Swedish export of environmental Class Action legislation to China

The Chinese population suffers from environmental problems, but has no or little access to justice for negative environmental impact, and people are not aware of their environmental rights.

Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL  are going to try to change these. They has been appointed to head an Europe Aid program which aims to improve access to justice in environmental matters and protect humans’ environment rights in Guizhou province in China. The project aims to develop a public system for class action in cases on environmental issues and propose several changes to China’s environmental laws. Even draft legislation on liability and compensation for environmental damage must be submitted to China’s legislature.

“If we succeed in our determination to develop a system of collective redress in cases on environment, like the system we have in Sweden, and get this implemented in the Chinese legislation, it will significantly improve people’s access to justice in China,” says Mikael Olshammar, Project Manager at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

The project will undertake a review of and propose amendments to legislation concerning environmental protection, administrative procedures, environmental impact assessments and the prevention and reduction of air pollution.

A practice-oriented handbook with legal advice on environmental rights to the public and a training manual for lawyers will also be developed as well as a TV documentary and web portal with environmental legal information.

The two-year project has a budget of euro 1.2 million starts on 1 October and is part of the EU-China Environmental Governance Programme (EGP). The project is funded by EuropeAid. In addition to the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, who is leading the project, participates All-China Environment Federation (ACEF), Guizhou International Cooperation Center for Environmental Protection and Guiyang Public Environmental Education Centre in the project.

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