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China, EU collaborate on environmental governance

The EU is collaborating with the Chinese government on environmental governance through improving public participation and corporate environmental responsibility in a bid to reduce the harm to society and civilians caused by pollution and ineffective environmental management.

In November 2009, the EU signed a financial agreement with the Chinese government to budget 15 million euros (US$ 20.6 million) to improve environmental governance in China.

This EU-China Environmental Governance Programme (EGP) began in December 2010 and will be completed in December 2015. The program aims to assist the Chinese government and general public in improving environmental protection and promoting local sustainable development through public participation.

The program focuses on public access to environmental information; public participation in environmental planning and decision making; and public access to justice in environmental matters as well as corporate environmental responsibility.

So far, China and the EU have launched 15 pilot projects in Guizhou, Hubei, Shanxi, Tianjin, Zhejiang and other parts of China. "These projects are aimed at developing a new mechanism of public participation in environmental planning and decision making," a team leader for the Zhejiang project said during a conference held in Beijing on March 27.

Hazardous smog has shrouded many parts of China, especially the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, over the past week. In Beijing, the accumulation of PM2.5 -- particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrograms -- soared to 339 micrograms per cubic meter in downtown areas on the morning of March 27. Several days before World Water Day on March 22, at least 131 dead pigs were spotted and were pulled out from a section of the Ganjiang River, which provides drinking water to Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi Province.

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