Zhao Yingmin has replaced Xie Zhenhua as head of the Chinese UNFCCC delegation

May 29, 2020

Zhao Yingmin, Copyright MEE.

For more than ten years, Xie Zhenhua headed the Chinese delegation in international climate negotiations, making him China’s leading climate negotiator and one of the world’s longest-serving climate diplomats. Whilst vigorously defending China’s right to development in earlier negotiations, Xie Zhenhua later became one of the key architects of the Paris Agreement and promoted low-carbon development as a national strategy within China.

The COP25 summit in Madrid in December 2019 saw Zhao Yingmin serving in Xie Zhenhua’s place for the first time. Zhao Yingmin – who worked as an aide to Xie Zhenhua in the 1990s – is a vice minister of ecology and environment with extensive experience in tackling pollution. Under his leadership, several key reforms were introduced in the ministries for environmental standards and pollution prevention, respectively.

There is a wide array of contentious issues to be decided on during the next UNFCCC summits, from establishing a new international market for carbon permits to paying for climate change loss and damage. At the same time, China’s domestic climate policy is likely to come under increased scrutiny as global temperatures are quickly rising, but international climate negotiations find themselves largely leaderless. The actions of both China at large and Zhao Yingmin himself will therefore be critical to sustaining global commitments to climate change in the year ahead.

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Sino-German Climate Partnership III

Project country
Political Partners
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China (MEE); National Energy Administration of the People's Republic of China (NEA)
Implementation Partners
Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China
09/2017 – 09/2020

Germany and China signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Combatting Climate Change and initiated this bilateral dialogue as "Sino-German Climate Partnership". The project has been established to support the cooperation between the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE). The new phase of the project starts in 2018 with close alignment to the restructuring at the Chinese government. In this phase, the project aims to advance the policy dialogue and cooperation with the Chinese partners domestically as well as within the international context of climate change. Part of the work will be supporting the development and implementation of China's medium- and long-term low-carbon development strategies, hence by supporting the Chinese government in strengthening the climate governance system. Domestically the SGCP project supports the policy dialogue on climate change (Sino-German Working Group on Climate Change) and enhances the exchange of German experiences and best practices, this includes strengthening capacities for the development of integrated climate and energy action plans as well as adaptation concepts for cities. On international level the SGCP project enhances the knowledge of both patterns about best practices in regard of climate policies and their implementation. For new cooperation topics identified by the Working Group on Climate Change, the project acts as an incubator for IKI development. As interface for information management, it serves a as a hub for exchange between partners of the IKI within and outside China, especially within the UNFCCC process.