The United Nations environmental agency opened an office in Beijing today in recognition of the important progress being made in meeting environmental challenges in China, the world's largest developing country, and to support future policies for curbing pollution and achieving sustainable development.
"With 1.3 billion people and an official goal to quadruple economic growth by 2020, China's environmental performance will not only determine the well being of its own people but will have consequences for the whole planet," the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Klaus Toepfer, said at a ceremony in the Chinese capital.
China has a historic opportunity to leapfrog traditional polluting technologies and adopt sustainable production and consumption policies, Mr. Toepfer added.
The new office will work closely with the State Environmental Protection Administration of China (SEPA) and other ministries, international agencies and non-governmental organizations in implementing programmes in environmental assessment, law, education and training, management, technology transfer and innovation and natural disaster prevention.
It will also develop and support projects under the Global Environment Facility, an international fund to address climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, transboundary water and chemical management issues.