On 21 September, 2019, the 2019 World Economic and Environmental Congress (WEC) Roundtable was held in Beijing, jointly organized by the International Eco-Economic Association (IEEPA), the Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering of Tsinghua University, and the Organizing Committee of the World Economic and Environmental Congress (WEC).
In attendance were Mr. Liu Xiaofeng, Vice-chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and vice-president of the General Assembly; Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy and general secretary of the Democratic Party; Mariano Rajoy Brey, former prime minister of Spain and incumbent member of the House of Representatives; Cedric Thomas Frolick, Senior Foreign Minister of the Council of the International Eco-Economic Association and First President of the South African National Assembly and others Chinese and foreign dignitaries and scholars.
The improvement of China's ecological environment is an important cornerstone of high-quality economic development in the future. China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China this year, which delivered fundamental changes in the Chinese socio-economic system, the acceleration of industrial development, and the advancement of production and positive lifestyle changes, all of which will continue to be the common vision for next 30 years when the People’s Republic of China reaches its 100-year milestone.
A series of speeches were delivered in the first-half of the conference, with the roundtable discussion held in the second-half so that international guests, government officials, experts and scholars, entrepreneurs and other representatives were given the opportunity to discuss current hot-topic issues, to express their respective academic views, and exchange suggestions on high-quality development in the ecological environment and economic sector. The next World Economic and Environmental Conference is planned to take place in 2020.
In his speech, Dr. Hao Jiming, WEC Executive Chairman and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and President of the International Eco-Economic Association (IEEPA), noted that in recent years, the process of China's ecological civilization has accelerated, the economic structure has undergone profound changes, society has moved towards a high-quality stage of development, and that China is advancing into a new era. In entering this new era, the transformation of the main contradictions in Chinese society reflect the characteristics of a new stage in Chinese social development. Although some achievements have been made, it also important to recognize that there are still many shortcomings, such as in economic construction, the ecological environment and in social development, yet it is still necessary to continue with firm direction, and to work hard in developing the country. With regard to the economy, there are still contradictions, such as those between market regulation and macro-control, between distribution equity and economic efficiency, and contradictions between economic development and improving people's livelihood. In the social area, contradictions still exist between social stability and deepening reform, between the moral and corrupt, and the process between emancipating the mind and unifying the will. Related to the long-term development of the country and the interests of the vast majority of the people, environmentalism and economic construction must be entwined, with existing national conditions, social and economic development existing in harmony. Social organizations, scientific research institutions, enterprises and other social parties, in addition to government at all levels, all have a long way to go.
Mr Li Junyang, Vice-president and Secretary-general of IEEPA, noted that in marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, and additionally after the 18th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, China has established a new development system to lead the construction of a modern economic system: the adhering to green development with ecological priority as the main motivation. Leading the transformation and development of extensive industry through technological innovation, a good job has been done in upgrading ecological and economic industry. He notes that the government needs to make further efforts to build a good business environment, not only giving entrepreneurs more room for innovation and entrepreneurship, but also engaging with entrepreneurs to assist in solving systematic problems.
Mr Matteo Renzi, vice-president of the Congress, former prime minister of Italy and general-secretary of the Italian Democratic Party, said that both China and Italy are the main promoters of the Paris Climate Agreement, yet there is still a lot of work to do together. He believes that the improvement of education, ecology and the environment are priorities, but the globalization of ideas is also needed.
Vice-president of the General Assembly and a former prime minister of Spain (and now a member of the House of Representatives), Mr Mariano Rajoy Brey in his address stated that sustainable development is the coordination of economic, social and environmental development. Among them, the environmental problems brought about by industrial and economic development are particularly prominent, and how to promote and avoid the negative consequences is one of the keys to achieving sustainable development. He believes that the first steps to take are to increase corporate social responsibility, and be a good example. He says that that the secondary steps to take are to promote the circular economy. Thirdly, from the individual-level to the national-level, all should contribute to the reduction in emissions. Lastly, he states that enterprises and research institutions must work together and attach particular importance to scientific research, the promotion of improved industrialization, as well as promoting sustainable development.
Mr. Cedric Thomas Frolick, vice-president of the General Assembly, Senior Counsellor for Foreign Affairs of the Council of the International Eco-Economic Association and First Chair of the South African National Assembly, said in his address that the latest World Bank report showed that South Africa was one of the most unequal countries in the world. South Africa is facing many challenges, such as the urgent problem of the gap between the rich and the poor. He says that he hopes to learn from China's unique high-quality people-oriented development model to solve the problem of South Africa's uneven development.
Mr Li Junru, former vice-chancellor of the CPC Central Committee School, said in his address that Mr Xi Jinping's new era of ecological civilization construction put forward the important concept of the “life community”, or the need to properly handle the problem of the relationship between economic development and ecological environment protection, stating that firmly establishing the protection of the ecological environment is to protect productive forces. To promote the green development way-of-life, Mr Li Junru notes that we must embrace traditional ideas and customs, to further emancipate the mind, challenge ideas, promote the formation of green development and production, but also eradicate many outdated systems, as well as further strengthen reform efforts. In order to provide a reliable guarantee for the construction of ecological civilization and to promote the formation of a green development way-of-life, the most stringent systems and rules of law must be implemented.
The roundtable of the Academic Bureau released the International Eco-Economic Association’s “2020 Silk Road Along the International Conference on Ecological Literature Brigade”. Additionally, Executive Chairman Dr. Hao Jiming, former prime minister of Italy Mr. Matteo Renzi, and former prime minister of Spain Mr. Mariano Rajoy Brey jointly issued the list of the World Economic and Environment Conference Academic Member certificate.
Also present at the meeting were H.E. Mr. Lila Mani Paudyal, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal,; Mr. Giuseppe Fedele, Chargéd'affaires of the Italian Embassy in China, Ms. Irena Skardžiuvienė , Chargée d'affaires of the Lithuanian Embassy in China; Mr. Liu Zhiren, State Council Counselor; Mr. Zhang Hongtao, State Council Counselor; Dr. Peng Suping, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Deputy Chief of State Work Safety Technology Expert Team; Chairman of the IEEPA Committee of Green Mining,; Dr. Hou Li’an, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Mr. Wang Jirong, Deputy Chairman of the 11th National People’s Congress Environmental Protection Committee, and former executive Vice President of the Central Committee of the Chineses Peasants and Workers Democratic Party. More than 200 Chinese and foreign guests participate in the conference.
The World Economic and Environmental Conference was founded in 2008 with the UN conception of promoting the Green New Deal worldwide with a launch site in China. It was founded as a professional conference in the field of ecology and economy, as a platform for governmental and enterprise exchange and cooperation on climate change, sustainable development and economic growth, and as an attempt to lead the transition of countries around the world to a green ecological development model to jointly address the environmental problems facing the world in the course of human activities and economic development.
Since 2008, the WEC has been held on an annual basis. Each session includes ten thematic forums and industry conferences, and seven consecutive sessions and four annual meetings have been successfully held. The WEC was given appreciation and comments by Mr. Edmond Alphandéry, the former Minister of Finance and Economy of France,; Robert J. Aumann, Nobel Laureate; Mr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Mr Josette Sheeran, Administrator of the World Food Programme (WFP); and Mr Supachai Panitchpakdi, former Secretary-General of UNCTAD.