Green groups worldwide face growing pressure from hostile governments, as restrictive laws and policies, including on NGO registration, permitted activities, and freedom of speech, affect groups and activists in autocratic and democratic states alike, from China and Russia, to Cambodia and India.
In some repressive societies, the sphere of environmental protection has hitherto enjoyed a greater space and freedom of action than other sectors, allowing for a higher degree of advocacy and scrutiny of public policy; this offered civil society opportunities to advance public goods, such as rule of law, transparency and accountability.
For environmental activists, shrinking space for civil society brings an added concern: the global climate-change agreement, lacking an enforcement mechanism, effectively requires the public to evaluate and verify government implementation of commitments, to assess their adequacy, and to mobilise to raise national and global ambition. As civil society space closes, so does the ability to exercise that scrutiny, and the capacity to avoid dangerous climate change
This workshop will use a panel discussion among experts and activists focused on environmental politics in China and Southeast Asia to stimulate an interactive debate among participants about how to better defend crucial political opportunity spaces for green civil society.
Isabel Hilton, chinadialogue
Malin Oud, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI)
Sam Geall, chinadialogue
Huang Zhong; Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
Southeast Asian expert TBC
Panel discussion among invited speakers will be on the record (if speakers consent), but all subsequent conversations with participants to be held under Chatham House rule.
Key/search words for this session: environment, climate change, China, Asia