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Environmental Impact Assessment on Development Strategy of Central Region Launched
The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently launched an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the development strategy of the Central Region, aiming to promote economic transformation and upgrade of the region.

The assessment mainly includes: an analysis on the regional socio-economic development strategy, appraisal of the current situation of the regional ecological environment and the evolution of major environmental issues, an assessment on resource and environmental pressures in the socio-economic development of key regions, a comprehensive assessment on the resource and environmental bearing capacity in key regions, an assessment on the environmental impact and ecological risk of key regions, an overall strategic scheme for environmental protection aiming at optimizing the regional socio-economic development, and countermeasures and suggestions on the coordination between socio-economic development, resources, and the environment.

Vice Minister Xiaoqing WU of the Ministry of Environmental Protection indicated that the development of the Central Region faced the conflict between the development scale of city clusters and the bearing capacity of resources and the environment as well as that between the development of key regions and the ecological safety pattern. The EIA should study and appropriately deal with these two conflicts, and focus on promoting a people-oriented new mode of urbanization that incorporates the concept and principles of ecological civilization into the urbanization process for the Central Region. In combination with the dominant functional zone strategy, the EIA should also strictly safeguard the ecological red line, and study and guide the reasonable layout of spatial development.

Meanwhile, Xiaoqing WU also expressed that the Central Region was the major grain production base of China and very important for the national ecological safety pattern. It is the responsibility of the Central Region during its rise to ensure the safety of grain production, regional ecology, and human settlements. The EIA should study not only the restrictions of resources and the environment in grain production and the laws governing the operation of rivers and lakes, but also the features of strategic protection of the ecological environment, so as to explore measures for guaranteeing the safety of human settlements.

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