxiang,Hubei Province

Zhongxiang experimental sustainable community, in central China's Hubei Province, is one of the top five cities in China in terms of agricultural output. This is achieved not at the cost of environmental degradation but through sustainable development. Main practices:

- Developing a resource
- saving economy with high cost
- efficiency. Clean production techniques and ISO9000 standards are widely applied in key enterprises, and internationally advanced assembly lines are introduced to reduce pollution. The county has spent 15 million RMB renovating 20 polluting factories, forcing 14 others to change their product lines. Efforts have also been made to restore damaged vegetation. These have earned the county a nomination by the State Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top 500 environmentally sound cities in the world, an award presented by the UN Environmental Program

- Focusing on pilot projects. The city government gives priority to its top 10 pilot projects in project approval, application of technology, funding, human resource support, and awarding of research outcomes.

- Enforcing implementation. To create a sound investment climate, Zhongxiang has formulated a series of incentives in project approval, land use, taxation, pricing, infrastructure construction, labor, employment, banking, insurance and human resource management. In addition, preferential policies have also been announced to award scientists and managers who have made great contributions to the development of the city. The city has also collaborated with more than 10 universities in research and development and training. The city drew national attention when a TV report was aired on CCTV, the nation's top television network.

- Ensuring funding. Funding is the fundamental safeguard for implementing sustainable development. Zhongxiang innovatively provides 10 channels for funding:

- Funding from superior government agencies
- Funding from municipal government
- Funding from public utilities use
- Funding from auction-off of taxi routes
- Funding from debt financing
- Funding from equity ventures
- Donations
- Funding from City Capacity
- Enlargement Fees
- Self-raised
- Publicly raised

The city spends no less than 100 million RMB a year on social development. In 1998 alone, it allocated 69 million RMB for education, enabling 34 schools to have their computer rooms


European Conference on Sustainable
Township to be Held in 2000

The third European Conference on Sustainable Township will be held February 9-12, 2000 in Hanover, Germany. It will be co-sponsored by a range of entities including the municipal government of Hanover, the CEMR, Euro Cities, the WHO and ICLEI. The agenda of the meeting covers the following subjects:

- Sustainable society, health, economy and environment
- Strategies and policies
- Responsibility of local actions in regional and global issues
- Innovation of regulatory means and practices
- Evaluation of success and impact
- Cooperation and network

Participants will include mayors, local officials, project coordinators, researchers and business people.

LA21 in Asia-Pacific

Forty-two mayors and more than 100 government representatives from 29 countries in the Asia-Pacific attended the first mayoral conference on environmentalissues in February, 1999 in Hawaii. During the meeting, participants discussed wide-ranging topics related to sustainable development in urban communities.

An action plan was signed at the meeting asking mayors to do the following:

- Support LA21actions
- Work with national and regional governments and international organizations, NGOs to promote LA21
- Secure support from APEC and other organizations for LA21 in Asia-Pacific
- Report the action to the United Nations, APEC and other international organizations
- Seek support from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the UNDP and other agencies

ICLEI to Mark 10th Anniversary

June 2000 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of ICLEI. A commemorative meeting will be held in Germany to be organized by Global Cities 21 and attended by 500 members of international organizations, governments and ICLEI. The theme of the meeting will be how to meet challenges to sustainable development in the 21st century. Participants are expected to review progress and propose objectives for the new millennium.

For comments and requiries:

Local Agenda 21 Division

The Administrative Centre for China’s Agenda 21

109 Wanquanhe Road, Haidian District Beijing 100089, P. R. China

Tel (86-10 ): 82636201 or 82634400—2405

Fax : (86-10) 82636192

E-mail: Duan Liping