Feb. 21, 2024

Chinese Environmental NGOs in Paris (V)

Putting pressure on the finance department,
supporting international water delivery programs

Source: Green Earth Volunteers
Author: Wang Yongchen

On November 28, 2011, the Chinese environmental protection organizations met with the president of an organization [called in Chinese] the ‘Living Water Association (活水 协会) at the French Ministry of Environmental Protection. He told us the International Water Forum would be held in March 2012, in Marseille, France. When the time comes, their organization will invite 250 environmentalists concerned about the water from different countries in the world.

The French love for rivers or the Parisians' love for the Seine can be seen everywhere in their customs and art. Furthermore, French civil environment protection organizations strive to expand the public's knowledge and understanding about rivers, especially in regard to the recent global climate change. They also put pressure on the French financial sector to support international water projects.

Currently, the French Running Water Association is focused on three major issues:
Water, society and the economy
Relations between water and the environment
Implementing this knowledge on the ground in Africa through the following methods:
    1  Providing funds to help build sewage treatment facilities and the construction of toilets. A main point is the promotion of community development. Technical assistance to the locals, including systematization, government cooperation, legal cooperation.
    2  Assisting policy makers and actual users to establish a dialogue mechanism, including communication between government ministers, administrators, people at all levels and local residents in order to develop a standard work method. The public perception of local projects needs to be considered in the process of project implementation.
    3  Lobbying, influencing other governments, advocating and assisting the initiation of the local water projects and sharing France's water management experience with African countries and environmental organizations.

The French Running Water Association is currently cooperating with more that 30 NGOs in this field, including the WWF, Friends of the Earth, the International Butterfly Effect Water Commission and the Anti-Hunger Committee.

In Asia, the French Running Water Association has established a relationship with a women association in Sri Lanka which is focused on water.

Currently, the International Butterfly Effect Water Commission has already started its work in South Asia. China does not have a local affiliated organization. This organization, only established eight months ago, is now preparing for the International Water Forum (www.coalition-eau.org) held in Marseille in March next year. The hope is that every organization will bring their own perspective and after the forum establish partnerships to work together so all people can enjoy water on this planet.

The Chinese environmental NGOs' visit to Paris finished after a discussion with the French Running Water Association on how to participate in next year's international water forum. Yang Dongping , the Chair of the Board of Directors of China’s Friends of Nature, said that during this visit we have seen how France's Environmental Protection Ministry involves five different groups in society, and establishes a mechanism for public participation. Using such a mechanism to solve the serious environmental problems we face, in our eyes, is not only inspiring but I also hope that we can let more Chinese people know by writing about this.

Talking with the Living Water Association

The expert answering questions

I then mentioned again that we live in the same global village, and now given global climate change, developed countries may not shirk their responsibilities. Now the French have so many projects in China; they hope in the future to establish an NGO platform with Chinese environmental organizations as well as promote institutionalization and democratization.

Throw it or catch it?

While walking along the Seine river, I came back to reality, and returned to the problems of climate change and rivers that are polluted and obstructed, which we have to face. I tell myself, to face those challenges having this infectious inspiration, there will be a new start, there will be a new strength. Writing this, I thought, I hope these five essays about Chinese environmental NGOs in Paris will resonate amongst readers.

Translation group: Laurens Bistervels, May Yunna, Susan Li, and Yang Xiaoyuan

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