International Environmental Partnership Promotes Multilateral Cooperation in Seven Fields

In April 2014, EPA Minister Kuo-Yen Wei launched the International Environmental Partnership (IEP) at a ceremony attended by President Ma Ying-jeou and USA EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The IEP is based upon close cooperation between Taiwan and the US and aims to promote multilateral and regional environmental partnerships with the goal of improving the effectiveness of environmental protection worldwide. To date, seven major projects have been drawn up, and over 50 events and activities have been held in which over 40 nations worldwide have participated.

The IEP was formally launched on 14 April 2014 by EPA Minister Kuo-Yen Wei at a ceremony attended by President Ma Ying-jeou and US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The IEP is founded upon a close cooperation for more than two decades between Taiwan and the US in promoting multilateral and regional cooperation and aims to boost the effectiveness of environmental protection worldwide.

The seven main areas for cooperation outlined in the International Environmental Partnership include e-waste recycling and disposal; urban clean air; soil and groundwater pollution remediation; atmospheric mercury monitoring; environmental education; and environmental law enforcement. To date, over 50 events and activities have been held in which over 40 nations worldwide have participated, allowing them to share experiences and celebrate the many positive results from protecting the environment together.

1.Cities Clean Air Partnership (CCAP)

The aim of this project is to strengthen the management of urban air quality and therefore reduce the harm that air-borne pollutants and climate change is having upon the health of urban residents in Asia, thus improving their quality of life. The project is supporting Clean Air Asia in promoting city partnering in the region, developing city certification on clean air, and establishing a knowledge platform to strengthen the management of urban air quality and reduce air pollution sources.

2.Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network (APMMN)

APMMN is centered on a technology platform jointly set up by the Taiwan and US EPAs to assist Southeast Asian nations in establishing atmospheric mercury wet deposition sampling technology. Another platform – set up by the Taiwan EPA – allows mercury monitoring data, monitoring station information, standard operating procedure for sampling to be shared with other Southeast Asian nations to promote regional cooperation in the field of atmospheric mercury monitoring. In the Asia Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network Workshop held in June 2015 in Minamata, Japan, delegates from 16 nations in the Asia-Pacific region met to discuss how to establish a regional mercury monitoring network and further greater multilateral exchanges in the region.

3.International E-waste Management Network (IEMN)

Since 2011, the Taiwan and US EPAs have been jointly administering the International E-waste Management Network (IEMN) that is working to build management capabilities worldwide to recycle and dispose of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) so that it does not damage the environment. Current IEMN member states are from the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, and Africa. By means of annual conferences and knowledge sharing online, member nations can update their WEEE management policies and share policy development and administrative experiences with each other. In September 2015, the Taiwan EPA, the US EPA and the Colombia Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development jointly held the 5th International E-waste Management Network Conference. A total of 44 delegates of government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 17 nations in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania attended the conference to share their experiences in e-waste management.

4.Environmental Education

The aim of the environmental education program is to establish guidelines for environmental education, as well as promote climate change education, teacher training and professional development, and legislation governing environmental education. The program also promotes exchanges between eco-campuses and environmental education events that draw on the experiences of other nations to increase mutual understanding of ways to protect the global environment. Some of the projects currently being implemented include the Global Environmental Education Partnership, the US-Taiwan Eco-Campus Partnership, and Kids Making Sense – an air quality monitoring experiencing event for students.

1)Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP)

The aim of GEEP is to provide an open environmental education platform for environmental educators around the world to share knowledge and learn from each other. The first GEEP conference was convened in April 2014 in Taipei by EPA Minister Kuo-Yen Wei and US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The second conference was held in October 2014 in Ottawa, Canada; the third in Taipei in April 2015; and the fourth in San Diego, USA in October 2015. The latest conference was attended by environmental education specialists from governments and NGOs in 18 nations.

2)Kids Making Sense (KMS)

The KMS project is based on employing easy-to-use, mobile air quality monitoring instruments to give students the opportunity to test air quality for themselves. Deepening their understanding of the environment in this way should help stimulate the desire to make voluntary protection of the environment a part of their daily lives. KMS was first trialed in 2014 at Banqiao Senior High School in New Taipei City, and then at Stella Matutina Girls’ High School in Taichung City in 2015. The event will be carried out in Thailand in 2016. In 2015, the Taiwan EPA also supported the North American Association for Environmental Education to hold a KMS workshop in Los Angeles, USA.

3)Eco-Campus Partnership Program

The aim of the Eco-Campus Partnership Program is to facilitate partnerships between eco-schools in the US and in Taiwan through employing the same methodology and activities so that Taiwan’s eco-schools align with the international norms. Two workshops for the Eco-Campus Partnership Program were held in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and interested schools were invited to participate. Schools that gained accreditation through the program are now able to conduct exchanges with sister schools at home and abroad. To date, about 60 eco-schools in Taiwan have formed eco-campus partnerships with sister schools in the USA.

5.Next Generation Compliance Conference

The Next Generation Compliance Conference aims to share with other nations the experiences of Taiwan and the US in administering environmental laws and regulations. The Taiwan and US EPAs and Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) jointly held the Asia region Next Generation Compliance Conference in Bangkok in September 2015. Some 50 experts from government agencies of 16 nations, the Asia Development Bank, as well as various research institutions and citizen groups attended the conference.

6.Pan-Pacific Climate Adaptation Conference

Since 2014, the Taiwan EPA has been keen to form partnerships – and share its technology and experience – to mitigate climate change with other nations through the Pan Pacific Adaptation on Climate Change (PPACC). In 2015, Taiwan hosted the Pan-Pacific Climate Adaptation Conference, attended by 28 delegates from government agencies and NGOs in ten nations and from four international organizations. The delegates were able to lay the groundwork for specific models and platforms for cooperative efforts to deal with climate change.

7.Soil and Groundwater Remediation Service Program

This program came about after a request from the government of Indonesia for assistance in remediating polluted sites. It includes advice on regulatory frameworks, remediation technology, identifying polluters, information on successful remediation cases, and also specific advice on how to remediate some of Indonesia’s major polluted sites.

Events Planned for 2016

Events and activities in various environmental fields have been planned for 2016 under the IEP. In June, Taiwan will host an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mt. Lulin Monitoring Station as well as the inauguration of Environmental Monitoring Center. In August, Taiwan will host the Asia Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network Workshop that will focus on technology and data exchanges for monitoring mercury content in rainfall. The Taiwan EPA will also continue working with Clean Air Asia, the North American Association for Environmental Education, the US National Wildlife Federation, and Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network. Works to be promoted include city partnerships and certification for clean air, global environmental education, air quality monitoring camps, Eco-Campus Exchange, and the next generation of environmental law enforcement. Taiwan will also continue to hold related international conferences such as the Pan-Pacific Climate Adaptation Conference, the International E-waste Management Network Conference, and the International Conference on Sustainable Materials Management. The aim of these conferences is to exchange knowledge and experiences of environmental management to expand regional partnerships to work together to protect the regional and global environment.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 19 (3)