All 25 cities and counties around the nation have begun planning for their future sustainable development, with the vision of a future that brings prosperity to their environment, economy and culture, an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) official said yesterday.
Department of Comprehensive Planning Director-General Edward Huang (黃光輝) yesterday told a press conference that to adhere to the Vision and Strategies for National Sustainable Development published by the Council for Economic Planning and Development in 2004, the administration aims to assist all cities and counties in drafting sustainable development plans "according to local needs and circumstances."
"The central government realizes that sustainable city planning needs to originate from local communities," Huang said. "Instead of giving out one-size-fits-all blueprints, we encourage local governments to formulate individual plans."
So far 13 counties and cities have submitted their plans, Huang said, adding that although the plans differ from city to city, they are all formulated to balance environmental sustainability against local economic needs and cultural development.
Some cities have proposed outstanding plans, Huang said, listing Tainan City as an example.
"Tainan's plan was an interdisciplinary collaboration that involved the government, academic institutions and the local community. It projected sustainable development in environmental conservation, culture and the economy," Huang said.
In particular, the eco-conservation sector pushes for green energies, natural resource preservation and pollution reduction projects, Huang said.
Huang added that though Taiwan ranked 24th out of 133 countries in the World Economic Forum's Environmental Performance Index (EPI) for last year, making the benchmark in 5 out of 16 areas they evaluated, "We are still lagging in areas including [over]fishing, reusable energy and agricultural subsidies."
The EPA has budgeted funds to help the eight cities and counties that have yet to submit their sustainable city plans: Hsinchu City and County, Miaoli County, Nantou County, Keelung City, Taitung County, Penghu County and Lienchiang County, Huang said, adding that after their submission all cities and counties would officially enter sustainable city planning mode.
"Tainan's plan is a model other cities can follow because it is themed on environmental conservation but branches out to social and economic sectors," Huang said.
"After all, the purpose of sustainable plans is to hand down to the next generation a well-rounded environment that is not only healthy, but also rich in culture and economically," he said.