Need to better manage natural resources, environment

Updated 2018-05-14 14:25:04 China Daily

This file photo shows the scenery of the wetland of Dajiu Lake in the Shennongjia Forestry District, Central China's Hubei province.

The Third Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party has approved the plan of deepening the Party and country's institutional reform on Feb 28, which included the reform of natural resource and ecological environment management.

Since reform and opening up, the management systems of natural resource and ecological environment have many overlapped functions, which results in interest conflicts among various departments and cause mismanagement.

For instance, a piece of land could be regarded as farmland by the land department, while in the eyes of forest department, water department and transport department, it could also be regarded as forest land, or land for water conservancy or transportation. Take another example, a mountain could be divided into two parts: one part called scenic spot region will be run by the housing and construction department while the other part called forest park or natural reserve zone will be managed by forest departments. These phenomena cause great obstacles to the promotion of ecological civilization construction.

Reform of natural resources and ecological environment management system is of great significance. First, it meets the requirement of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. President Xi stressed that mountain, water, forest, grass, land and lake is a community of life.... The management of usage and ecological restoration should follow the rule of nature... It is necessary to let one department perform the duty of managing all the national land space to uniformly protect and restore mountain, water, forest, land and lake.

Second, it follows the requirements of the Constitution and amendment of Constitution. Article 9 of the Constitution stipulates that all mineral resources, waters, forests, mountains, grasslands, uncultivated lands, beaches and other natural resources are owned by the State, that is by the whole people; with the exception of the forests, mountains, grasslands, uncultivated lands and beaches that are owned by collective in accordance with the law.

At present the ownership of natural resources that belong to the whole people, except mineral resources, is absent in China, which requires a management system that could clearly define the ownership of natural resources. The amendment of the Constitution lists construction of ecological civilization as an important duty of the State Council, China's cabinet. And the reform of natural resource and ecological environment management system could enable the State Council better perform its duty of ecological civilization construction.

Third, it is to implement the demand of the Party's Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee, which advances to improve national natural resource asset management system. The general thought of the management system is to separate owner and regulator and clearly define the function of various departments. Meanwhile, the ownership of natural resources by all the people should be put in place, and a system that uniformly exercises the duty of natural resource ownership by all the people.

Fourth is to implement the demand of the spirit of the Party's 19th National Congress. The report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China clearly advanced to enhance overall planning, organizing and leading of ecological civilization construction, establish State-owned natural resource asset management and natural ecological supervision organizations, improve ecological environment management system and uniformly exercise the duties of natural resource ownership by all the people, management and ecological protection and restoration of all the State-owned land space, as well as supervision of urban and rural pollution discharge.

The smooth promotion of natural resource and ecological environment management system reform requires a series of works. First, we should establish natural resource asset ownership system in an all-round way, which is exactly the purpose of natural resource and ecological environment management system reform this time. Therefore, we should further clarify regulatory power and ownership of natural resource assets.

Meanwhile, departments' internal coordination should be enhanced after the natural resource and ecological environment management system reform. In addition, coordination between the central and local governments should be enhanced, as well. Reform should be promoted from the central government to local governments steadily and gradually.

The author Guo Zhaohui is a researcher with the economic division, Party School of the Central Committee of CPC.

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