PODGORICA — China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) passed a document on environmental cooperation and established a cooperation mechanism in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro on Sept 20.
At a conference on Sept 20 entitled “Legacy of the Future” initiated by Montenegro which aimed to implement the consensus of the heads of government of member countries of the 16+1 cooperation platform, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said that the mechanism will promote synergy of 16+1 platform and Belt and Road initiative with the development strategy of CEE countries, in the spirit of cooperation, openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning.
“I believe that China and CEE countries will focus on the synergy between different national strategies, improve the coordination of policies in this area, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in order to achieve sustainable development for the sake of joint prosperity and promotion of the cooperation,” the president said in the opening speech.
President Djukanovic pointed out that all countries in the world, economically developed or not, are trying to find a balance between “fast economic growth and preservation of a healthy environment.”
“Mechanism 16+1 proved to be a platform that strengthens mutual trust and cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China … This framework, which affirmed itself as a link between Europe and geographically distant China, is of immense importance for all participating countries in the area of environmental protection, and it gives an additional incentive to other global stakeholders to take a responsible approach toward our joint future,” Djukanovic said.
He noted that Montenegro’s leading role in the mechanism represents a privilege which requires dedication and additional efforts toward a high, but achievable goal: preservation of the environment as one of the most important segments of modern life.
The conference was also attended by China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment Li Ganjie, Montenegrin Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism Pavle Radulovic, and environmental ministers from CEE countries.
For his part, the Chinese minister said that the CEE countries are important partners of Belt and Road Initiative, and estimated that the “construction of green Belt and Road will provide all sides a stage for cooperation on ecology and environmental protection,” while the China-CEEC Environmental Protection Cooperation Mechanism would help these countries to deal with the challenges of air pollution prevention and management, solid waste management, climate change and biodiversity protection.
Li continued that this will inject fresh momentum into the 16+1 cooperation, and in that regard, suggested that the countries should enhance the connection of ecology and environmental protection and strategies of handling climate change, as well as to promote dialogue and communication on global, strategic environmental and climate issues.
Moreover, he said members are invited to become part of the International Coalition of Green Development of Belt and Road, to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, promote the dialogue on policies, regulations and technical standards, to make the cooperation in fields of infrastructure, trade and financial service — greener, as well as to actively promote the cooperation in the industry of ecology and environmental protection.
The Montenegrin Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a press release after the conference the mechanism will become a cornerstone for coordination in the area of environmental protection between member countries. Participants agreed to organize different activities in order to exchange experience, understanding and cooperation in the areas of technological and industrial cooperation.