With support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the EPA has actively facilitated environmental diplomacy and promoted regional bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Programs such as seminars and exchanges are regularly organized under the International Environmental Partnership (IEP), building up Taiwan's experiences and capacity in regional environmental services. The IEP programs that are currently being carried out mainly deal with environmental issues that are of global concern as well as areas where developing nations can benefit from the Taiwan experience.
Recent implementation results
1. Bilateral Taiwan-US collaboration
(1) Signing of the Execution Regulations No. 13 in the Taiwan-US Agreement on Environmental Technology Collaboration
After the Execution Regulations No. 12 ended at the end of 2019, discussions between the Taiwan EPA and USEPA soon followed Regulations No. 13, which includes the priority collaboration areas and potential cross-departmental tasks. Regulations No. 13, signed in September 2020, expands the bilateral cooperation scope between Taiwan and the US. Several emerging regional environmental issues that span across jurisdictions of different departments, such as renewable energy certification, ecological health for children, and marine waste, are covered in the latest Regulations.
(2) Taiwan-US atmospheric monitoring
The Taiwan EPA and USEPA jointly established the Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network (APMMN) in 2019. It has assisted partner nations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Mongolia, Nepal, Borneo, and India with mercury wet deposition sampling techniques and mercury analysis of rainwater samples. Taiwan also works with Japan on comparing wet deposition samplers. The Taiwan EPA has also continued working with NASA on the Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) Monitoring Network and Aerosol Automatic Monitoring Network Cooperation Agreement. The NASA-certified lidar station in National Central University is the only standard Lidar station in Asia.
Taiwan also joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Carbon Circulation Greenhouse House Monitoring Network, conducting greenhouse gas monitoring on Lulin Mountain, the Pratas Islands, and the Spratly Islands.
(3) Studies and practical training in environmental law enforcement
For the 2019 IEP programs, the Taiwan EPA and USEPA jointly held a training seminar for Vietnam, inviting director-level officials of the Vietnam Ministry of National Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and its National Assembly delegates.
The Taiwan-US Agreement on Environmental Technology Collaboration encompasses air pollution, water pollution, and environmental law enforcement. Representatives of the Taiwan EPA visited the USEPA headquarters in Washington DC and its Region 1 Office in Boston, Massachusetts, to learn from their law enforcement experiences and investigate future cooperation possibilities.
USEPA experts were invited to speak at a training course on waste-related law enforcement. Attendees, including prosecutors, members of the 7th Special Police Corps, local environmental bureaus, the EPA Department of Waste Management, and Bureau of Environmental Inspection in Northern, Southern, and Central Branches, shared their valuable experiences in the field.
2. Taiwan-Japan environmental exchanges and cooperation
The 9th Taiwan-Japan Environmental Symposium was held on 4 December 2020 in a video-conference format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are highlights of the event:
(1) Collaboration in environmental education: Japan promised to address core matters in the Asia-Pacific region, participate in the 2021 Asia-Pacific Environmental Education Forum, and promote exchanges on environmental education between Taiwan and Japan.
(2) Greenhouse gas management and climate change mitigation: Both nations shared their carbon reduction objectives and actions and discussed issues such as carbon-neutral policies and financial tools for carbon reduction.
(3) Exchange and cooperation for air quality monitoring technology
Taiwan and Japan had an in-depth discussion on recent monitoring issues and regulations concerning photooxidants, including standard modification and pollution warnings.
(4) Principles for streamlining and updating the EIA process for wind turbines
The EPA elaborated on issues encountered during wind turbine EIAs and shared experiences and practices related to their ecological impacts and review processes.
3. Taiwan-EU environmental exchange
(1) Participating in the European Commission's National Experts on Professional Training (NEPTs)
Under the bilateral talks’ framework between Taiwan and the EU, the European Commission's NEPTs helped Taiwan obtain the EU's approval for Taiwan's participation. Taiwan was one of the very few non-EU member states that took part in the program.
The EPA in 2020 had chosen delegates to attend NEPTs. The MOFA sent these recommended delegates' application documents to the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, which handed them to the European Commission's Human Resources and Security department for review. The objective is to set up a liaison relationship between the EPA and the EU and conduct various environmental collaborations or exchanges.
(2) Taiwan-Germany cooperation and exchange on climate change
The Taiwan-Germany carbon trading MOU was signed in April 2018. The Taiwan-Germany Carbon Market Capacity Building Collaboration Forum was held in Berlin in June 2019. On 2 October 2019, the second Taiwan-Germany Environmental Forum was organized in Taipei, featuring delegates from different sectors on issues, including circular economy, energy conservation, carbon reduction, climate change, energy transformation, and at-source plastic waste reduction.
(3) Taiwan-UK exchange during the carbon pricing mechanism workshop
Mr. Josh Burke, an expert on carbon pricing from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of the London School of Economics and Political Science, was invited by the British Office Taipei to speak at the Taiwan-UK Carbon Pricing Mechanism and Exchange Workshop, held by the EPA on 25 February 2020. Burke shared the UK's experiences on formulating carbon pricing policies and actual implementation and exchanging with Taiwan's leading scholars, experts, and think tanks concerning greenhouse gas reduction and control policies.
(4) Environmental cooperation and exchanges with other European nations
The EPA's other endeavors with other European countries include collaboration with the Trade Council of Denmark on the INDEX Award, a Danish contest on environmental education innovations and environmental designs; working with the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to promote and exchange electric vehicle technology and garbage collection systems, and; an exchange on carbon pricing with the British Office Taipei. All of the above have greatly benefited the development of environmental protection in Taiwan and cemented Taiwan's partnerships with these European countries through collaboration and experience sharing in various environmental fields.
4. Environmental exchanges between Taiwan and Israel
As the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25) had its bilateral talk with Israel, the EPA used this opportunity to hold an environmental exchange with Israel via video conference. The two sides exchanged ideas on their respective environmental policies, new green deals, and technology.
5. Cooperation and exchange between Taiwan and South Korea
In December 2019, a South Korean delegation of 15 people comprising South Korean experts, government officials, and academia attended the 10th Steering Committee Meeting and technical forums of the Taiwan-South Korea MOU on Soil and Groundwater Protection. Led by the Director of the South Korean Ministry of Environment Integrated Water Management Bureau, Young-Hoon Kim, the delegation had discussions and shared experiences on: enhancing remediation technology for arsenic and mercury pollution; onsite and offsite remediation technology, and; management of sites polluted by oil. The meeting marked a significant leap in bilateral environmental efforts and contributed to building the foundation for collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region.
6. Keeping up with the New Southbound Policy
The EPA has actively promoted exchanges with the New Southbound Policy's target nations, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Of these nations, Taiwan has the most frequent exchanges with Vietnam, with which two environmental collaboration agreements have been signed.
In 2019, experts and delegates from Taiwan’s environmental analysis institutes went to Vietnam to share environmental testing and analysis technology, while Vietnamese and Thai officials and experts also came to Taiwan for multilateral exchanges, creating an excellent opportunity for Taiwan to showcase the technology and capacity of its environmental analysis system.
Under the IEP program, the EPA cohosted the Environmental Training Seminar Vietnam, with attendants including director-level officials from the Vietnam Ministry of National Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and delegates from Vietnam’s National Assembly.
Forums on soil and groundwater pollution remediation technology were held in Taiwan and Vietnam in September and October 2019. Experts and scholars from both nations shared experiences investigating and remediating farmlands with heavy metal pollution and on controls on arsenic pollution in groundwater. Taiwan received valuable information on farmland pollution prevention and remediation in both forums, which marked a promising start for future bilateral collaboration.
Years of promotion efforts have increased the exposure of Taiwan's environmental protection achievements in the world. Taiwan has also strengthened its bilateral ties by helping regional partners improve their environmental quality and has steadily built-up beneficial interactions with these partner countries' top officials.
To develop local environmental industries, the EPA will carry out various projects in the future in line with the New Southbound Policy, including gathering information on environmental quality for the last five years in the focus nations (Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia). Data collection will target air quality, waste management, surface water body quality, soil and groundwater pollution, and marine pollution to understand critical environmental issues in these countries better.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021