Dear Chairman, Dear distinguished guests,
It is my great honor to be here with you today. I am from Global Village of Beijing, an
environmental NGO in China. I am very young, so do Chinese NGOs, and many NGOs in Asian
countries. So I want to use this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to CONGO for
organizing such a forum to help and network with the younger brothers and sisters in Asia
of our NGO family.
Now I would like to share with you our experience as Chinese NGOs to attend the World
Summit on Sustainable Development and the follow-up activities we’ve done and plan to
100 days ago, I attended the WSSD together with an independent Chinese NGO delegation.
It’s a big improvement for Chinese civil society because there was no self-established
environmental NGO in China 10 years ago when the Rio Earth Summit was held, and this time
we organized a delegation consisting 18 delegates from 12 organizations in different
parts of China. Maybe you would ask, is there any independent NGO in China? Well, it is
true that China has a very strong government, and for a time, many NGOs in China were
created by the government. But now, Chinese government is more and more open, it gives
self-established NGOs the space to survive and develop, and those government organized
NGOs are becoming more and more independent. For we NGOs, we have realistic strategy to
work with the government. We are not against the government, we aims to set up effective
partnership to help and cooperate with the government. Because of this, we’ve created a
loose environment to conduct things we want to do.
From last year, our representatives attended a series of national, regional and global
prepare meetings for the WSSD. In this April, we introduced the WSSD to the Chinese
public during the Earth Day ceremony. In the May, we organized “Chinese NGO Workshop on
WSSD” together with the UNDP. We raised funds from the British Embassy in Beijing, the
Ford Foundation, the Canadian Civil Society Program, and the World Bank to organize a
group of representatives from Chinese environmental NGOs. We helped them to get
accredited to the WSSD, and provided training programs about how to actively participate
in the UN conference. We also produced booklet and VCD program about Chinese
environmental NGOs for the WSSD to let international community understand more about
Chinese environmental NGOs.
During the Summit, we attended a variety of activities and organized our own activities
including the Chinese NGO Caucus, the national Tang clothes and fans show, using the fans
as a symbol tool to cool down the Earth, and also as a kind of energy saving air
Before I went to Johannesburg, many people told me that the WSSD would not be very
successful. And we were disappointed by the endless negotiations between governments and
so many unfulfilled commitments. But we were excited to see the passionate participants
from the civil society. No matter whether the Summit is a success or not, it was a real
success for Chinese NGOs’ participation in the WSSD.
Through a series of independently planned and executed events leading up to the WSSD,
Chinese environmental NGOs united and a preliminary NGO network was established. The
foundation of this network was solidified by the historic participation of a Chinese NGO
delegation in the WSSD in South Africa. By joining the international dialogue on
development, Chinese environmental NGOs gained invaluable insight into the current status
of sustainable development efforts both within China and in the rest of the world. Far
from passive observers, the Chinese delegation played a dynamic role in the proceedings
in South Africa. Chinese representatives successfully communicated the true Chinese NGO
story to the assembled international community and erased prior misconceptions about the
autonomy and drive of the Chinese NGO community.
The Chinese NGO delegation in South Africa benefited greatly from the cumulative
knowledge of WSSD attendees and returned to China with enhanced capacity to tackle
complex issues, improved international communication skills, and fortified relationships
with the international community. The summit renewed the commitment of Chinese NGOs to
the sustainable development cause in China and crystallized next steps required for
domestic progress. As British DPM John Prescott hoped in the Chinese NGO Workshop on the
WSSD, an immediate response to the sessions has been a concerted effort by Chinese NGOs
to find new and creative ways to cooperate and partner with governments, corporations and
multilateral organizations in the creation of sound sustainable development policy.
This initial response to the WSSD must be reinforced and supported by additional action
if the Chinese NGO community is to build upon the momentum gained in South Africa. As
Dr. Klause Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, states in a message to Global Village of
Beijing after the WSSD, “China is at the crossroads. By choosing a sustainable
development path, and caring for the environment, China will provide a model for other
developing countries and impact favorably on the wealth of our planet, globally.” We
are very glad and proud that the Chinese government has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. But
we know that it will not be easy for China to elect this sustainable development path.
Much work is required to execute the Plan of Implementation for sustainable development,
to institute a cohesive network of NGOs and heighten the NGO role in sustainable
development and to establish effective partnerships for sustainable development. By co-
organizing a WSSD Follow-up Workshop in September 2002 in which 24 Chinese environmental
NGOs drafted and adopted the WSSD Follow-up Action Plan, Global Village of Beijing has
already begun this work. This is but one step in the journey toward a sustainable China.
In the future, we plan to do the following things to ensure a mechanism for implementing
the WSSD follow-up action plan in China. 1) Establish a Chinese environmental NGO network
support group to (a.) coordinate implementation of WSSD Follow-up Action Plan by 24
member NGOs and (b.) recruit additional environmental NGOs to adopt the Action Plan. 2).
Build a Chinese environmental NGO internet web-site to facilitate information exchange
between Chinese environmental NGOs. The web-site will serve as a window through which
Chinese environmental NGOs are viewed by each other and the outside community. 3). Write
and distribute a bimonthly Chinese environmental NGO newsletter. Updated information
about sustainable development in the world; Chinese environmental NGOs’ activities; case
studies; information for NGO capacity building, best practice’ methods to perform
business functions (i.e. project planning, status reporting, etc.) and templates and
toolkit’ for NGOs. The newsletters will be delivered to NGOs, governments, interested
business sectors, and the international community. 4) Hold national workshops to
strengthen the NGO network, and conduct dialogues with government, corporations and
multilateral organizations. 5). Invite researchers to conduct case studies about
environmental NGOs’ development, provide consultation for NGOs, write case studies
reports to deliver best practices and collect problems they are facing which can be used
to design appropriate capacity building programs. 6). Send representatives to UNCSD
meeting each year. The representatives are responsible for delivering Chinese
environmental NGOs’ message to the international community and bringing back the most up-
to-date information on the status of sustainable development in the world.
Dear brothers and sisters, we just celebrated the human rights day together. I believe we
human beings not only have rights to live in a good environment, but also have powers, to
create a better place to live in. I know maybe we can’t stop the environment degradation
during our lifetimes, but we will try our best to give ourselves, and the future
generations a world of choices, and not a world of constraints.
That’s all what I want to say today, thank you all for your attention!