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EST 612. Environmental Policy and Governance Chinese Environmental Politics and the Political System Lei Zhang, Ph.D. Dept. of Environmental Policy Wageningen.

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Presentation on theme: "EST 612. Environmental Policy and Governance Chinese Environmental Politics and the Political System Lei Zhang, Ph.D. Dept. of Environmental Policy Wageningen."— Presentation transcript:

1 EST 612. Environmental Policy and Governance Chinese Environmental Politics and the Political System Lei Zhang, Ph.D. Dept. of Environmental Policy Wageningen University The Netherlands May 2007

2 2 Outline Relevant facts about China political system Who is who? Who says in China? Evolution and dynamics of environmental politics Historic review Current shape Implications for environmental governance

3 3

4 4 China’s Political System (1) Constitutional Framework Article 1: The People's Republic of China is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship. Article 2: All power belongs to the people (through People’s Congress system) Article 3: The state organs apply the principle of democratic centralism The Communist Party is the sole party in power in China (although 8 parties exist in China, through the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference).

5 5 China’s Political System (2)

6 6 China’s Political System (3) Power Structure of the State

7 7 China’s Political System (4) Structure of the State Council (State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) since 1998)

8 8 China’s Political System (5) Three systematic features of centrally-planned economies: - Limitations of citizen involvement - Obsession with growth and industrialization - High material intensity of production modes Shortcoming within the system of environmental protection: - Insufficient authority and lack of coordination

9 9 China’s Political System (6)  A maze of intricacies, complexities and contradictions, and changing fast.  Governing the most populous country in the world is an art, not a skill which one can gain by training. Any one of these policy challenges could overwhelm a government’s capacity, yet the CPC must deal with all of them at the same time. (Source: Saich, T. 2004)

10 10 China’s Political System (7) High level of internal organization required for facing external challenges Deprivation of individual rights by internal organization Chinese Response A political system is a outcome of a given historical period with an economic system which fits the given survival environment. Thus, the diversity of natural environmental conditions lead to the diversity of political systems. Incremental democracy The Dilemma of Athenian Democracy

11 11 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (1)  Political determination From ‘capitalist exclusive’ to ‘national fundamental policy’  Institutional building From ‘Nobody’ to one of ‘wuge bawang (hegemonic powers)’  Policies and enforcement “Dragon seed harvests flea from reality”  Shift from environmental regulation to governance Call for fundamental institutional reforms and to involve all

12 12 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (2)  Political determination irrelevant to political affairs Stockholm Conference (1972), first National Conference (1973), Constitution 1978: first cardinal law for environmental protection, legislation, but economic development dominated

13 Second National Conference (1983), became a fundamental policy, leading to special laws (12), Administrative decrees (22), regulations (26), standards (263) now UN Conference (1992), China’s Agenda 21 (1994), Trans- century Green Plan ( ). Evolution of environmental strategies in China (3)

14 14 In 2003, during the National People’s Congress, the Chinese president stressed the urgency of environmental protection. “3 rivers and 3 lakes” pollution control plan (10 th -five year plan): 1534 projects, total investment billion Rmb. 中国环境科学研究院调研 Political determination: A new pathway of development since 2002 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (4) The President and the Premier stress environmental protection works at various occasions

15 15 中国环境科学研究院调研 Political determination: A new pathway of development since 2002 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (5) 2005 “Decision Concerning Scientific Development and Environmental Protection”, the State Council 2006 During the 6th National Conference on Environmental Protection, “three transitions”: to bring together economics and environmental protection to put growth and such protection on an equal basis and to use administrative, legal and market mechanisms to protect the environment with all the implications for pricing

16 16 Institutional building: SEPA system by 2005: - 3,226 EPBs at all levels with 167,000 people - 3,854 supervision and enforcement organs with 50,000 staff - more than 300,000 in departmental or enterprises organs Evolution of environmental strategies in China (6)

17 17 Institutional building: environmental legislation Evolution of environmental strategies in China (7) Constitution: “The state protects and improves the environment in which people live and the ecological environment. It prevents and controls pollution and other public hazards”. Laws by NPC : 9 on env. Protection and 15 on natural resources protection Administrative Regulations by State Council: over 50 Local Regulations : over 660 by local PC, governments and relevant departments

18 18 Institutional building: Participation in International Environmental Agreements Evolution of environmental strategies in China (8) International conventions: ratified more than 50 on environment CITES (1973) Montreal Protocol (1987) Basel Convention (1989) Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) Kyoto Protocol (1997) Rotterdam Convention (1998) Stockholm Convention (2001)

19 19 Institutional building: Participation in International Environmental Agreements Evolution of environmental strategies in China (9) Regional co-operation:  Greater Mekong Subregion, Environmental Cooperation Mechanism, 2005  Environmental cooperation under Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)  Environmental Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) of the Asian-Europe Meeting (ASEM), 2002  China-Arab Cooperation Conference on the Environment, 2005  China-Europe ministerial dialogue on environmental policy  Chair country of the environmental working group of ASAI….

20 20 Institutional building: Participation in International Environmental Agreements Evolution of environmental strategies in China (10) Bilateral co-operation: On environmental protection: agreements or MOUs with 38 countries, US, Japan, Canada, Russia… On nuclear security: 11 countries Bilateral assistance gratis: EU, Germany, Japan

21 21 Institutional building: enforcement capacity Evolution of environmental strategies in China (11) Industrial enterprises under environmental monitoring as part of all industrial enterprises Year No. of enterprises included in the NBS statistics Gross Industrial Output Value (GIOV) (billion RMB) No. of enterprises included in environmental statistics GIOV under environmental statistics (billion RMB) Ratio of GIOV of environmental statistics to that of national statistics Source: China Statistics Yearbooks ( ) and China Environment Yearbooks ( ).

22 22 Greening of economic agencies Evolution of environmental strategies in China (12)

23 23 Greening of economic agencies Evolution of environmental strategies in China (13) (Source: Shi, H. and L. Zhang, 2006)

24 24 Economic actors step in  Search for more affordable pathways since early 1990s  More susceptible to reputation risks, foreign green consumerism and global standards  More stringent environmental enforcement  Respond to increasing environment-related pressures or market signals  Signals from the financial and capital markets Evolution of environmental strategies in China (13)

25 25  Increasing public awareness and NGOs, traditional ways of public participation increased  New ways of public participation emerged  Environmental incidents caused social unrest  SEPA proactive in involving civil society in policy making  Mass media increasing attention to environmental problems  National government encouraging citizens Evolution of environmental strategies in China (14) Emerging green civil society

26 26 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (15) Emerging green civil society ENGOs in China: close to 3000, 49.9% GONGOs, 40.3% students groups, grassroot groups 7.2%, international NGOs 2.6% 29.5% of grassroot groups are registered with Civil Affairs Departments 92% of the ENGOs conducted environmental education and publicity activities; 15.6% involved in environmental complaints and protests; 11.8% involved in policymaking

27 27 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (16) Emerging green civil society According to “China Public Environmental Protection Index 2006” (Chinese Environmental Culture Promotion Association, 2007) Environmental issue ranks no. 2 among 10 hot public issues 63% think environmental problems in China are severe and very severe 32% are not satisfied with the current environmental quality and 44% think the quality is normal Only 4% think the government is not attaching importance to environmental protection 70% support the enforcement of Environmental Impact Assessment Compared to the date of 2005, 4.9% more will choose to report to EPB in case of environmental problems

28 28 Evolution of environmental strategies in China (16) Emerging green civil society

29 29 From Environmental Regulation to Governance  China’s accession to WTO  Industrial transformations - Reform of SOEs - Privatization of TVEs - Expansion of FDI and international trade  The empowerment of the civil society Evolution of environmental strategies in China (17)

30 30 From Environmental Regulation to Governance  Failures of the State-dominated environmental regime Evolution of environmental strategies in China (18) (Source: Shi, H. and L. Zhang, 2006)

31 31 New industrial environmental governance in the making Evolution of environmental strategies in China (19)

32 32 Directions for future  Role of the government will be strengthened  Role of the society: involvement and participation should be increased and institutionalized  Government-industry relation: mix of forceful regulation and cooperation Evolution of environmental strategies in China (20)


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