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International Workshop on “Sustainable Development and Public Environmental Participation”

2014/6/30 18:38:57

From June 23rd to 35th, the International Workshop on “Sustainable Development and Public Environmental Participation” co-hosted by University of Zhejiang University and Center of Environmental Education and Communications, Zhejiang Environmental Protection Bureau was held in Hangzhou.


Officials from Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and Zhejiang Environmental Protection Bureaus, as well as around 50 professors and experts from 39 domestic and international universities such as the Louisiana State University         , The University of Leeds, Fudan University, Nanjing University participated in the workshop. The workshop discussed public participation in the context of environmental protection and social and economic development with reference to the “Jiaxing Model”, one of the 15 EU-China Environmental Governance Programme (EGP) local partnership projects on the theme of public participation.


Dr. Li Jingyun from department of Policy and Law, MEP regarded public participation the most efficient social management method as it can supervise execution of government responsibilities, enforcement of laws and regulations, as well as law-abiding of enterprises. To enhance this supervision function of public participation, the new environmental protection law clearly defined public right to access to environmental information, to participate and supervise environmental protection. it is also stipulated in the law that public has the right to report inadequate Environmental Protection Law enforcement to relevant supervisory departments .  


Ms. Wang Jiangli, associate professor from University of Zhejiang brought up the concept of “Green Justice”. She interpreted “NIMBY” from a sociology perspective by analyzing the recent Hangzhou garbage incineration plant incident. “Other people’s backyard is as same as yours”, said Prof. Wang, “one has to understand the incident holistically. We should approach the incident by re-examining the lack of justice in the process and using the concept of procedure disputes, NIMBY and the legitimacy of the concerned public to push the government to value public opinions and to find a feasible solution. While for the public, they should change the mindset as well and try to reduce waste production. The ultimate goal is to build a society with mutual trust between the authority and the public.


Prof. Tseming Yang from Santa Clara University introduced a TTT system in US. The system requires enterprises to disclose their pollutant items annually. Emission amounts of more than 600 toxic matters are required to be disclosed according to the system. Enterprises that fail to report or report false data will face a fine of more than 25,000 dollars per day. Public can check emission data of any enterprises online through the Environmental Protection Agency website, which guarantees better supervision and execution of the system.  


In-depth and multi-perspective discussions centered on public participation in environmental governance took place during the workshop. Mr. Dimitri de Boer, Team Leader of the EU-China EGP were present at the workshop and delivered an opening address.

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