Jisha Village Sets First for Environmental Law in China

May 18, 2007

An influential new textbook on Chinese environmental law has for the first time used the work of a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) as a case study.

The book, titled “Environmental Law Casebook” and published by Higher Education Press of China, cites the work of the Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge (CBIK), which worked with the village of Jisha in Yunnan Province to successfully petition against unlawful tourism development.

Jisha village lies within China’s Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Site, which is located in the Mountains of Southwest China Hotspot, and is surrounded by alpine forest and wetland habitat that are rich in natural resources.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) supported CBIK’s work under its strategic direction of building the capacity of civil society to implement conservation efforts at a site and regional level across the hotspot.

“The book has great potential to be used in more than 40 of China’s law schools,” CBIK’s Li Bo said. “It’s particularly exciting as not only does it cite the case but it makes some constructive suggestions for governance on development inside national parks and World Heritage areas.”

The book was edited by leading environmental law authority Lu Zhongmei of the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Lu also holds the position of deputy chief of the Hubei Provincial High Court, and is a national representative of the People's Congress, making her a unique scholar bridging academic research, practice, and legislation, according to Li Bo.

“Unlike previous environmental legal case clinics, which are mostly concerned with brown pollution in urban areas, this book makes a great contribution to the understanding of biodiversity and natural resources management,” said Wang Xue of CEPF’s coordination team in China.

CBIK’s work in the Jisha area most recently included bringing together legal authorities, academics, and other NGOs to revise the system of public participation in official environmental impact assessments for development projects.

CEPF support also helped CBIK develop a network of approximately 100 legal specialists focusing on issues related to resource governance, community livelihood, and biodiversity conservation.

Concentrated originally in Yunnan and Beijing, the network now includes members from Guangzhou province and Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and an important center for the development of environmental law in China.

For more information, visit the CBIK Web site or contact .