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Supervision of private investment in environmental projects stepped up

Yang Wanli
Updated: Nov 24,2021 08:57    China Daily

Authorities in China will strengthen supervision and law enforcement to crack down on the illegal involvement of private capital in environmental protection and restoration, guaranteeing the safety of the country's natural resources.

China recently released a guideline to encourage and support the engagement of private capital throughout the process of environmental protection, including investment, design, restoration and management.

The guideline, which is expected to promote the country's high-quality development, mentioned that contractors of forest and grassland restoration projects will be granted the right to make profits from industrial exploitation, but it should be limited to less than 3 percent of the project's total area.

"We will strengthen the supervision and have no tolerance for those illegal activities that destroy the environment or natural resources in the name of environmental protection or restoration," said Zhou Yuanbo, director of the Ministry of Natural Resources' national territory environment restoration department.

He also said a credit system will be set up to prevent the illegal involvement of private capital in environmental protection and restoration from happening again.

Several key fields were mentioned in the guideline when exploring the development of ecological industries, such as the protection and restoration of farmland, urban areas, mines and marine ecosystems.

To attract private funds, the guideline sets out reforms and detailed requirements for participation mechanisms and supportive policies, such as preferential policies on loans, said Hao Yanling, director of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration's planning and finance department.

Under the guideline, private capital will be allowed to make profits from developing industries through rights to use natural resource assets or franchise rights, making carbon sink transactions and comprehensively utilizing resources approved by the government.

The guideline also suggested some efficient working procedures for launching projects and formulating plans scientifically and reasonably, introducing entities through transparent competition and regulating trading in related products.

"We will give full play to the decisive role of the market in resource allocation, give greater play to the role of the government, increase investment in key areas, enhance market vitality, and promote the high-quality development of ecological protection and restoration work," said Wang Guanghua, vice-minister of natural resources.

Zhou said related departments will build a mechanism soon to safeguard private capital's lawful rights and interests. He also said that natural resources departments at all levels will be urged to release their protection and restoration plans, mapping out clear goals and practical procedures in detail.

"We will build a strong team of talent on environment protection and restoration and improve public awareness and encourage the engagement of private capital, calling for joint participation from the whole of society to build China into a beautiful country," Zhou said.