The world is currently wrapped in anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic, which does not discriminate according to national borders. Likewise, environmental protection is an issue that knows no borders. Taiwan has to always hold itself to the standards of all international environmental protection conventions and protocols and has been actively forming bilateral or multilateral agreements with neighboring and developed countries. Taiwan will continue to deepen and expand its influence in international environmental cooperation into the future, so as to protect the sustainability of the planet and work with other countries towards improving human health and welfare.
The following are the EPA’s continuous efforts in advancing international cooperation for environmental protection:
I. Signing memorandums of understanding (MOU) for environmental protection exchanges and cooperation between Taiwan and Japan
An MOU for environmental protection exchanges and cooperation was signed by representatives from both the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association. It includes cooperation on fields such as environmental education, environmental impact assessment (EIA), air quality control and monitoring, marine pollution control, waste management (including recycling), climate change mitigation and adaptation, and so on. Also, Taiwan and Japan shall take turns holding the Taiwan-Japan Bilateral Environmental Meeting every one or two years.
II. Promoting International Environmental Partnership programs
The EPA and USEPA has been promoting the International Environmental Partnership (IEP) program since 2014. The EPA also cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to expand environmental diplomacy and promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation. By conducting various seminars and exchanges under the IEP, Taiwan accumulates and builds experience and capabilities in regional environmental services and exchanges. The ongoing partnership programs focus on environmental issues that are of global interest and with which developing countries urgently need Taiwan’s assistance. They include programs for air quality management, atmospheric mercury monitoring, e-waste recycling, environmental education, environmental law enforcement, and more.
(1) The EPA will continue to promote the Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network (APMMN) by planning mercury monitoring works in the Asia-Pacific region, and assisting countries with analyses of mercury wet deposition samples.
(2) The EPA will continue to promote global environmental education partnership programs by strengthening the environmental education networks in each country and in the region, establishing the Asian-Pacific Environmental Education Network and promoting regional cooperation. The purpose is to strengthen cooperative relations with other countries and carry out Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy with respect to environmental education issues.
(3) With the 9th International E-waste Management Network Meeting held, the EPA will continue to promote the international e-waste recycling and management network, establish e-waste management partnerships, develop recycling and management systems, accumulate experience in developing innovative technologies and foster the exchange of international e-waste management information.
(4) The 2019 IEP-Vietnam Workshop was held to share practical experiences and deepen environmental law enforcement cooperation in the Asian region. The EPA also held the 2019 Taiwan-US Environmental Protection Technological Cooperation Agreement Workshop, during which practices in the US to enforce laws related to waste were elaborated. The participants also received hands-on experience with inspection and sampling equipment.
(5) The Annual New Southbound Countries Air Pollution Control Conference was held to discuss, exchange ideas and work out a mutually beneficial cooperation model to improve control of regional air pollution in Asia.
(6) The EPA organized the 2019 International Chemicals and Mercury Control Seminar, where participants discussed chemical management policies and their implementation, as well as exchange ideas on future challenges and developments.
(7) The 2019 Asia-Pacific Seminar for Environmental Health for Children took place for medical, healthcare, public health, and environmental protection personnel to exchange ideas with each other. The goal was to raise public understanding and awareness of environmental health for children.
(8) With the EU, the EPA co-hosted the 2019 Taiwan-EU Circular Economy Seminar, sharing experiences and achievements in plastic recycling, solar panel design and recycling and circular construction.
III. Promoting environmental cooperation with countries targeted in the New Southbound Policy
Taiwan-Vietnam Environmental Education Youth Exchange activities were organized. Participants from different backgrounds exchanged their expectations and responses related to environmental issues, learned from each other, shared cross-country and cross-field knowledge, and created openings for future cooperation.
Courses on “Responding to Climate Change for Sustainable Development” were organized to promote the government’s New Southbound Policy, strengthen exchanges on environmental protection between Taiwan and Vietnam, and improve regional environmental quality.
IV. Taiwan-Germany Environmental Forum
The second Taiwan-Germany Environmental Forum was held to discuss issues such as circular economy, energy conservation and carbon reduction, climate change and energy transformation, and source reduction for plastic wastes. The forum provided an opportunity for representatives from industry, government, academia and the research community to exchange ideas, and allowed Taiwan to learn from the experience of and approaches adopted by Germany. It also helped to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the environmental field.
V. International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The International Conference on a Sustainable Taiwan: Accelerating the Localization of UNSDGs, was held to address three main topics: SDG promotion, SDG promotion strategies and result assessment, and social consensus building. Via discussions and experience sharing, the international community, central and regional governments, industry, academia, the research community and civic organizations worked together to formulate a new vision for the new generation.
As a member of the global village, Taiwan strives to play its part alongside all other countries to promote world peace, pursue sustainable development and contribute to maintaining the global ecological balance. With a total of 12 conferences or events organized under IEP in 2019, as well as events scheduled for the years to come, initial progress has been made in raising the level of Taiwan-US cooperation, solidifying cooperation objectives and expanding international participation. Not only will the EPA continue showcasing Taiwan’s environmental protection achievements to the international community, it will strengthen relationships with other countries through assisting regional partners with improving environmental quality, gradually establishing positive interactions with high-level officials in partnering countries and building mutual trust.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (3)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)