Fri, Apr 11, 2014 - Page 4 News List

NGOs to promote ‘environmental right’

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The annual National Environmental Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) Forum is to be held at Tunghai University in Greater Taichung on April 19 and 20, with the theme promoting the public’s “environmental right” to be protected by the Constitution.

Taiwan Academy of Ecology secretary-general Tsai Chih-hai (蔡智豪) said this year marks the 11th consecutive year that the nation’s major environmental NGOs will be holding a national forum to discuss environmental issues.

The NGOs believe that the government still has not drawn up an ideal blueprint for the nation’s sustainable development and therefore the environment is worsening as many development projects and pollutants are still considered legal.

Tsai said the NGOs are striving to add the concept of environmental sustainability to the Constitution, so that no matter which political party gains power the government would have to protect the public’s right to live in a sustainable environment.

“Only when the environment is functioning naturally can human beings live well, so in a way protecting environmental rights is protecting the public’s right of survival,” Society Of Wilderness secretary-general Michael Lee (李建安) said. “Just like the right to receive an education or national security needs to be protected, the environment also needs to be protected by the Constitution.”

Tsai said as the seven-in-one elections are being held later this year, the NGOs have invited the nation’s five major political parties to send representatives to attend the forum and share their views on environmental issues. So far all the parties have agreed to send representatives, but have not decided who will attend the forum.

Homemakers United Foundation president Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) said the NGOs have been inspired by the activities of young activists in recent years and the forum this year is to include a session on “the environment and justice between the generations,” for young activists to speak out about what kind of environment they want to live in.

Chen added that the forum this year would be broadcast live on the Internet so that anyone can listen to the discussions or even call in and express their opinion.

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