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Taiwan’s 2030 Environmental Protection Goals Set In Line with International Sustainable Development Goals

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The National Environmental Protection Plan approved by Executive Yuan on 14 February 2020 was formulated based on the structure and responsibilities of the Ministry of Environment and Resources. Echoing the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and considering the environmental protection trends and key issues both within and outside of Taiwan, the Plan sets out short, medium, and long-term implementation strategies and goals, aiming to achieve the visions of “reducing carbon and disasters”, “relaxing and breathing well”, “enjoying clear water”, “transforming waste to resources”, “zero forest loss”, and “co-existing with wildlife” by 2030.

The National Environmental Protection Plan is based on the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China Article 10 paragraph 2, which states “environmental and ecological protection shall be given equal consideration with economic and technological development”, and the strategies under the Basic Environment Act. The Plan was formulated first by bringing relevant departments together to come up with response strategies and mechanisms, with the main focus on the overall environment and ecosystem. Then these strategies were thoroughly discussed by scholars and experts, government agencies, regional governments and civic organizations to reach a consensus. The EPA noted that the Plan addresses 13 environmental issues under five areas, namely, climate action, environmental quality, nature conservation, green economy, and sustainable development partnerships. Key performance indicators (KPIs) were set for each environmental issue to track progress and results and to help with implementation of national environmental protection tasks. In the future, it is expected that the implementation results will be disclosed on an annual basis through environmental white papers or other suitable channels.

Setting 2030 goals

The National Environmental Protection Plan will be implemented towards achieving the 2030 goals and the visions of “reducing carbon and disasters”, “relaxing and breathing well”, “enjoying clear water”, “transforming waste to resources”, “zero forest loss”, and “co-existing with wildlife” in Taiwan.

Reducing carbon and disasters

Working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to the baseline year 2005

Relaxing and breathing well

Increasing the ratio of days (from 84% to 93%) with air quality good enough for outdoor activities

Enjoying clear water

Lowering the ratio of seriously polluted sections of 50 rivers from 3.8% to 0%

Transforming waste to resources

Increasing the general waste recycling rate from 55.69% to 60%

Zero forest loss

Maintaining the forest coverage rate at 60.7% or higher

Coexisting with wildlife

Keeping the percentage of statutorily protected land area at 19.2% or higher of the total national land area, with the water quality compliance rate across all marine water quality monitoring stations at 99.7%

Planning for the 13 environmental issues under five areas

Planning for the short, medium, and long-term strategies and goals for the 13 environmental issues under five areas addressed by the Plan, and setting key performance indicators for tracking.

‧Climate action: responses to climate change, mountain conservation and disaster prevention and management

‧Environmental quality: EIAs, atmospheric environments, watershed management, chemical substance management

‧Green economy: resource recycling, environmental technology

‧Nature conservation: terrestrial ecosystem conservation, marine conservation, environmental resource investigation and monitoring

‧Sustainable development partnership: environmental education, social participation

Follow-up tasks include inviting relevant ministries to hold meetings with local governments to explain what is approved under the Plan and the actions to be taken in the future, and holding seminars in northern, central, southern, and eastern Taiwan to help local governments formulate localized environmental protection plans. The central government will join forces with local governments in implementing the environmental actions and regularly publish environmental white papers to disclose implementation progress and results in the future.

The passing of the National Environmental Protection Plan allows government agencies to join forces with corporations, organizations, and the general public in carrying out environmental protection actions, so as to advance towards ensured environmental security, green lifestyles shaped through a circular economy model, and ultimately a harmonious coexistence between people and the environment.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (3)

Ministry of Environment