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Ministry of Environment Established, Marking Taiwan’s New Chapter toward Sustainable Development

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Following the third reading and passage of the Organization Act of the Ministry of Environment (環境部組織法) by the Legislative Yuan, and its official promulgation by President Tsai Ing-wen on 24 May, the Executive Yuan's Environmental Protection Administration (the EPA) was formally restructured to become the Ministry of Environment (MOENV) on 22 June. The inauguration ceremony included the official appointment of Minister Shieu Fuh-sheng. Under the witness of distinguished guests, Premier Chen Chien-jen presented the appointment order and official seal to Minister Shieu. President Tsai, Premier Chen, USEPA Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida, and other esteemed guests joined Minister Shieu for the unveiling of the ministry's plaque, marking the completion of the inauguration. On the same day, the heads of the departments under the MOENV were also officially appointed and sworn-in, leading Taiwan into a new epoch of environmental protection with a focus on sustainable development.

The establishment of the MOENV was in response to critical concerns such as net-zero emissions by 2050, air quality improvement, resource circulation, and chemical substance management. The official strategy for better environmental quality has shifted from controlling pollutions to preventive management, integrating responsibilities and expanding operations. Major efforts will be made toward systematically address five major issues: climate change, resource circulation, chemical substance management, environmental quality management, and strengthened research of environmental science.

President Tsai: MOENV is tasked with three missions

President Tsai said that Minister Shieu was a scientist with administrative competence that takes proactive initiatives. With a background in materials engineering, he has devoted his past efforts to researching energy-efficient and circular materials. During his eight-year tenure as president of National Chung Hsing University, he not only established Taiwan’s Academy of Circular Economy, but also set up a Sustainable Development Office and installed an energy-saving and carbon reduction system. He was the first to advocate for the vision of achieving net-zero emissions on campus by 2040.

President Tsai emphasized that since taking office in 2016, her administration has been actively engaged in government organizational reform to enhance governance. The restructured MOENV will be tasked with three major objectives in the future. The first is coordination of climate change policies and establishment of a carbon pricing mechanism. The second one is to advance resource recycling management, achieving zero waste by shifting the focus from post-pollution controls to design and planning at the beginning. And finally, the capacity for technological research and development, with the MOENV working with the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to utilize technology as a cornerstone for addressing climate change and environmental governance.

Premier Chen: A sustainable environment is essential for Taiwan’s future

"Only with a sustainable environment can we have a sustainable Taiwan," said Premier Chen. He pointed out that the restructuring of the EPA would consolidate responsibilities across various departments in response to global efforts toward net-zero emissions. Following President Tsai's pledge of "net-zero emissions by 2050" two years ago, not only will the MOENV finish amending the Climate Change Response Act (氣候變遷因應法), but the recent establishment of Taiwan Carbon Solution Exchange (TCX) has demonstrated the ongoing progress in the carbon tax mechanism. Moreover, the Executive Yuan has a budget in the tens of billions planned out to initiate projects related to net-zero technologies across multiple government agencies. Premier Chen emphasized that every agency will play a significant role in environmental matters in the future. Only through inter-agency cooperation would Taiwan achieve the best outcomes for sustainable development and that future generations live in a resilient and comfortable Taiwan.

Minister Shieu: Full implementation of the transition pathway to ultimately achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

"Environmental sustainability is not only our mission, but also a severe global challenge we all face," stated MOENV Minister Shieu. The average monthly temperature in July this year marked the highest point in 100,000 years, as the world experienced extreme heat, heavy rainfalls, and incidents such as wildfires in Hawaii and drought in the Panama Canal. Extreme climate change phenomena are currently affecting every corner of the globe at an unprecedented speed. The transition from the EPA to the MOENV marked a significant milestone, and the MOENV will mobilize its entire staff and fully dedicate itself onward to mitigate these impacts.

Minister Shieu said the ministry’s future endeavor and its ultimate goal will be net-zero emissions, as it steadfastly follows the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050. The MOENV will continue to expand social dialogues and promote circular economy, zero emissions, as well as zero waste. This will enable Taiwan to undergo a successful transition in energy, industry, lifestyle, and society, and become resilient and sustainable.

Minister Shieu pointed out that the shift of the MOENV’s mission from pollution control to proactive management presents a tremendous challenge. Nevertheless, research institutes across Taiwan boast abundant capabilities, so in the future the MOENV will collaborate closely with the academic community and the industrial sector. The establishment of the National Environmental Research Academy, a merger of the Environmental Analysis Laboratory and the Environmental Staff Training Institute, is part of the ministry’s plan to have it as a think tank that conducts forward-looking research and assists in proactive management.

In the restructuring, the Climate Change Administration (CCA) was set up to accelerate legislation and organization of tasks that respond to climate change, and the Resource Circulation Administration (RCA) to integrate management of industrial waste reuse as well as strengthen resource circulation. The Chemicals Administration (CA) was formed to expand and improve chemical substance management, while the Environmental Management Administration (EMA) is designed to enhance coordination of waste treatment facilities and environmental quality management. Finally, the National Environmental Research Academy (NERA) is established to bolster environmental research capabilities and elevate the expertise of its staff in the area of net-zero emissions. With the establishment of these agencies, the ministry aims to actively address global environmental issues and create opportunities in Taiwan’s transition.

The inception of the ministry reflects the government's increased effectiveness in promoting green economy and sustainable development policies. With continuous environmental education and campaigns, the ministry strives to raise public awareness of environmental issues and work toward the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to leave a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

Minister Shieu's first official document upon assuming office was the appointment letter for the entire MOENV staff. It was transmitted electronically to all workers in the ministry, formally announcing the formation of a new team. On the same day, various directors and heads of the MOENV divisions were also appointed and took their oaths of office. They included the CCA Director Tsai Ling-i, the RCA Director Lai Ying-ying, the CA Director Hsieh Yein-rui, the EMA Director Yen Hsu-ming, and Acting Director Chang Shun-chin of the NERA.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2023
Ministry of Environment