SENGO and IMPACT Projects

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Strengthening Environmental NGOs in China, January 2002-January 2004 (funded by Senter International) and Improved Participation of Civilians in Transitional China (funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Beijing)

Problem definition

The booming economy and the resource-intensive development strategy that China has pursued over the past decades have led to serious environmental problems. However, many problems remain, one of which is the gap between policy intention and implementation. An effective check and balance system is lacking in society, while policy is frequently implemented in a topdown manner with scant regard for regional variation. To effect good governance in the environmental field, the strengthening of civil society by allowing more space to green non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is inevitable.


Modern industrial society cannot do without NGOs as mid-level players between the government and the citizenry. Although this point is realized by the Chinese government, the current political climate is not conducive for environmental NGOs. In spite of this, the past five years have witnessed a boom in NGOs ?in particular in the environmental field. Most NGOs are institutionally weak. They lack human and financial resources, while there is a great need for increased international contacts.

The SENGO and IMPACT projects spring from the requests of environmental NGOs in China. Three NGOs have been selected on the basis of their internal organisation, independency from the government, and field of activity. They are: 1) Friends of Nature (FON); 2) the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV); and 3) the Institute of the Environment and Development (IED). In addition, the NGO Research Center at Tsinghua University (NGORC) has been selected as the main coordinating counterpart at the Chinese side.

Long and shortterm objectives

The longterm objective of the projects is to enhance good environmental governance by integrating green NGOs in policy-making. The shortterm objectives include: 1) the institutional strengthening of four NGOs; 2) the support of environmental sub-projects proposed by the Chinese NGOs; 3) the provision of policy advice through research.

Project output

  1. improved human, material resources and management skills of the NGOs;
  2. internationalization of the NGOs and dissemination of project results;
  3. positive involvement of NGOs in certain areas of environmental policy-making (specified below);
  4. improved communication between NGOs and government;
  5. achievement of sub-projects?aims.

Effects of cooperation

The project focuses on one of the most vibrant sectors of China's emerging civil society: environmental NGOs. Through human resource development and capacity-building of environmental NGOs, the project seeks to improve their leverage towards the government and within society.

Project organization

The main co-ordinator of the project is Wageningen University (Environmental Policy Group) together with Tsinghua University (NGO Research Center) as the principal local co-ordinator. On the Chinese side three other Beijing institutions participate: i) Friends of Nature (FON); ii) the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims; and iii) the Institute for Environment and Development.

In the Netherlands, Both Ends and the Dutch Ministry VROM are partners. In addition, international experts have been invited to cooperate, including Prof. Anthony Saich of Harvard University and Prof. Richard Edmonds of London University.


Prof. Arthur Mol (Project Director); Dr. Peter Ho (Senior Program Officer); Ms. Susan Martens (Junior Program Officer) Wageningen University Department of Social Sciences, Environmental Policy Group Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN, The Netherlands tel. 00-31-317-483310 fax. 00-31-317-483990

Huub Scheele and Wiert Wiertsema, Both Ends, Damrak 28-30, Amsterdam 1012 LJ, The Netherlands tel. 020-6230823

Dr. Wang Ming NGO Research Center of Tsinghua University No.516 Mingli Building, Tsinghua University,100084 Beijing, China TEL 86-10-62773359,62773929 FAX 86-10-62773929 E-Mail [email protected]

Prof. Liang Congjie, Chairman of Friends of Nature P. O. Box 621, Beijing 100010, P. R. CHINA 010 - 65252560 Friends of Nature [email protected]

Prof. Dr. Wang Canfa China University of Politics and Law Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims Haidianqu xituchenglu 25 Pager: 95800x75223, tel/fax 6221.0149,Beijing 100088, China [email protected]

Dr. Lailai Li Institute of Environment & Development 34 Fu-wai-da-jie Street, Cai-yin Building, Rm 441 Beijing 100832, China Tel: 86-10-6857-7249 Fax: 86-10-6851-9950 email: [email protected]

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