2018: Ecological Civilization Politics

Source:  The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus [info@japanfocus.ccsend.com]
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 17 | Number 1 | Aug 22, 2018
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Ecological civilization Politics and Governance in Hangzhou:
New pathways to green urban development?
Jorgen Delman

Abstract
This study applies a governance perspective to examine how China’s national ecological civilization framework is implemented at the city level. With Hangzhou, one of China’s leading green cities, as a case, the study focuses on how the city’s party-state authorities respond to various pressures from the central leadership and from society to improve environmental governance. Hangzhou’s government applies a new public management approach with public sector performance contracts, performance reviews, and associated results management procedures that are integrated with a battery of social participation instruments. The city government aims to mitigate contradictory goals relating to the need for continued economic growth and for simultaneous environmental improvements based on plans for ecological civilization development and protection of ‘red’ ecological bottom lines. It is argued that Hangzhou’s authorities are testing a novel approach that could contribute to narrowing the ‘implementation gap’ in China’s local green politics by enhancing the local party-state’s ability to handle new instruments of governance in environmental politics. Available, but rather fragmented data suggest that environmental improvements are occurring, but the link between the new governance framework and these improvements is difficult to establish.

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