Responding to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EPA uses Taiwan as a base to help people understand local environmental problems and the various threats the world faces and, in turn, inspire them to find solutions and take action. Therefore, the International Environmental Issues and Education Workshop was held again in 2021 for international students in Taiwan. However, not all event venues were opened to participants because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first stage of the workshop took place on 8 and 9 October, with students from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Poland, Panama, Peru, and Taiwan participating in a virtual classroom to learn about Taiwan’s efforts and environmental education on marine wastes.
Targeting international students studying in Taiwan, the EPA’s International Environmental Education Activities have just entered the second year. It is an important training program of Taiwan as the Asian-Pacific center for the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP). The Taiwan EPA and the USEPA have been pushing the GEEP since 2014, aiming to promote regional and international environmental education and facilitate collaborations to combat environmental challenges that confront all nations. In 2019, the GEEP Asian-Pacific center was set up in Taiwan to promote environmental education work in all Asian-Pacific nations.
The training activity this year centered around marine waste, a transboundary environmental issue. The idea of a circular economy was also introduced to help international students better understand Taiwan’s experiences, strategies, and feasible solutions in tackling the problem. They would serve as reference cases for other countries when they deal with the same environmental issues, which helps broaden Taiwan’s influence in this area.
The activity began with a pre-recorded video message from Judy Braus, Executive Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). She spoke about the GEEP’s core value and mission before going on to encourage all participants to “believe in the power of education, which can make change for the future."
The online event offered a wide array of courses that included government policy formulation, companies’ strategies to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR), and civil organizations’ promotion of environmental education. Students were able to advance in their knowledge and skills by learning how to deal with marine wastes and relevant practices. Compared to the event in the previous year that proceeded in a conventional model with only one-way communication, this year’s program put attendees in different groups, allowing them to have dialogues with students from different countries and share possible solutions for various environmental issues.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)