GUIYANG, July 11 (Xinhua) -- An international forum on environmental protection opened on Friday in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, aimed at seeking concerted global efforts on greener growth.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a congratulatory letter to the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2014 that China, together with other countries and international groups, will strengthen cooperation in environmental protection and work to fulfill international environmental protection conventions.
"China has put more emphasis on ecological construction for modernization, seeking development in the process of protection as well as protection in the process of development," Li said in the letter, adding the country has been striving for air, water and soil pollution control.
The theme of this year's forum emphasizes the role of China's reform in the green drive as well as the common responsibility borne by the government, enterprises and the public, Li said in the letter.
Around 1,000 guests, including representatives from 61 countries and regions, have gathered to share opinions and experience on climate change, clean technology, green production, and legislation on environmental protection before the conference closes on Saturday.
The Eco Forum Global is an independent international organization committed to improving the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders in shaping global, regional and industry agendas.
Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao attended the opening ceremony.
During rapid industrialization and urbanization, China has faced increasing pressure from the environment, and there has been growing public demand for environmental protection and pollution control, Vice President Li said.
In the five-year plan from 2011 to 2015, China aims to lower its energy consumption by 16 percent per GDP unit from 2010 levels and lower its carbon emissions per GDP unit by 17 percent. Major pollutant emission volume is expected to drop by eight to 10 percent by the end of 2015.
"Ecological civilization is closely related to the welfare and future of all human beings," Vice President Li said, stressing the balances between economic development and ecological construction, environmental protection and ecological rehabilitation, resource exploitation and conservation, individual responsibility and mutual cooperation.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also sent a greeting letter to the forum, encouraging all participants to recruit a growing alliance of influence and action.
"I count on your leadership to bring the public and private sectors together to advance our collective endeavor -- and urge you to bring your actions to the Climate Summit that I'm convening in New York on Sep. 23," he said in the letter.
Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, President of the Council of States of Switzerland's Federal Assembly Hannes Germann, Russian Presidential Administration chief Sergei Ivanov, Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also attended the ceremony and delivered speeches.
The world's population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2025, and human consumption of resources, material and energy will grow even more. Under such circumstances, collective efforts by governments, business communities and social partners are needed, said Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said protecting the environment with limited natural resources while trying to solve unlimited poverty issues has become one of the world's most pressing challenges. Rudd said the forum has provided an important platform for world participants to address the challenge.
"Climate change is a global issue that needs concerted efforts. If countries fail to reach an agreement at the climate conference in Paris, more and more people will be disappointed," he said.