Assessing Access in Yunnan, China

Posted by Monika Kerdeman

The Yunnan coalition started their TAI assessment process during a training workshop from Jan 13-15, 2008, led byTAI core team partner Thailand Environment Institute. The coalition of civil society groups includes Eco-WatchYunnan Academy of Social Science (YASS)Yunnan Institute of Environmental Science (YIES)Yunnan Environmental Science Society (YESS) and Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies ICRAF-China, the coalition’s lead organization.

At the workshop, coalition members were trained on the TAI Assessment Toolkit. Since the training, the Yunnan TAI coalition translated the indicators in the TAI Assessment toolkit into Chinese, and gathered information and relevant documentation, laws, regulations and guidelines for review.

As part of their research, Yunnan coalition members met with the Provincial Water Bureau, Yunnan Provincial Environment Protection Bureau, Agricultural Bureau, Yunnan Provincial Forestry Department, Vegetative Protection Station, Air Quality Monitoring Station, local agricultural stations, environmental protection stations and other related sectors to acquire more information. Interviewees included experts, villagers, and consumers as well as local authority staff.

The Assessment in Yunnan examines eight case studies on access to information. These studies are on various environmental issues including; the state of environment report of Yunnan Province, air quality monitoring in Kunming city, accidental explosion at a sulfur depot and vitriol factory of the Sanhuan chemical company, noise quality monitoring in Kunming city, environmental information of Yuntianhua International Chemical Company in Yunnan, monitoring of drinking water quality in Songhuaba reservoir in Kunming, GMO information monitoring in Yunnan, and paraquat herbicide accidents in Yunnan.

Five case studies on public participation are: public participation in environment protection decisions in eco-tourism policy in Diqing prefecture, public participation in the urban agglomeration development plan in south of Yunnan, public participation in the extension project of the 2nd hospital of Kunming, public participation in the water saving regulatory of Kunming city, public participation in decision-making of Provincial Forestry Development Strategy and public participation in the environmental impact assessment of the construction of Honghe Steel Factory..

The research also looks at access to justice. The access to justice case studies are on pesticide residue information in food - claimed by people to the people’s congress, public’s claim on the dam building on Salween River, local residents’ collective claim on old trees felled by a company in Baiyu Village, Xishan District of Kunming, and the claim on the pollution accident of Longma Phosphorous Chemical Company in Xundian, Yunnan.