For resolving the increasing stress on the environment and resources, and also responding to the ever-increasing demands of the citizens for environmental quality protection and improvement in ecological environment, the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) conducted the environmental master planning of Macao SAR, in order to realize the vision of "Building a Low Carbon Macao, Creating Green Living Together".
On the basis of coordinating with other related planning and analyzing the current challenges in the environment, the present Environmental Planning has proposed the planning vision and objectives, together with a preliminary scheme for environmental functional districts and environmental functional district management. Under the three principal themes of "Optimizing the Environment Suitable for Living and Tourism", "Promoting a Conservation and Recycling-oriented Society" and "Integrating into the Green and Quality Region", this planning has also established 11 green indicators for the Environmental Planning, proposed 15 areas of concern and their strategic direction, formulated various major actions, and established the implementation and supervision mechanisms, in order to enhace the environmental management capability of the Macao SAR Government and guarantee the execution of the planning. In the meantime, this planning, based on the requirements in the vision of "Building a Low Carbon Macao, Creating Green Living Together" has also proposed a demand for coordinating the regional environment, taking into consideration of the integrated development in the environment, building jointly a quality-living area.
The "Environmental Protection Planning of Macao (2010-2020)", as the first environmental planning of Macao, has systematically depicted the roadmap of future environmental management works in Macao. The Environmental Planning, on the one hand, has proposed objectives in improving environmental quality and guidance in actions to be taken for Macao up to year 2020.On the other hand, it has also acted as the foundation of the environmental management works in Macao, in the view of harmonizing the environment, society and economy, leading for the sustainable social and economic development.
This planning aims to establish the planning objectives and indicators in a forward-looking way, and execute and implement the actions for improving the environment according to their priority. We have to point out that formulation and implementation of this planning is a dynamic process, which relies on the participation of general public, and should be reviewed, amended and improved in accordance with the actual status of the social and economic development, supported by the input of corresponding resources, in order to facilitate and ensure the implementation of this planning.
In fact, the Environmental Planning is a starting point for the environmental protection works. It is hoped that in the coming decade, by formulating the implementation mechanism for the execution of the present planning document in view of different environmental elements and by the coordination of different government agencies and sectors of the society, action plans in the atmospheric, acoustic, ecological and aquatic environments would be carried out. By implementing effective control measures for pollution, we hope to reduce the pollutants produced at source and maintain achievements in nature conservation and greening in the city. More importantly, by educating the citizens for good awareness in environmental protection, consumption motives and commuting habit, it is hoped that while the Macao citizens are enjoying the abundant material lives, they can also have breaths of fresh air, tastes of clean drinking water and experiences of a comfortable natural environment.
However, since the environment is a complex, variable and extensive system, protecting the environment is a hard and enduring task. It is impossible that all the existing pollution problems in the environmental can completely be resolved in the next decade. A wonderful and quality environment must be achieved by continuous planning, governmental policies, efforts of the enterprises and public participation.
It is the responsibility of everyone to protect our environment. Let us fulfill our responsibilities in environmental protection , creating a quality ecological environment and sharing wonderful green living together.
Bhutan at a crossroads
But Bhutan’s natural resources are on the brink of being more threatened now than ever before, despite the government’s political will and conservation milestones. Why? The country has changed more in the last 50 years than the past 500 years combined.
Rapid modernization, the adoption of democracy, and a dramatic shift in demographics have all contributed to a country in transition. Today, 60 percent of the country’s population is below the age of 34.
With change comes new challenges, particularly for the environment. Natural resources are exploited as new industries are created and existing ones grow to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population. There are fewer “stewards of the land” in rural areas, as people move to cities and larger towns in search of the perceived and real comforts of modernity. And, as in many Asian countries, the impact of climate change and the poaching of wildlife are on the rise.
If the country does not address the challenges now, it risks losing everything it has worked so hard to protect.
Balance is the solution
“We need to balance the need for economic development – like hydropower and tourism – with the need to protect natural resources,” said WWF Bhutan Country Representative Dechen Dorji. “We need to balance jobs in the cities with jobs in rural villages. And we need to balance tradition and age-old religious beliefs with the desires for modern amenities.”
Since the 1970s, WWF has worked with the Government of Bhutan, Bhutan-based nonprofit organizations and local communities to achieve this balance. For example, we help conduct extensive wildlife surveys, create conservation management plans for national parks, and educate rural communities in how to minimize human wildlife conflicts.
But more is needed to keep pace with the speed and scale of change now impacting Bhutan.
Bhutan for Life
To ensure that Bhutan remains economically and environmentally sustainable during these changing times, WWF and the Government of Bhutan committed in July to create an innovative funding approach called “Bhutan for Life.” Funding generated through this initiative will be used to maintain and manage the country’s parks and wildlife corridors in perpetuity. Sustainable economic development, such as eco-tourism and organic farming, will be allowed in the protected areas, making this initiative a true example of how the Bhutanese seek balance.
This approach is modeled after a fund closed by WWF and other partners in May 2014 to ensure the long-term protection of the world’s largest tropical rain forest, located in the Brazilian Amazon.
“I am hopeful that, if this funding mechanism is created, then what has been bestowed upon us by our visionary monarchs—this sacred environment—can be maintained for generations to come,” Dorji said. “And Bhutan can serve as a model for our neighbors in Asia and the rest of the world.”
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