Xie Zhenhua


Xie Zhenhua

Prize Category: Sustainability Prize
Specific Area of Focus: Prevention of Climate Change

Xie Zhen-hua is awarded the LUI Che Woo Prize 2017 in the Sustainability category, with the Specific Area of Focus on “Prevention of Climate Change”. 

Mr Xie Zhen-hua contributed to the “prevention of climate change” in two important aspects: first, in leading and promoting China’s own domestic efforts; and second, in championing and promoting international action on climate change, culminating in the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

On the first aspect, since 1993, Mr Xie has successively led the efforts of the State Environmental Protection Agency (later the State Environmental Administration) and the National Development and Reform Commission in environmental protection, energy conservation and pollution reduction.  Given the significance of China, the policies he devised, advocated and implemented have had an enormous impact on the prevention of global climate change as well as served as models for other developing economies.

On the second aspect, Mr Xie was absolutely crucial to the success of international negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement of December 2015, which required the unanimous approval of all 195 participating countries and regions.  Through his patient and intelligent efforts, Mr Xie successfully convinced the governments of both China and the U.S., the two largest economies and largest emitters of greenhouse gases, to work together and the smaller developing economies to go along.  While the Paris Agreement cannot be attributed to any single individual, few can be identified as having as decisive and important an influence as Mr Xie.


Xie Zhen-hua, born in November, 1949 in Tianjin, was graduated from the Department of Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University in 1977 and got the Master’s Degree of Law from the Department of Environmental Laws, Wuhan University in 1991. 

He worked in the field of environmental protection since 1982. From 1993, he successively held the posts of Administrator of National Environmental Protection Agency, Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration, and Vice Chairman (Minister level) of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China. He assumed the post of Vice Chairman for the Committee of Environmental Protection of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in March 2015 and Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China in April 2015.

For a long time, Mr Xie Zhen-hua has been responsible for environmental protection, resource conservation, energy conservation and emission reduction, and climate change, and has thus made great contributions to the green, low-carbon and sustainable development and ecological civilisation construction in China, as well as the global environment and climate governance.

He has been the head of Chinese delegation to UN Climate Conferences for 10 consecutive years since 2007 and thus facilitated series of successful outcomes in the multilateral climate change negotiations. Under Mr Xie’s relentless efforts, the Chinese negotiation team has conducted dialogues and cooperation with many Parties to the 
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change such as the US, EU, France, India, Brazil and South Africa, playing a prominent role for the adoption, signing and entry into force of the Paris Agreement. 

He has also promoted concrete cooperation in the fields of energy conservation, emission reduction and green and low-carbon development between China and other 30 plus countries, regions and international organisations, and facilitated the Chinese government to train more than 1,000 officials and technicians working in the field of tackling climate change for over 100 developing countries.

Mr Xie Zhen-hua received GEF Global Environment Leadership Award in 2002, UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize (the highest prize on environment protection in the UN system) and World Bank Green Award in 2003, Alliance to Save Energy – Energy Efficiency Visionary Award in 2009, and WWF “Leaders for a Living Planet” in 2015.


Championing international collective action to tackle climate change

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