20 September 2019: Hung-Teh Tsai, Deputy Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), presented Taiwan’s latest achievements and plans in SDG implementation during a workshop held in New York. The workshop reviewed progress on and commitments to the SDGs and combating climate change.
Tsai recalled the Voluntary National Review on the SDGs that had been launched by former EPA Minister Ying-Yuan Lee in September 2017. During the launch, the Minister pledged to promote sustainable development, implement the SDGs in a timely manner, and share the results of partnership with the international community. In September 2018, Thomas Chan, then Deputy EPA Minister, launched a second progress report on SDG implementation.
During the workshop held on 20 September 2019, Tsai said:
- On SDG 1 (no poverty), the minimum wage increased by 25% since 2016 and measures are being taken to increase it by 30.6% by January 2020 (compared to 2016).
- On SDG 2 (zero hunger), an ‘Intelligent Agriculture 4.0’ program has been launched. This program applies sensing, smart devices, the internet of things (IoT), and big data to build smart production and marketing systems for a digitized agriculture that integrates scientific research, production, processing and sales while carrying out annual, all-weather production and integrating biotechnology, agricultural engineering, and new agricultural materials.
- On SDG 3 (good health and well-being), universal national health insurance is being promoted, with 99.7% of the population currently benefiting from health coverage.
- On SDG 4 (quality education), lifelong learning and preschool education are being promoted, including through subsidies that enable 96.2% of 5-year-old children from economically disadvantaged families to receive preschool education.
- On SDG 5 (gender equality), the gender inequality index is only 0.056, which is 8th globally and first in Asia.
- On SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), water from recycled municipal wastewater is provided for industrial use after treatment and the recycling rate for industrial wastewater is 70.7%.
- On SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), the current share of renewables in the energy mix is 4%, with plans to increase it to 20% by 2025.
- On SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), the focus has been on, inter alia, integrating people with disabilities in the labor market, with the employment rate for people with disabilities having reached 71% in 2018.
- On SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), circular industrialization is being pursued, with the industrial waste recycling rate having reached 80% in 2018.
- On SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), waste reduction has been identified as “the most significant project for environmental improvement”, with the average waste produced per day per person having been reduced by 36% compared to the 1998 baseline.
- On SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), green consumption is promoted, with gross green consumption having been over US$2.8 billion in 2018.
- On SDG 13 (climate action), the 2005 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions level has been identified as a baseline and plans are underway to reach a 20% reduction by 2030 and a 50% reduction by 2050.
- On SDG 14 (live below water), efforts to reduce plastic products harmful to marine life include restricting the use of plastic bags, micro beads and plastic straws, designating marine protected areas, and establishing a hierarchical protection system, with the double goal of protecting marine biodiversity and ensuring the livelihood of fishermen.
- On SDG 15 (life on land), efforts include the establishment of protected areas to conserve biodiversity supplemented by grassroots ecological conservation activities such as mountain cleanups and river patrols.
- On SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals), an initiative launched jointly by Taiwan EPA and the US EPA in 2014, aimed at developing regional collaboration networks for knowledge-sharing and capacity building on cross-border pollution and global environmental issues, has encompassed 87 programs to date.