The Voice of CBCGDF: Analysis of China’s Environmental Public Interest Litigation and Green Overseas Investment | From the 6th General Assembly of ACCA in Cote d’Ivoire
2019/11/11 15:22:00 本站

On November 7, 2019, local time, the representative Mr. Ma Yong, the Deputy Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) attended the second day meeting of the 6th General Assembly of African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.


The morning’s first session was themed on “Using China’s Laws, Policies and Guidelines in Advocacy”. Ma Yong delivered a keynote speech entitled “Analysis of China’s Environmental Public Interest Litigation and Green Overseas Investment” and did on-site Q & A and interactions with the audience.


In his keynote report, Ma Yong introduced the development process and main work of CBCGDF, and focused on the CBCGDF's work on biodiversity conservation, legal action, international exchange and cooperation. In interpreting the progress of China's environmental public interest litigation (EPIL), he first systematically sorted out the evolution of China's environmental management system, especially the post-2007 environmental management concept from the main relying on administrative law enforcement to the strengthening of environmental justice. Some provinces began to explore the specialization of environmental justice, and tried to establish environmental courts, allowing non-direct stakeholders, including environmental social organizations, to file environmental public interest litigation as plaintiffs, and achieved good legal and social effects. And this prompted the revised Civil Procedure Law in 2012 to officially write the legal provisions of environmental public interest litigation and achieved an important breakthrough in the establishment of environmental public interest litigation, which is a milestone in the environmental rule of law. The Environmental Protection Law, revised and implemented in 2015, has refined the social organization's environmental public interest litigation and officially opened the rule of law for public interest litigation in China.


The rapid development of environmental public interest litigation stems from the increasingly perfect legal provisions, and benefits from the establishment of an environmental resources trial court by the Supreme People's Court to guide and standardize environmental public interest litigation. In recent years, a series of typical public interest litigation cases have been produced, which have provided a good legal guarantee for promoting China's environmental protection, and at the same time demonstrated China's firm determination to promote ecological civilization.


While advancing the specialization of environmental justice in China and carrying out judicial practice of environmental public interest litigation, China has accelerated the promotion of environmental legislation. So far, 13 laws, 30 administrative regulations and 92 departmental regulations concerning environmental protection have been adopted and implemented. Environmental justice and administrative law enforcement provide relatively solid legal support.


From January 2015 to June 2019, China's courts at all levels accepted nearly 300 environmental public interest litigations initiated by social organizations. Nearly 4,000 environmental public interest litigations filed by the procuratorate were accepted. Beginning in 2018, China began to implement the ecological environmental damage compensation lawsuit with the provincial and municipal people's governments as the main body of the plaintiff. Although there are different views on whether such lawsuits are public interest litigation, 30 courts have accepted such lawsuits.


After nearly five years of judicial practice, China's environmental public interest litigation has presented many characteristics, including:


1. The scope of environmental public interest litigation continues to expand, including the expansion of litigation subjects. At present, social organizations, procurator organs, marine environmental supervision and management departments, and even provincial and municipal people's governments can act as plaintiffs in litigation, forming a situation of parallel development of litigation and compensation for ecological environmental damages of environmental civil public interest litigation and environmental administrative public interest litigation. A series of typical public interest litigations led by the Tengger Desert Pollution Public Interest Litigation were successively brought up and concluded and achieved good results.


2. The cases show diversity. Include:


(1) The environmental protection elements involved in public interest litigation are further expanded. In addition to the traditional environmental pollution cases, CBCGDF filed a case against German Volkswagen exhaust emissions, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region pangolin public interest litigation, and the protection of immovable cultural relics (cultural relics, ancient trees, famous wood, etc.) cases, etc. In particular, the public interest litigation on tobacco control in indoor public places accepted by the court in 2019 has further expanded the basic elements of environmental protection.


(2) The illegal acts involved in the case are more complicated. For example, the case of illegally selling “Annual Inspection Artifact” on Taobao filed by CBCGDF, the Beijing “Toxic Synthetic Running Tracks” Case and so on.


(3) The difficulty of litigation continues to increase. In particular, the differences and links between environmental civil public interest litigation and ecological environmental damage compensation litigation need to be further clarified.


Judging from the current situation, the procuratorial organs have become the absolute main force of environmental public interest litigation, followed by environmental protection social organizations. Although China's environmental public interest litigation has made tremendous progress and development, as a new type of litigation, it will certainly face many problems and challenges in the process of development. We expect the environmental public interest litigation system to continue to develop healthily, to regulate the environmental behavior of enterprises, to promote government departments to legally manage, prevent and repair environmental damage, improve the quality of the environment, and also make a good contribution to global environmental governance.


When talking about the progress of China's overseas green investment, Ma Yong systematically introduced a series of guidance documents and regulatory systems for overseas investment since 2013, especially the institutional arrangements for the “One Belt, One Road” green development. In the construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative, as an important force of non-governmental exchanges, social organizations have indispensable policy recommendations and civil bridges to help coordinate the problems faced by governments and enterprises in the investment process.


As a Chinese social organization/NGO, CBCGDF is committed to promoting the exchange and cooperation of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. We look forward to discussing relevant issues of China's overseas investment with relevant organizations and government departments in Africa and deepen mutual understanding and cooperation. We will work together to promote cooperation, exchanges and development between the Chinese and African people.









Ma Yong presented CBCGDF promo materials to Guillain Koko, the Projects Coordinator of ACCA.


Ma Yong awarded the CBCGDF volunteer certificate to Delphine Djiraibe (PILC, Chad).

(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese article:

By / Maggie