Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 7

By Günther Handl; Jutta Brunnée et al. | Go to book overview

Government issued a third review of a 1989 White Paper entitled Pollution in Hong Kong: A Time to Act, entitled "Heading Toward Sustainability."

David McKellar

Bryan Bachner*


D. TAIWAN

(1) General Background

In 1996, as in previous years, Taiwan's role in global environmental issues was strongly related to its active international trade on the one hand, and the embarrassing lack of international recognition on the other. Taiwan was kept out of international environmental treaty-making throughout the year of 1996, a status rather ironic for the world's 14th largest trading nation with a democratic form of government.


(2) Participation Without Membership

Given its pattern of development and unique international status, Taiwan seems to have found its own way of participating in global environmental initiatives. As an export-led economy that must find a niche in the world order, Taiwan took the development of the international environmental regulatory regime seriously. Because Taiwan's formal participation in international environmental treaty-making was practically cumbersome, if not completely impossible due to her adversarial relationship with the People's Republic of China (PRC), getting involved and staying informed were Taiwan's best options in international environmental politics.

In 1996, Taiwanese authorities were not invited to international meetings regarding international environmental cooperation and consultation. However, authorities in Taiwan supported the participation of observers in the meetings of major international environmental regulatory regimes, including the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Trade and Environment Committee of the World Trade Organization, and others. Despite technical problems and often strong protests from the PRC, delegations from Taiwan, composed of government officials, researchers in quasi-official institutions, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and scholars, participated in these meetings in order to stay informed regarding the development of international environmental issues.

____________________
*
Bryan Bachner would like to thank the City University of Hong Kong Strategic Grant Scheme for research support.

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