Home>News Center>China

Fledgling NGOs told to raise the bar
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-30 00:25

Non-government organizations (NGO) have been praised for their environmental projects in China.

The 10 best cases for implementing sustainable development projects won awards at a recent nationwide contest.

The contest, launched last September by Beijing-based newspaper Economic Observer and Shell China, was open to government bodies, research organizations, companies, NGOs and individuals.

Of the six winning NGOs, most were overseas funded. The judging panel of experts reviewed 118 projects involving economics, development research, sociology and other related fields.

"The event highlighted the role now played by NGOs in pursuing sustainable development," said judging panel member Sun Liping, a professor in sociology with the Beijing-based Tsinghua University.

NGOs in China have been growing and are becoming ever more vocal as the nation seeks to address its multiple pollutants. In the 1990s there were a handful of organizations -- today there are some 2000 registered NGOs, said Deng Guosheng, deputy director of the NGO research centre of Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management.

They employ nearly 100,000 staffs. The range of work carried out by NGOs varies from wildlife protection and academic studies, while the environmentalists have various backgrounds, from scholars to journalists.

NGOs mainly focus on is promoting of environmental protection awareness among the general public. They help push forward the implementation of environmental policies, and act as supervising bodies to environmental problems.

In recent years, they are becoming more united and have closer contact with the media.

A giant hydropower project along the Nujiang River in Southwest China's Yunnan Province was put on hold early in the year due to environment concerns, raised by an NGO.

The development was hailed by green groups such as Beijing-based Green Earth Volunteers and Yunnan Participatory Watershed Management Research and Promotion Centre, which had criticized the project fiercely and ignited a nationwide debate.

Some say it was a milestone for environment NGOs in China because for the first time they achieved in changing a government-made decision.

But Deng said domestic green groups are still in their embryonic stage.

He added of the 2,000 environment NGOs in China, only 100 to 300 have serious influence.

And Sun many domestic NGOs are largely dependent on funds from overseas, which shows that domestic organizations have yet to secure reliable fund sources.

Liao Xiaoyi, president of the Global Village of Beijing, said Chinese NGOs need to find their own way while adopting international experiences.

Liao founded the organization in 1996 and it is now one of the leading green groups in China.

"In addition to a committed leader and a concerted team, NGOs need perfect managing systems and devoted targets," she said.

And absorbing professionals is important, said Liao, adding: "Having only enthusiasm is far from enough...We need real know-how. And through that, we could become specialized partners of the government."

Greenpeace staff Liao Hongtao said it is now a crucial time for domestic environment NGOs to raise the bar.

In addition to strengthening team work and employing professional staff, he said the geographic distribution of China's environment NGOs should be more widespread.

Existing green NGOs -- especially influential ones -- are mainly based in big large cities like Beijing.

Wang Jianghong, of Beijing-based Friends of Nature, said NGOs should expand their membership across society.

Officials from the State Environmental Protection Administration have emphasized at various occasions the importance of public participation in environmental protection and said they support the development of environment NGOs.

"We believe the administration and NGOs should be co-operating and supplementary to each other," said Liu Youbin from the information office of the administration.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

Millions click "no" to Japan's UNSC bid



KMT leader: Taiwan people seek peace



Work on new Olympic stadium begins



Yuanmingyuan lake bed project questioned



Chinese warned against Kyrgyzstan travel



Indonesia quake toll stands at 330, may rise


  Work on new Olympic stadium begins
  KMT leader: Taiwan people seek peace
  Billions needed for environment protection
  Millions click "no" to Japan's UNSC bid
  Chinese warned against Kyrgyzstan travel
  Students, workers urged to become boss
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008