EU-China Environmental Governance Programme

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Kick-off meeting on training course for judges in environmental rights

2014/2/19 15:49:13

The kick-off meeting of the project Development of Training Curricula and Organisation of Training Courses for Judges in Environmental Law in Shaanxi, Guangxi and Gansu was held on January 19, 2014 at the Xi’an International Conference Center in Xi’an, China. This is one of the partnership projects with EU-China Environmental Governance Programme. The meeting was attended by Dr. Wang Han, Vice President of the Northwest University of Politics and Law; Dr. Huang He, Vice Dean of the Shaanxi High Provincial Court; Mme. Jia Jingping, Special Committee Member at the Gansu Provincial High Court; Mme. He Yanbin, Special Committee Member at the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region High Court; Dr. Li Yongning, professor of environmental law and director of the Institute of Environmental Law at the Northwest University of Politics and Law and project manager; Dr. Li Jihe, professor and dean at the School of Economic Law at the Northwest University of Politics ad Law senior; Dr. Johannes Schlichte, Vice Director of the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme at GIZ; Douglas Whitehead, project manager at the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme; and over 30 attendees including judges and external experts. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Li Jihe.

During the kick-off meeting, speakers emphasized the increasing importance of environmental protection at both Central and Provincial level policy making in China and their respective provinces, particularly in the light of increasingly acute challenges in throughout the country and in the region, including air pollution and water resource conservation. Speakers noted that while considerable progress has been made in environmental legislation and governance both at the national level and at the provincial level, challenges remain in the enforcement of such laws, including the capacity of judges in various courts to process environmental cases, the still relatively small number of environmental cases brought to the courts, and elsewhere. The distinguished guests also described more broadly the environmental governance challenges faced in each province and pointed to steps that need to be taken or are being taken in order to address those challenges.

The meeting began with statements from the panel of distinguished guests. Dr. Wang of the Northwest University of Politics and Law expressed thanks to the panel of guests, scholars and experts, his expectations for a smooth launch to the project and his wishes for success to the project. Dr. Huang He, Vice Dean of the Shaanxi Provincial High Courts, congratulated the project on its successful launch, wished for close cooperation between the project partners in implementing the project and thanked the project experts for their great efforts during the preparation for and implementation of the project. Dr. Johannes Schlichte, Vice Director of the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme, and Mr. Douglas Whitehead, thanked Dr. Li Yongning and colleagues at the IELUPL for their extensive efforts toward the project and the organization of the kick-off meeting. Mme. He Yanbin, Committee Member at the Guangxi High Court, and Mme. Jia Jingping, Committee Member at the Gansu High Court, said that their respective High Courts will take seriously the opportunity afforded through the project, and will offer full support and efforts toward the successful implementation of the project.

Following the opening statements, Dr. Huang He, Dr. Wang Han, Mme He Yanbin, Mme Jia Jingping and Dr. Johannes Schlichte unveiled the project plaque, officially launching the project.

Presentations were made by project managers and experts. Dr. Li Yongning of IELUPL provided a broad overview of the project background, strategic planning and timeline for implementation, following which Mr. Douglas Whitehead of GIZ provided supplementary information regarding the project. Dr. Li Junbo of IELUPL then provided a detailed introduction to the survey on capacity building needs assessment in environmental law among judges in the three provinces, and on the development of the curricula for judges and trainers. Following this, Dr. Johannes Schlichte provided an overview of environmental law and justice in the European Union. Finally, after the introductions of the project were made, Mme He Yanbin and Mme Jia Qingping observed that the High Courts of Guangxi and Gansu would lend strong support to the survey, curriculum preparation and trainings over the course of the project. Professor Li Jihe and Dr. Schlichte then provided closing remarks.

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