On November 19, 2019, Mr. Li Junyang, Vice-President of the IEEPA, met with H.E. Dr. Friedrich Stift, Ambassador of Austria to China.
Mr. Li Junyang welcomed Ambassador Friedrich Stift to the Association, reviewing the long-term friendly exchanges between the Association and the Austrian Embassy in China, including the joint hosting of the Ambassador's High-level Dinner, the China-EU Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Technology Business Seminar and other activities. Especially mentioned was the recently published article by Dr. Hao Jiming, the President of the IEEPA, entitled "Drivers of improved PM2.5 air quality in China from 2013 to 2017" assessing the improvement and health outcomes of atmospheric fine particles (PM2.5) pollution in China between 2013 and 2017, and quantitatively analyzing the contribution of the policies of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan to air quality improvement.
Mr. Li Junyang pointed out that at present China is facing many changes in the external environment, such as the unity between economic development and environmental governance, and it is an important topic for IEEPA as well. In China’s coastal cities that enjoy favorable economic development, funding is sufficient. Therefore, they are advantaged in this co-development. However, this improvement often means that the “backward” or undeveloped areas of China are ignored, particularly environmental governance in the cities of central and western China. These third- and fourth-tier cities are very rough in their management and require a lot of technology and advanced managerial expertise which is a good opportunity for future cooperation between Austrian and Chinese enterprise.
In addition, Mr. Li Junyang said that he welcomes the Austrian side and their government officials, entrepreneurs and scholars to visit the Association's member enterprises. Through IEEPA as a platform, China and Austria can put into practice exchanges and cooperation in the field of energy conservation and in the environmental protection industry.
Ambassador Friedrich Stift thanked Mr. Li Junyang for the meeting. Recalling his work in Beijing from 2002 to 2004, he praised the fact that the environment in various parts of China has improved considerably compared with a decade ago, thanks not only to the implementation of the Chinese government's good environmental policies, but also to the support of social organizations like IEEPA. He said that Austria in the 1960s and 1970s pollution was very serious concern, and due to the Austrian people’s appeals, the government actively undertook and continues to undertake measures and related enterprises were making use of environmental protection technology. Since then, the ecological environment of Austria has been greatly improved, and the Austrian government and enterprises are happy to share this experience.
On the corporate side, Ambassador Friedrich Stift singled out an Austrian company that makes kitchen waste oil into biofuel after proper treatment. The company has already invested in Anhui, but a major challenge is the recycle of waste oil. Mr. Li Junyang pointed out that to solve the recycling problem, the prerequisite is the construction of pipelines, which needs huge investment. At present, there are many new residential areas in China equipped with special kitchen pipes for centralized treatment, which is a good solution to problems of collection. However, in many old neighborhoods, a large amount of money is required for pipes renovation, so the support of governments is necessary.
In addition, Ambassador Friedrich Stift said that the Austrian People's Party and the Green Party will formally start cabinet consultations that, once agreed, will allow the Green Party to enter the Austrian ruling coalition for the first time, a scenario that will also greatly promote the development of environmental protection in Austria. For this, Mr. Li Junyang believes that the voice of the masses is very important. It is with the invisible force of mass desire for environmental governance that one of China's eight parties, the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, have been able to significantly contribute to China’s pace of improvement, with regard to the environment by including ecological environment management into the constitution, as well as improving in areas related to matters of health, as the environment and people’s health is closely related.
Ambassador Friedrich Stift stressed that there are also many non-governmental organizations in Austria dedicated to promoting eco-economic development, and they also hope to work with Chinese organizations with a common vision to exchange and share their best practices, give full play to the strength of social organizations and promote the development of the eco-economic industry. Finally, Ambassador Friedrich Stift expressed his hope to maintain a close tie with IEEPA and do practical work for the energy conservation and environmental protection of both Austria and China.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Ni Xiaojing, IEEPA Expert and Deputy-director Counselor of the European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.