Mon, Sep 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan should participate on the global stage, stop complaining, lawmaker says

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan can be a partner of the international community by promoting sustainable development and should stop complaining about being oppressed by other nations, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) said yesterday.

Lin made the remarks at a forum in Taipei organized by the Taiwan Strategy Evaluation Association to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At a 2015 summit, UN members laid out 17 SDGs for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including affordable and clean energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, partnerships for the goals and other agenda items.

“Even though Taiwan is not a UN member, it must take up its responsibility as a citizen of the Earth,” Environmental Protection Administration Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said.

“Would Taiwan be able to accommodate hundreds of thousands of ‘environmental refugees’ in an emergency?” he asked, referring to the millions of people in Florida who have been evacuated due to Hurricane Irma, adding that Taiwan should take steps to adapt to extreme climate changes.

Chan, who is also deputy executive director of the National Council for Sustainable Development, said the council’s key tasks are to achieve “a nuclear-free homeland” by 2025 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In pursuit of affordable and clean energy, financial, as well as ecological costs should be taken into account, he said.

If renewable energy developers were to engage in competitive bidding, instead of selling electricity to Taiwan Power Co at set prices, renewable sources of energy might become cheaper, he added.

Promoting sustainable development goals would be “a new turning point” in the nation’s campaign for UN membership, National Taiwan Normal University professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said.

Instead of emphasizing such grave issues as politics and sovereignty, Taiwan should assert human rights and environmental rights, Fan said, adding that “pathetic” appeals should give way to cheerful ones.

“Why do other countries have to know Taiwan’s problems joining the UN?” Lin said, sharing her observations of the nation’s appeal to participate in WHO’s World Health Assembly in Switzerland in May.

The key is whether Taiwan can communicate with other nations using a “common language,” she said, adding that it should stop adopting a stance of “you should be sorry for us.”

The UN agenda and goals could be a common language for Taiwan to show its partnership with other countries, she said, adding that government and non-governmental groups should share the responsibility.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday last week outlined seven policy goals to the newly appointed Premier William Lai (賴清德), without mentioning any ecological subjects.

Asked if the seven policy goals would encumber the promotion of sustainable development, Chan said the seven tasks are basic frameworks, rather than limits, adding that an air pollution prevention plan started in former premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) term is set to continue.

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