ASEAN, one of the most important unions of developing countries. China, the largest developing country in the world are partners in realizing green and sustainable development in the region. Since the establishment of dialogue relations in 1991, ASEAN-China ties kept deepening and went from dialogue relationship to strategic partnership. Significant progress has been achieved in connectivity, economic and trade cooperation, eco-environmental protection, and climate change response. In 2007, the 11th ASEAN-China Summit proposed to establish a China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center and develop ASEAN-China environmental cooperation strategies. In 2011, the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center was inaugurated in Beijing, China and has developed into an important platform for promoting green and sustainable development in the region.
In the past decade, through jointly developing and implementing ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Strategy 2009-2015 and ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Strategy 2016-2020 and its Action Plan China and ASEAN Member States have conducted communication and cooperation in priority areas such as policy dialogue, environmental impact assessment, climate change tackling, biodiversity preservation, environmentally sustainable cities, involving multiple stakeholders. With support from both sides, the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Forum has been successfully held for 9 times, facilitating high-level policy dialogue and communication on issues of global and regional concern, including climate change tackling, sustainable marine eco-system management, big data-driven ecological innovation, and urban biodiversity preservation and sustainable development. etc. The “China-ASEAN Green Envoys Program” has successfully organized more than 30 activities, building a bridge for environment and development officials, representatives of private sectors and financial institutions, young scholars and students from ASEAN and China in their cooperation and communication on climate change tackling and low-carbon development, green economy, atmospheric environment governance and environmental law enforcement, etc. With joint contribution and concerted efforts, a regional network of environmental cooperation has been established with ASEAN countries. In 2016 and 2018, the ASEAN-China Partnership for Eco-Friendly Urban Development and the ASEAN-China Environmental Information Sharing Platform were launched respectively.
In 2021, the two sides jointly approved The Framework of ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025, with a focus on environmental policy dialogue and capacity building, sustainable cities and marine plastics reduction climate change and air quality improvement, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management, and other regional and global hot topics. A special emphasis will be laid on the ASEAN-China Initiative of Tackling Climate Change and Improving Air Quality, Nature-based Solution: ASEAN-China Mangroves Conservation Partnership, and Marine Plastics Reduction Action under the framework of ASEAN-China partnership for Eco-friendly Urban Development, with the aim of creating stronger momentum for achieving sustainable development in the region.
The year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations. Green development has gradually become the priority of ASEAN-China cooperation. With the 2021 ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation as a new starting point, ASEAN and China will work together to deepen strategic partnership by promoting “green and sustainable development”, provide sustainable development solutions, and make joint efforts to realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.