China to establish national eco-experimental zones

The country will create natural resources balance sheets and audit the efficient use of natural resources as part of the ecological experimental zones.

China will establish several national ecological experimental zones to explore reforms ranging from natural resource balance sheets to ecological performance evaluation of officials, according to an official guideline published on Monday.

The guideline, released by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, aimed at carrying out reforms on “ecological civilisation system.”

According to targets set in the guideline, major progress shall be achieved by 2017 and fully-fledged ecological civilisation systems shall be established by 2020, with best practices replicable across the country.

Main experiments will include establishing a natural resource property right system, compiling natural resource balance sheet, optimising land and space planning, and incorporating ecological performance into officials’ evaluation.

Fujian, Jiangxi and Guizhou provinces, which have “relatively optimal ecological foundation, and relatively strong environmental and resource capacity,” were selected as the first batch of experimental zones.

An implementation plan for Fujian province was released together with the guideline on Monday.

According to the implementation plan, Fujian will strive to become a leader in national land and space planning by explicitly reserving land and space for ecological protection, and never overstepping the “red line.”

Fujian will also strive to establish a property rights system of natural resource assets as well as systems that reflect market values of ecological products, thereby introducing economic incentives into ecological protection.

The province will also try to improve officials’ performance evaluation to reflect their “ecological performance” such as resource depletion or environmental degradation on their watch.

Specific measures will include compiling natural resource balance sheets, and natural resource asset auditing at times when the official in charge concludes his or her term.

Targets were set in the plan, including that water quality of over 90 per cent of water systems in the province will reach optimal level, 23 cities will enjoy good air quality on over 90 per cent of days, and forest coverage will pass 66 per cent by 2020.

This story was published with permission from China.org.cn

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