An agreement on environmental protection technical cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. was renewed Sept. 19 in Washington, underscoring the commitment of the two sides to advancing joint efforts in tackling key issues threatening human health and the environment.
Under the pact, which runs until June 2023, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will share experiences and knowledge across a broad spectrum of areas. This extends to designing and implementing major projects aimed at making communities and ecosystems diverse, economically productive and sustainable.
The agreement was signed by James Kuang-jang Lee, deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., and John Norris, managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan. Also on hand were EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan and Jane Nishida, acting assistant administrator for International and Tribal Affairs with the U.S. EPA.
Lee is the first Cabinet member to visit the U.S. since President Donald J. Trump took office in January. The day before, he delivered a keynote address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Taiwan’s environmental leadership and three days earlier in New York, released Taiwan’s Voluntary National Review on implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
Following the ceremony, officials from the two sides met to review progress of projects implemented under the pact and discuss plans for future collaboration.
According to the EPA, since the agreement was first concluded in 1993, Taiwan and U.S. have pursued a number of globally significant initiatives. These include 2014’s International Environmental Partnership—a network of international experts working together to strengthen capacity for addressing environmental challenges.
Going forward, the EPA said it will also focus on expanding exchanges between Taiwan and the countries targeted under the government’s New Southbound Policy in areas like air pollution, circular economy, contaminated soil and groundwater, environmental education, electronic waste management, mercury monitoring and law enforcement.
A central plank in the government’s national development strategy, the policy seeks to deepen Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, trade and tourism links with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
It is hoped that such endeavors will contribute to the attainment of the 17th SDG by 2030, the EPA said, adding that this goal involves strengthening the means of implementing SDGs and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.
Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, the SDGs are intended to end poverty, protect the environment, and secure peace and prosperity around the world. The 17 goals comprise 169 targets across fields ranging from affordable and clean energy, climate action and gender equality to health and sustainable cities.