| Improving environmental planning in China

Improving environmental planning in China

Oslo, 10.05.2010

Environmental planning in China has so far not been a great success. That is the only conclusion to draw from environmental data in the country – it has been reported over and over that emissions and discharges to air and water will not come down and cause heavy environmental damage. With Norwegian institutions Econ and Cicero, and the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, Vista is conducting a project to improve environmental planning in China.

A cat is resting on a stack of coal briquettes in Guizhou Province. Household use of coal continues to be a source of air pollution in China.

Partner Haakon Vennemo is managing the project. Vennemo explains the main content as follows: - We are primarily working with four Chinese provinces and with the Department of Planning of the Ministry of Environment. The idea is to develop new approaches and methods for use in the provinces, and feed lessons back to the Ministry. The provinces Yunnan, Guizhou, Hebei and Jiangsu all face serious environmental degradation of their air, water and land-based ecosystems. We contribute with suggestions on how to develop better targets using cost-benefit methodology, and how to evaluate investment projects, policies and plans using cost-benefit and a tool called Strategic Environmental Assessment. We also strongly emphasize the fact that environmental planning must be linked to economic and industrial planning. One reason for the ineffectiveness of Chinese environmental plans is that they have been detached from economic and industrial plans, which clearly are powerful driving forces behind environmental deterioration in the country.

The project is currently one year into its three years of operation. The project team recently held a successful workshop in Yangzhou, a city in Jiangsu Province on the topic of international experiences in environmental planning. In September a delegation of experienced Chinese environmental planners will visit Norway to learn more about Norwegian practice.