Chapter 3 examines central Asia. It first evaluates the Caspian Sea Convention. The objective of this is to protect the Caspian environment from all sources of pollution including the protection, preservation, restoration and sustainable and rational use of the biological resources. It contains guiding principles and obligations such as EIA. It also evaluates the water resource arrangements for the Aral Sea: primarily the Joint Management and Conservation of Interstate Water Resources Agreement, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea Agreement, and the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination Statute. Chapter 3 furthermore considers the Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development Convention. The purpose of this last treaty is to ensure the effective environmental protection and improvement of the environment across central Asia, including the rational use of natural resources, and to reduce and prevent transboundary environmental damage through the harmonization and coordination. Principles and provisions for specific environmental media are included, together with cooperation, access to information and public participation. The provisions of each are again (where possible) compared and analysed with respect to the research questions outlined in Chapter 1 in an effort to evaluate their effectiveness. The role of China in connection with each regime is again also analysed and conclusions are drawn. Keywords: Caspian Sea, Aral Sea, Sustainable Development
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China and the Third Pole
Chapter 1 introduces the book, sets out the scope and aims, and outlines the research questions and methodology. A common framework for analysing each of the regimes is explained and justified, with reference to the scholarship of international law, international political economy and global politics. Chapter 1 also outlines and distinguishes between regions and subregions in Asia, and discusses environmental regimes in the literatures. It considers the geography of Asia as a region and the environmental issues it faces, examining the numerous international and regional institutions that operate there. It also reviews the discourse and scholarship in connection with regions and subregions developed by these institutions and by academic commentators, with a focus on the development of further institutions to respond to the needs identified. The notion and practicality of regime effectiveness is also considered. Keywords: Asia, subregions, environment, regime, effectiveness
China and the Third Pole
Chapter 5 looks to south and east Asia. It considers the environmental governance currently in place in south Asia, in particular as supported by the South Asian Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The latter has produced three relevant agreements: the Environmental Cooperation Convention, the Rapid Response to Natural Disasters Agreement, and the Energy Cooperation (Electricity) Agreement. These are all considered along with the Indus Waters Treaty, climate change arrangements, Malé Declaration on air pollution, and the Regional Seas Programme for the South Asian Seas. Significantly Chapter 5 also evaluates the SAARC and SACEP institutional arrangements that operate independently of the agreements promulgated, which may form the basis for any Third Pole regime. In east Asia, it furthermore analyses the Tumen Agreements, the aim of which is to attain environmentally sound and sustainable development of northeast Asia and the Tumen River Economic Development Area. Obligations are also present for EIA and environmental management plans, which are fully analysed. Chapter 5 also examines the informal arrangements for air pollution in northeast Asia, and the Regional Seas Programme for East Asia. Significantly, Chapter 5 analyses the prospects for establishing an additional environmental regime for the Third Pole, and China’s potential role in relation to this. This is based on the conclusions from each of the preceding chapters and in the context of the particular environmental issues and geopolitics of this subregion. While most of the regimes in the subregions discussed in Chapters 2-5 are based on formal agreements, and the majority have been adopted, (and in many instances ratified and applied with some - albeit limited - success), the governance of the Third Pole is yet to be conceived, fully proposed and evaluated. Finally, Chapter 5 answers the remaining central research questions not addressed in the previous chapters, summarises findings, and emphasises likely challenges. These include - despite the significance and necessity of engaging China (and other key states) in environmental regimes, and particularly in the Third Pole subregion - that a reluctance to cede national sovereignty to international law-making may impede progress. Research directions going forward are elaborated at the end of Chapter 5, which include considering multilateral, regional and subregional agreements in other parts of the world, and the significance of institutional support in any legal transplant. Keywords: SAARC, SACEP, Tumen, China, Third Pole
China and the Third Pole
Chapter 4 is focused on southeast Asia. It explains and analyses the Mekong Agreement. This is focused on cooperation in relation to sustainable development, utilization, management and conservation of the water and related resources to optimize the multiple-use and mutual benefits of all riparians, and to minimize harmful effects. Obligations on the Mekong River Commission (MRC) discussed include creating a Basin Plan, and on Parties to notify and consult in relation to development, principally dam-building. Chapter 4 also explains and analyses the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Conservation Agreement and related Centre for Biodiversity Agreement. The first contains many broad environmental objectives and obligations, as well as specific provisions on conserving genetic diversity, endangered and endemic species, vegetation cover and forest resources, soil, water and air. EIA, advance notification, and appropriate consultation should all be undertaken prior to any proposed utilisation of the shared resources. Chapter 4 finally evaluates the Haze Pollution Agreement. This aims to prevent, monitor and mitigate negative transboundary effects arising from land and forest fires through national efforts and international cooperation. Measures to control the sources of fires; develop monitoring, assessment and early warning systems; exchange information and technology; and provide mutual assistance, are all included, and outlined in the chapter. The provisions are again compared and analysed with respect to the research questions set out in Chapter 1 in an effort to evaluate their effectiveness. The role of China in connection with each regime is furthermore analysed and conclusions are drawn. Keywords: ASEAN, MRC, Mekong, Conservation, Haze Pollution
China and the Third Pole
Chapter 2 concerns southwest Asia. It analyses the Arabian Gulf / Gulf of Oman Convention, and the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden Convention, together with the numerous detailed protocols elaborated there-under. The objective of both is the conservation of the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and Red Sea and Gulf of Aden environment respectively, including the prevention, abatement and combating of marine pollution. Each contains general and specific obligations, including the prevention of pollution from ships, dumping, and from land-based sources; from exploration and exploitation; and other human activities. Each furthermore contain obligations to conduct environmental impact assessment (EIA), and for liability and compensation. The provisions are compared and analysed with respect to the research questions outlined in Chapter 1 in an effort to evaluate their effectiveness. The role of China in connection with each regime is finally analysed and conclusions are drawn. Keywords: Gulfs - Arabian, Oman, Aden - Red Sea
Yu Wenxuan and Chen Shiyin
The Law on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution (2000) is the special law on air pollution prevention and other relevant Regulations and Rules were enacted according to this Law. These constitute the legal system for providing clean air in China. The main contents of this chapter include: supervision and management; pollution caused by coal; pollution caused by vehicles and vessels; exhausted gases, dusts and fetors; pollution caused by straw burning; ozone layer protection; energy saving and emissions reduction; and environmental standards. Some special measures are provided to solving the problem of air pollution. This clean air legal system, however, needs to be improved in regulatory scope, in its consistency with other environmental protection laws, the liabilities and environmental management approaches, such as market-based approaches and public involvement.
Legislation plays an important role in biodiversity conservation in China, it includes: constitutional provisions; biodiversity-related laws; regulations; rules; and normative documents. The content of all these biodiversity conservation laws include the following aspects: ecosystem protection and conservation; natural reserves; utilization of wild animals and plants; management of germ plasm; management of traditional Chinese medicine species; new varieties management; and quarantine. Existing legislation provides an important legal basis for biodiversity management, but it needs to be improved in its objectives, legislative integration, legal regimes and legislative progress. To meet these challenges, further legislation needs to clearly define the objectives, form an integrated legal system, and, most important of all, make the legal regimes more specific and detailed.
As a populous and leading developing country, China attaches great importance to environmental issues and plays an indispensible role in the international environmental regulatory regime. For decades, China has participated in various international environmental agreements, which cover the areas of sustainable development and general environmental agreements, international atmospheric environmental protection, international freshwater resources utilization and protection, international marine pollution control, international biological resources protection, international land resources protection, environmental protection in polar regions, environmental protection in outer space, world natural and cultural heritages protection, international hazardous substances and activities management, international wastes management, control of the weapons of mass destruction and environmental protection and international trade and environmental protection. This chapter provides an overview of China’s participation in all these areas and suggests means by which it can take a more prominent role in future years.
China has always seen itself as a developing country. The transfer of funding and technology from developed to developing countries has been China’s key concern in international environmental issues for the past 30 years. China hopes to gain more funding, technology and other capacity building resources from developed countries so as to improve its work on environmental protection. Economic development has been China’s priority for decades. Since it first adopted its market reform and open door policies, China has clearly stated its belief that a good economy provides the foundation for better environmental protection. Although China would like to avoid the western model of “pollution first, restoration later”, it has failed to create a new path to developing the economy while protecting the environment. As the world’s second largest economy, it is time now for China to make a more significant contribution to combating global environmental issues, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
This chapter provides an overview of the current legal system and legal institutions –statutes, courts for instance – in a broader sense, in China with emphasis on environmental law where appropriate. The issues, such as how laws are promulgated, which laws are currently in effect, who is responsible for the execution of laws, and how judiciary system works are the main topics. It begins with a structural description of laws currently in effect in accordance with the customized divisions of the legal system. Then, it reviews the legislative branch including the allocation of legislative power, the legislative procedures and the rules resolving conflicts of legal norms. The judiciary system concerning the courts and the procuratorates as well as the role of the executive branch are analyzed.