It is in the interests of both ASEAN and China Member States to strengthen environmental cooperation, which is conducive to improving environmental quality and ecosystem protection in the region, jointly boosting regional inclusive growth and sustainable development, bettering people’s well-being and bringing about win-win results. For years, the two have carried out a lot of practical cooperation in facilitating ASEAN-China dialogue in Environmental Policies, advancing ASEAN-China cooperation in Eco-friendly cities and the construction of the ASEAN-China Environmental Information Sharing Platform (EISP), implementing the “Green Envoys Program” and organizing capacity building for climate change and biodiversity conservation, and then achieved remarkable results.
In 2003, ASEAN and China concluded the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, which stressed intensifying cooperation and, through “more technological, environmental, educational, cultural and personnel exchanges”, enhancing “mutual cooperation mechanisms in these fields”.
In November 2007, China’s top leader proposed to set up the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Center (CAEC) and develop a cooperation strategy at the 11th ASEAN-China Summit. In 2009, ASEAN and China developed and adopted the ASEAN-China Strategy on Environmental Cooperation (2009-2015), which set forth goals, principles and six priority areas of cooperation. In 2010, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE, formerly the Ministry of Environmental Protection, MEP) established the CAEC. In 2011 and 2013, China and ASEAN developed and adopted the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Action Plan (2011-2013) and the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Action Plan (2014-2015) respectively. In 2016, the two jointly developed the ASEAN- China Strategy on Environmental Cooperation (2016-2020) and the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Action Plan (2016-2020). Within the framework of the cooperation strategy and its action plan, ASEAN and China have carried out various cooperation activities in high-level policy dialogue, biodiversity and ecological conservation, environmental industries and technologies, capacity building and joint research, making a regional contribution to South-South Environmental Cooperation.
The ASEAN-China Strategy on Environmental Cooperation (2016-2020) adopted by ASEAN and China in 2016 sets forth the following nine priority areas of cooperation: policy dialogue and exchange, environmental data and information sharing, environmental risk assessment and management, biodiversity and ecological conservation, promoting environmental industries and technology for green development, environmentally sustainable cities, environmental education and public awareness, institutional and human capacity building and joint research. On this basis, ASEAN and China developed the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Action Plan (2016-2020), organized activities such as high-level policy dialogue series and capacity building, shared concepts and practices with respect to environmental protection and green development, and worked together to improve their environmental management capabilities.
In the light of the relevant spirit and cooperation planning set forth in the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 and the ASEAN Vision 2025, and given international and regional ecological and environmental hotspots and cooperation needs on both sides, the Framework of the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan (2021-2025) was jointly adopted.
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