National policies - China

Authors: Hong Hu Liu
Coordinating authors: Constantinos Kosmas, Ruta Landgrebe, Sandra Nauman
Editors: Alexandros Kandelapas, Jane Brandt

Editor's note 20Mar14: Source D142-7.

The selection of policies for in-depth analysis for the Zigui county study site mostly concerns the period since the 1980s.

Selection of policies for the Zigui county study site

Horizontal policies Development policies Environmental policies
Administrative policy Regional development policy Horizontal environmental policy Forest policy
Spatial planning policy Agricultural/Rural development policy Water policy Soil policy, National Plan to Combat Desertification and Drought
  Tourism policy Nature protection (biodiversity) policy Landscape policy

Source: authors

Overall, policy is a manifestation of the will of national development in various forms. Environmentally-focused policies (water, horizontal, nature protection) remain largely poorly- or unimplemented in the study site, while polices seeking to stimulate and increase economic growth (regional and rural development policy) have had more influence. Spatial planning policy impacts in the Zigui county study site demonstrate the trend toward industrial and urban development. Land use conversion toward more industry and less agricultural production is widespread and is often accompanied by land tenure issues and conflicts. Water policy assumes a subordinate position in the policy framework of the Zigui study site but has cross-policy linkages (e.g. agricultural/rural development and horizontal environmental policy). Water shortages are recognized as potentially impacting industrial development.

The main characteristics of policy implementation are:

  • economic factors take precedence over environmental policy implementation. Environmental protection investment is also very limited compared to economic investment.
  • Management links are missing.
  • A number of environmental non-governmental organizations are active.
  • Chaotic management with multiple policies that overlap within each region, where the local governments are not enthusiastic if the policies do not suit their own interests.

Environmental governance is difficult to prioritize within a growing economy as local governments tend to sacrifice consideration of the environment for economic and political achievements. Construction of roads and industrial plants is seen as the main driving force of economic growth.

For infrastructure improvement and supervision of farmers, the rural development policy has a significant impact, but the structural problems in agriculture and its products are worrisome.

The standard political institutions may provide opportunities for corruption.

Interaction between policies and their instruments

Policies Spatial Planning policy (SP) Regional development policy (RD) Agricultural/ Rural Development policy (A/RuD) Horizontal policy (H) Water policy (W)
Spatial Planning policy (SP)   Land-use change to industrial and increasingly urban contributes to regional development plans Agricultural land being converted to industrial and construction land for urban expansion. Less arable land and production leading to alternate food security policies (increasing foreign imports) EIA policies are theoretically peremptory in land use changes to construction (or other) projects, but economic interests are pursued over environmental issues so weak thresholds SP may cause water conflicts if upstream and downstream water resources are not properly accounted for as well as due to lack of rational control of water resources by different uses (industrial pollution and agriculture)
Regional development policy (RD) Land-use change to industrial and increasingly urban contributes to regional development plans   A/RuD funding targeted toward agricultural production subsidies, so theoretically allowing for farmer income; but RD targeted toward economic development through increasing industrialization, presenting a potential conflict within rural areas Financial incentives of RD for economic development hampers implementation of H RD lack of infrastructure development can have negative effects on water quality and W implementation due to ineffective waste and sewage management
Agricultural/ Rural Development policy (A/RuD) Agricultural land being converted to industrial and construction land for urban expansion. Less arable land and production leading to alternate food security policies (increasing foreign imports) A/RuD funding targeted toward agricultural production subsidies, so theoretically allowing for farmer income; but RD targeted toward economic development through increasing industrialization, presenting a potential conflict within rural areas   Financial incentives for increasing productivity of the agricultural industry through RuD hampers implementation of H; weak implementation of H can lead to poor environmental conditions for A/RuD RuD lack of implementation of environmental aspects can lead to agro-industry processing wastewater affecting water resource quality; W lack of prevention of shortages hamper agricultural productivity
Horizontal policy (H) EIA policies are theoretically peremptory in land use changes to construction (or other) projects, but economic interests are pursued over environmental issues so weak thresholds Financial incentives of RD for economic development hampers implementation of H Financial incentives for increasing productivity of the agricultural industry through A/RuD hampers implementation of H; weak implementation of H can lead to poor environmental conditions for A/RuD   H implementation is insufficient for supervision of discharge permits, leading to groundwater contamination; W supports H implementation, but W insufficiently implemented for quality management
Water policy (W) SP may cause water conflicts if upstream and downstream water resources are not properly accounted for as well as due to lack of rational control of water resources by different uses (industrial pollution and agriculture) RD lack of infrastructure development can have negative effects on water quality and W implementation due to ineffective waste and sewage management RuD lack of implementation of environmental aspects can lead to agro-industry processing wastewater affecting water resource quality; W lack of prevention of shortages hamper agricultural productivity H implementation is insufficient for supervision of discharge permits, leading to groundwater contamination; W supports H implementation, but W insufficiently implemented for quality management  

Source: authors

 

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2014-11-28 10:49:35