Editor’s note: The Paper recently published an NPC and CPPCC report entitled, Shen Guojun: Accelerate nature reserve legislation and encourage public participation in nature reserve governance. The following is the full text of the report.
During this year’s NPC and CPPCC, Shen Guojun, CPPCC National Committee member, Founder and Chairman of Yintai Group, and Executive Chairman of The Paradise International Foundation submitted a Proposal for Accelerating Nature Reserve Legislation and Encouraging Public Participation in Nature Reserve Governance.
Shen said that at this time, issues such as the inability to register and file on record, as well as the lack of legal mechanisms related to land ownership to ensure community participation impeded participation in nature reserve governance by the public and social organizations.
Hence, Shen suggested that the legislation of Nature Reserve be accelerated. First, the record filing and registration system for nature reserves should be defined. Second, legal easement should be crystallized in the nature reserve legislation and public easement, specified. Third, an administrative contract should be adopted to encourage to grant nature reserve management mandates to social organizations or communities. Fourth, the franchise system should be defined, and preferential support should be given to local communities and enterprises as franchise principals. Fifth, the public should be encouraged to take part in nature reserve management as volunteers, and a nature reserve volunteer service system should be set up.
In the proposal, Shen said that “verdant hills and clear waters are treasure troves.” Protecting verdant hills and clear waters, and taking the green development route have been the key development strategy since 18th National Congress of the CPC. 2020 is the final year of the “13th Five-Year Plan” period and for building a moderately prosperous society for all. It is also the first year China will officially set up national parks. Hence, properly managing the relationship between establishing a conservation culture and socio-economic growth is particularly important.
In 2019, the central government issued the Guiding Opinion on Building a Nature Reserve System based on National Parks, calling for the creation of an innovative nature reserve management policy and system based on the philosophy that mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands are a biosphere, and encouraging the exploration of conservation methods such as public interest governance, community governance and joint governance in the nature reserve system.
Although the general principle of the aforesaid policy would be government-driven with multi-party participation, issues such as the inability to register and file on record, as well as the lack of legal mechanisms related to land ownership to ensure community participation have impeded participation in nature reserve governance by the public and social organizations at this time.
It is in this regard that Shen made the aforesaid recommendation, and believed that social participation lay at the heart of nature reserve legislation.
In fact, this is the third consecutive year Shen has submitted a proposal related to nature reserves. During the 2019 NPC and CPPCC session, he made a proposal for conservation easement. In its reply to the proposal, the Ministry of Natural Resources said that “Committee Memer Shen Guojun’s proposal was very constructive and had practical significance. The Ministry of Natural Resources shall actively study the legal system and relevant policies related to conservation easement.”
“We shall continue to monitor and commit to the development of ecological conservation, and explore and introduce new methods and approaches that would allow public interest organizations and social capital to take part in the conservation of natural resources so as to promote the development of public-interest environmental undertakings based on the concept of shared value and platform.” As a CPPCC member and entrepreneur, Shen said that he had a mission to continue to promote ecological conservation, and actively carry out the green development strategy of the Party and the country.