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Does the Central Environmental Inspection actually work?

Li, Ruoqi, Zhou, Yuanchun, Bi, Jun, Liu, Miaomiao, Li, Shanshan
Journal of environmental management 2019
citizen participation, consciousness, environmental governance, environmental protection, issues and policy, China
Central Environmental Inspection (CEI) is a particularly important innovative strategy in the transition of environmental governance in China. The first round of CEI for all provincial regions in mainland China has been finished by the end of 2017, but its actual performance remains to be seen. In this study, a multi-dimensional index system was developed under the framework of Balanced Scorecard. Using the content analysis method, we comprehensively evaluated the performance of CEIs in all provinces inspected from the perspectives of target achievement, local rectification, direct effect, and social involvement. The results indicate that CEI has made encouraging progress in the area of environmental governance and the accumulated experiences of the inspections in the early stage greatly boosted the subsequent performance of CEIs. The provincial performance of the central region was significantly higher than that of other regions. For target achievement, the focal points has been basically realized. Despite some neglect of CEI feedback, local environmental governance is experiencing a promising shift from passive to active in general. For social involvement, the CEI has not only promoted the awakening of public environmental consciousness, but also driven public participation in environmental protection. It is notable that the implementation of environmental co-responsibility between Party and governmental officials needs to be further improved. In addition, the shortcomings of each province were identified as well and policy recommendations for existing problems were offered to guide future optimization of local environmental governance and CEI practice.