Environmentalists demand input at development meet

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - Page 3

Members of several environmental protection non-governmental organizations gathered in front of the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday demanding that environmental protection groups be invited to attend the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ National Conference on Industrial Development next month, to ensure that the goal of sustainable development is included in the meeting.

The first National Conference on Industrial Development is scheduled to be held at the Taipei International Convention Center on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11, with the main discussion topic, “Industrial structure transition and re-creation of the economic development engine,” aimed at “driving industrial innovation and value” and “creating a good investment environment.”

The environmental groups said although the ministry had said its goal is to create a good investment environment that includes sustainable development and held discussions on the use of land and water, it did not invite representatives of labor groups, farmers or environmental protection groups to attend the meetings.

Wu Li-huei (吳麗慧), former chairperson of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union’s Changhua Office, said in order to ensure that corporations, trade associations and economic specialists pay attention to environmental sustainability issues, there should be at least 10 environmental protection representatives at the meetings.

In addition, the groups said most of the participants from the business sector that attended a preparatory meeting on how to create a better investment environment, held by the ministry last week, said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirement is hampering investment.

The groups said they would hold a debate on whether the EIA mechanism is an obstruction to economic development.

The debate is to be held on Dec. 6 and the groups are inviting the heads of related central government agencies, business leaders, legislators and academics to attend the meeting.