A Way Toward a Super Ministry? A Case Study of Environmental Protection Administrative System Reform in China - Co-Sponsored with the World Bank
March 27, 2012 // 12:30pm — 2:00pm
China has made significant progress in building an administrative system for environmental protection from nil over the past 40 years. The most recent reform of the government organization at the national level in 2008 was guided by the concept of establishing a system of “super-ministries” with comprehensive functions so as to trim the size of the government and improve efficiency. As part of this, the then-State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) was upgraded to the level of a full ministry with a cabinet position on the State Council, renamed the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). But the nation still is confronted by serious and growing environmental problems that require further significant advances. Based on the results of a World Bank Technical Assistance, the presentation will examine the current situation and problems with the administrative system for environmental protection, review past government administrative reforms and international experience, and set out a series of recommendations for the future reform of the national-level administrative system for environmental protection in six main areas - roles and responsibility of government agencies, environmental laws, a national coordination and decision making body, MEP organizational structure, supervision of local governments, and capacity building.
March 21, 2012 // 12:00pm — 1:15pm
Villagers in central China confront a chemical company that is poisoning their land and water in this rare portrait of grassroots activism in contemporary China. When his own fields could no longer be farmed, Zhang Gongli filed a lawsuit against the polluting factory. After he lost, he initiated a stubborn, and often dangerous, campaign for justice. The Warriors of Qiugang follows Zhang and his allies in the village as they petition Beijing, recruit support from the local media, reach out for help from a local NGO and make contact with environmental activists from across China. The film’s intimacy leads us beyond the headlines and clichés about modern China and offer a memorable portrait of villagers wrestling with, and transformed by, China’s headlong rush into modernity. In Chinese, with English subtitles, the movie was directed by Ruby Yang and produced by Thomas Lennon. It was the 2011 Academy Award Nominee for Documentary Short Film.
March 20, 2012 // 9:00am — 11:00am
China is home to some of the most polluted rivers and lakes in the world. Through stricter water pollution control laws and new targets in the 12th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government has intensified pressure on cities and industries to curb water pollution and wastage. Enforcement of such top-down initiatives remains challenging, but the Chinese environmental NGO community has been pursuing a broader range of tactics to improve water protection efforts—ranging from increasing transparency and information disclosure and conducting third party audits, to public interest law cases and public education campaigns. At this March 20th CEF meeting, Kristen McDonald from Pacific Environment will introduce the diverse and increasingly effective strategies being used by Chinese NGOs in to protect water and communities from pollution. Then Susan Keane from NRDC will discuss NRDC’s innovative Clean by Design program, which is designed to use the buying power of multinational apparel retailers and brands as a lever to reduce the environmental impacts of their suppliers abroad.
March 14, 2012 // 9:00am — 11:00am
Please join us for an insightful conversation with two researchers, Hu Tao and Mao Xianqiang, who will discuss how these co-control methods serve MEP in implementing the current 12th Five-Year Plan targets and the new air quality standards and the understand the prospects of some on-the-ground pilot projects in cities and the power sector in China.
March 07, 2012 // 9:30am — 11:30am
The premier’s prioritization of land reforms stems from the fact that as China’s urban and industrial sectors continue to grow, China is now suffering one of the worst rural-urban income gaps in the world. At least 120 million people still live under the international poverty line, with the vast majority residing in the countryside. Moreover, more than 4 million rural people every year lose their most important assets – land – due to government takings. On March 7th, Roy Prosterman and Zhu Keliang from Landesa will give a presentation based on a unique field study produced collaboratively by Landesa (formerly known as the Rural Development Institute), China Renmin University, and Michigan State University. And Megan Kram from The Nature Conservancy will discuss highlights from the book she authored: Protecting China’s Biodiversity – A Guide to Land Use, Land Tenure, and Land Protection Tools.
Stepping Lighter? Environmental and Social Impacts of China’s Overseas Oil, Mineral, and Gas Investments
January 13, 2012 // 10:00am — 12:00pm
To get the New Year rolling here at the Wilson Center, we start off with a CEF meeting on Friday January 13th (10:00-12:00) discussing the drivers and ecological impacts of China’s overseas investments in the oil and mining sectors. Our three speakers—Erica Downs (Brookings); Adina Matisoff (Friends of Earth); and Derek Scissors (The Heritage Foundation)—will share case studies and insights into Chinese investments in oil and minerals, as well as trends in China Development Bank loans and the financing of energy projects overseas.
Book Discussion - World Under Pressure: How China and India are Influencing the Global Economy and Environment
December 09, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
Join us for a discussion of Carl Dahlman's new book "World Under Pressure: How China and India are Influencing the Global Economy and Environment."
China’s Threatened Waters: Video Series Screening and Discussion on Wetland Destruction and Other Vulnerable Waterways in China
November 07, 2011 // 3:00pm — 5:00pm
As a result of China’s rapid economic growth in recent decades, coupled with climate change, vast swathes of China’s wetlands have now disappeared. These changes are having serious consequences for the millions of people who rely on these sources of water and also severely affecting the flora and fauna of these regions, pushing many to the brink of extinction. Photographer and videographer Sean Gallagher spent 2010 traveling thousands of kilometers across China for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Asia Society’s China Green, to document the diverse impacts of wetlands disappearance across the breadth of the country. We will screen some of Sean’s wetland videos. Following the screening of the short wetland videos and Sean’s comments, Zhao Zhong will talk about some of the successes and challenges to the campaigns and programs his NGO have conducted in northern China to protect wetlands and rivers from pollution.
October 26, 2011 // 3:00pm — 5:00pm
Scientists from the Himalayas, Andes, and Appalachians met recently at Nepal’s Imja Lake to discuss a number of wide-ranging conclusions about glacial decline and the threat of glacial lake outburst floods.
October 18, 2011 // 10:00am — 12:00pm
Peter Gleick and colleagues find that more and more regions of the world, the United States included, may be reaching the point of “peak water.” To conserve this critical resource without harming the economy or public health, individuals are looking for new techniques in sustainable water management.