Green economy is gathering real momentum in China, as green development was identified as one of the top national priorities during the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) – the meeting of the country’s top national advisory body – and the meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) – the top legislative body, both held in Beijing in March.
Significant policy decisions are made at the two conferences, known as the “Two Sessions”, and they are considered to be the biggest events in China's political calendar, attended by thousands of officials and business leaders. This year's meetings formally closed with the CPPC’s submission of over 5,000 proposals, while the NPC approved China's 13th Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020).
During the “Two Sessions”, China’s Premier Li Keqiang delivered a government work report that assessed progress made in 2015, and announced a national annual growth target of 6.5% between 2016 and 2020.
In addition to economic growth targets, China’s new development plan emphasizes the development of services and measures to address environmental and social imbalances, reduce pollution, increase energy efficiency, improve access to education and healthcare, and expand social protection. Under the new plan, China aims to uplift an estimated 70 million people out of poverty, increasing both social inclusion and overall welfare across the nation.
This year alone, which marks the beginning of the plan, China aims to create 10 million jobs, keep the local currency exchange rate stable, and implement proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies to stimulate growth.
As the second largest economy in the world, China has not only positioned itself as an economic powerhouse, but it is also gradually shifting its development focus toward sustainability. Ecological Civilization, which is the Chinese concept for a sustainable development framework, has received unprecedented attention from high-level leadership in China at both central and local levels, and is also gaining recognition internationally.
The government is making amends for decades of resource intensive and environmentally degrading growth with strict national level environmental measures to be implemented over the next five years. For example, it is the first time that a specific PM2.5 target has been included in the national development plan, with a goal of 25% reduction. Other main targets include: reduce emissions from coal burning industries and vehicles; bolster cleaner and more efficient use of coal; promote the use of electricity and natural gas in place of coal; support the wind, solar and bio power sectors to increase the proportion of clean energy; encourage the use of waste straw as a resource; reduce in-field burning; and implement control measures to deal with air pollution.
In June 2015, the Jiangsu Province of the People’s Republic of China joined PAGE. With PAGE support, the province aims to identify major challenges to the implementation of the latest provincial Five-Year-Plan as well as exemplify successes and good practices at the policy, business, and sub-provincial levels to inspire other provinces and countries to pursue a path towards green economy.
PAGE is currently engaging wide-ranging local stakeholders in capacity building activities on green finance, green jobs, green industry, and inclusiveness in a green economy, among others, in line with the national development priorities set out in the 13th Five-Year Development Plan.
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