China and the EU work together on global environmental governance and sustainable development

“In China, we are committed to supporting the rule of law in China’s environment and jointly addressing challenges in climate change, biodiversity conservation, green economic recovery and pollution control.” Long Di, chief representative of The Beijing office of Crines Environmental Europe.
“In China, we are committed to supporting the rule of law in China’s environment and jointly addressing challenges in climate change, biodiversity conservation, green economic recovery and pollution control.” Rondi is the chief representative of The Beijing office of Clines Environmental Europe (hereinafter referred to as “EEF”). Founded in 2008, EEP is an environmental law organization with offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Madrid, Berlin and Beijing. In China, the association is committed to supporting the China-Eu environmental Policy Dialogue, the drafting and revision of China’s climate-related policies and laws, the capacity building of environmental judges and prosecutors, supporting public participation and the capacity building of environmental social organizations, and the transformation of China’s overseas investment into a green and sustainable development.
Policy dialogue to promote green economic recovery
Rondi, a Dutchman, is fluent in many languages, but he has a soft spot for Asia. “China is the largest country in Asia, with a large population, a long history and a booming economy,” he said. “I especially want to visit China.” In 2002, he moved to Beijing to study Chinese and never left.
Rondi, who used to work for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, chose to join the European Environment Association in 2016. “In the field of industrial development, environmental protection is a priority. Gradually, I shifted my focus to the environment, especially supporting more social forces to participate in environmental practices through capacity building.”
A video conference room has been specially set up in the association’s Beijing office. “Many offline activities have been cancelled because of the pandemic, but work has not stopped for a moment. We often have video conferences here with our Colleagues in Europe.” “He said.
In recent years, with the active efforts of Londi and his team, the first phase of china-eu environmental cooperation project was officially launched in January 2018. Supported by the European Union, the project is jointly implemented by the Center for Environmental and Economic Policy of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China, the European Environment Association and GOPA Consulting. The project not only supports the China-Eu Ministerial Dialogue on environmental policy, enhances china-eu cooperation on global environmental issues and priority areas, but also provides a platform for exchanges between Chinese and Eu environmental policy makers and experts.
During the first phase of cooperation from January 2018 to June 2021, they carried out various activities and made substantial progress, such as holding the China-Eu Workshop on Climate Change Mitigation, the China-Eu Workshop on Biodiversity, and the China-Eu Workshop on Green Investment and Energy Transition, Rondi said.
“Green economic recovery is included in the project’s key focus areas, and we will continue to promote biodiversity conservation and climate change efforts.” He pointed out.
At the end of the first phase of the project, China’s 14th Five-year Plan was officially launched. China has pledged to strive for a peak in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. At the end of 2019, the European Union also released a Green New Deal for Europe, proposing that the EU achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions and decouple economic growth from resource consumption by 2050.
“Despite the impact of COVID-19, both China and the EU are working hard to address environmental and sustainable development issues, which also lay the foundation for a green economic recovery after COVID-19.” The second phase of the project began in July 2021, Rondi said.
Case exchange innovates judicial practice
When it comes to China’s progress in environmental protection in recent years, Long di is full of facts. The European Environmental Association has been actively involved in many of these efforts, such as amending the Environmental Protection Law, investing heavily in pollution control and clean energy, imposing heavier penalties on polluters, implementing carbon emissions trading, banning fishing on the Yangtze River for ten years, and declaring a red line for ecological protection.
“Case exchange is a very practical reference in the field of judicial practice,” Rondi said. Judicial systems in different countries are different, but the problems they encounter are similar. Through specific case analysis, environmental judges in Central European countries can learn from each other and solve practical problems.
In October 2021, the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) was held in Kunming, Yunnan province. The first case is the story of Chinese judicial practice to save the endangered green peacock.
Yunnan is a hydroelectric powerhouse in China and one of the most biodiverse regions in the country. China’s remaining green peacocks, found mainly in Yunnan, are as rare as the giant panda. The jiasa River hydropower project under construction in Yunnan will threaten China’s largest remaining habitat for green peacocks. After two years and eight months of efforts, kunming Intermediate People’s Court made a judgment of first instance in March 2020 that the construction company of the Jiasa River hydropower station should immediately stop the construction project based on the existing environmental impact assessment. In December of the same year, the second instance court, Yunnan Higher People’s Court, made the final judgment and upheld the original judgment.
“Yunnan green peacock case is China’s first wildlife preventive environmental public interest litigation, this milestone is to break through the ‘have damage to relief the traditional judicial philosophy, ecological environment protection in advance to damage the results before, highlights the Chinese judicial system on the biodiversity protection an irreplaceable role.” Rondy shared.
We will contribute to global green transformation
China is also playing an irreplaceable role in global environmental governance. On September 21, 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in his video address at the general Debate of the 67th SESSION of the United Nations General Assembly that China will vigorously support green and low-carbon energy development in developing countries and will not invest in new overseas coal power projects.
“China’s decision to halt new overseas coal power projects is a watershed and a shot in the arm for the global climate transition.” According to the Center for Energy and Clean Air (CREA) report, China has been the world’s largest investor in overseas coal power projects over the past 10 years, Rondy noted. China’s commitment is therefore significant for the global climate transition. New coal-fired power projects will be a thing of the past and other forms of energy will face stronger demand, leading to accelerated deployment of renewable resources such as solar and wind. “China’s move, while promoting the global green recovery from COVID-19, can also inspire other countries to further accelerate their green transformation and provide more financial and technical support to developing countries to cope with climate change.” Dimitri DE Boer said.
In the field of promoting green development of overseas investment projects, EIA and the Chinese government have long planned and carried out a lot of work. For example, the study and application of green development guidelines for The Belt and Road Projects aims to provide useful guidance for stakeholders to deal with climate change risks of overseas investment. The organization of global overseas investment in coal policy research, to promote China to stop the construction of overseas coal power projects to provide policy reference.
Public participation boosts good law and governance
Good law requires good governance. “The Chinese government attaches great importance to environmental protection and has introduced many laws and policies. How to implement these policies requires both the capacity building of the judicial system and the active participation of ordinary citizens,” Longdi said. China’s rapid economic development and the emergence of new problems, the environmental protection efforts must keep pace with China’s rapid development, Long said.
“In 2013, we started to look at the health effects of air pollution. My colleagues are paying attention to PM2.5, the air quality index released by the Chinese government every day.” He said it was good for the government to release environmental information and for the whole society to wake up to environmental awareness. However, there is an urgent need to educate about climate change.
He further pointed out that as more and more greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, global warming, sea level rise, the polar melting glaciers, extreme weather also often appear, such as droughts, floods and unpredictable rainfall distribution, threatening food security and biodiversity, and so on, “response to the global climate change, needs the participation of the whole society!”
“The Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China (Revised version), which came into effect on January 1, 2015, has an entire chapter on public access to environmental information, public participation in environmental planning and decision-making, and environmental justice. It’s very uplifting!” ‘The Chinese government has realized the importance of giving citizens the right to know and participate, and has been working hard to implement and ensure this right,’ he said.
“During the development of the China-Eu environmental cooperation project, my team and I acted as coordinators of various government agencies.” Today, public participation has become one of the guiding principles of the EU-China environmental governance program, along with public access to environmental information, environmental justice and corporate environmental responsibility, four themes jointly developed by the European Commission and China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Rondi added.

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