Taiwan’s Voluntary National Review Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Article by Rubianny Alvarado

A superfluous of natural disasters have grasped the attention of countries all around the world. While natural disasters are a cause of uproar in America, Taiwan is no stranger to the aftermath caused by these cataclysmic events, states Ambassador Lily L.W. Hsu as an opening remark in Taiwan’s Sustainable Development Goals Seminar.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit was held in September 2015 in which heads of state from all around the world unanimously adopted the report; Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It consists of five sections one of which is 17 sustainable development goals. These goals were set forth with the notion that they would help prevent natural disasters, famine, poverty and inequality as a whole.

The island of Taiwan has been especially invested in carrying out these goals due to their increasing amount of pollution caused by their colossal economic growth over the past several decades. Not only is Taiwan working to create a more environmentally friendly way of life, but also to demolish inequality and poverty across the island.

A pamphlet handed out during the beginning of the seminar; “Taiwan’s Voluntary National Review Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals” followed by PowerPoint slides and Dr. Ying-Yaun Lee’s keynote speech allowed the audience to become aware of the actions taken place by Taiwan officials and citizens. Dr. Ying-Yaun Lee has been a member of the Environmental Protection Administration since 2016. Although he has been part of the administration for a short period of time he has dedicated most of his life to sustainable living and has become an instrumental piece of carrying out laws which continue to demonstrate imperative in Taiwan’s mission to sustainable living.

The Wetland Conservation Act was implemented February 2015 “aims to protect wetlands natural flood detention function, maintain biodiversity, preserve ecosystems, and ensure that such wetlands are wisely used” (12). A significant change can be witnessed as polluted rivers went from 15.8% in 2003 to 2.5% in 2016.

Taiwan has also dedicated itself to improving the living conditions of the citizens of Taiwan. Domestic policy 1.4 works to reform the pension system, 1.5 increases minimum wage, and 1.7 implements a five-day workweek. Policy 1.10 works on gender equality. Executive Yuan recently approved the gender equality guidelines in January 2017. According to the pamphlet; “The guidelines uphold three basic principles: gender equality is a core value in protecting social fairness and justice; improvement of women’s rights is the primary task in promoting gender equality; and gender mainstreaming is an affective route to achieve people-oriented policies” (17). Equality of women in Taiwan is just 38% while that may seem low it is predicted to improve tremendously with the implementation of policy 1.10.

The efforts made by the members of the Environmental Protection Administration and leaders to improve the quality of life in Taiwan have been remarkable. While many speak on what needs to be changed or implemented Taiwan has made a commendable effort to actually carry out the goals they have set forth for themselves.

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