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China shows wisdom of biodiversity conservation on UN conference

International Exchanges

The UN CBD COP 14, which runs from Nov. 17 to 29 in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, attracts delegates from more than 190 countries.

XinhuaUpdated: November 20, 2018

When the delegates look at the schedule of the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 14), they will find Chinese wisdom to the global biodiversity conservation.

The UN CBD COP 14, which runs from Nov. 17 to 29 in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, attracts delegates from more than 190 countries. It aims to step up efforts to halt the biodiversity loss and protect the ecosystems that support food and water security and health for billions of people.

Over the past years, China has made solid efforts in biodiversity conservation, as the country understands its importance and regards it as an important part of development.

Government lead

As one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity and the first to join the Convention, the Chinese government has always attached great importance to the biodiversity conservation. It has also been incorporated into the relevant plans of local governments as an important part of the construction of ecological civilization.

Chinese Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Huang Runqiu told Xinhua that the Chinese government regarded ecological civilization as a significant part of good governance.

Huang said the past several years mark the era while China conducted the most strenuous efforts and undertook the most substantial measures in ecological and environmental protection with the fastest progress and best outcomes achieved.

In October, the southwestern province of Yunnan has passed a regulation protecting local biodiversity. This is the first local regulation on biodiversity protection in China and it will be put into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Yunnan is a Chinese province with a variety of animals and plants and one of the 34 areas in the world where biodiversity is threatened. The regulation stipulates a government-guided system to protect biodiversity in ecosystems, species and genes.

Almost at the same time, China's cabinet released a guideline to improve aquatic life protection and ecological rehabilitation in the Yangtze River.

The Yangtze River, the longest river in China, has been damaged by human activities including dam building, water pollution and over-fishing, resulting in deteriorating biodiversity and arduous tasks of ecological restoration.

According to the guideline, fishing on major waters of the river will be banned throughout the year and more conservation areas will be built and better supervised before 2020.

So far, China has land conservation areas of over 1.7 million square km, accounting for 18 percent of the total land area, ahead of the schedule of reaching 17 percent by 2020 required by the CBD.

Business participation

Huang Runqiu told Xinhua that China is committed to promoting business participation in biodiversity conservation, regarding it as an integral part of the domestic implementation of the convention.

The side event on progress of China's business engaging in biodiversity on Sunday attracted more than 60 delegates to join, discussing the importance of the business to biodiversity conservation.

"Only by protecting biodiversity can we have the sustainable development of the world and the long-term health of enterprises," Zhang Jianqiu, the CEO of a leading Chinese diary company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd told Xinhua.

At the end of 2016, Yili became the first Chinese enterprise to sign the Cancun Business and Biodiversity Pledge of 2016 COP CBD. Considering the unique features of Yili's industry chain, they extended the CBD requirements to their upstream and downstream partners so that to make the whole industry chain become eco-friendly.

Cristiana Pasca Palmer, executive secretary of the UN CBD, noted that businesses play a decisive role in biodiversity conservation.

Business operations depend on biodiversity and ecosystem services while transforming the economic model by moving towards sustainable consumption and production can also generate significant benefits to businesses, Palmer said.

In the context of the convention, more and more businesses are committing to delivering such contributions, as reflected in the global Business and Biodiversity Pledge opened for signature at the Global Business and Biodiversity Forum in Cancun, Mexico, in 2016.

"We should promote green development in all links of industry chain through sustainable modes, also the implementation of sustainable development goals through shared values created by enterprises and the society," Zhang added.

Technological assist

The practice of biodiversity conservation is inseparable from the guarantee and assistance of science and technology.

Last month, the Global Biodiversity and Health Big Data Alliance, an international alliance to promote biodiversity and health big data sharing, was established in Beijing.

Based at the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the organization is under a framework initiated by the International Union of Biological Sciences, aiming to construct a world-class biodiversity and health big data center that are publicly accessible to worldwide communities.

According to Chinese Science Daily, Chinese research institutions has launched a project to conduct water and biodiversity research under climate change in the Pan-Third Pole.

The project, featuring 16 institutions, will study the mechanism between water, typical ecosystems and climate change, as well as conduct continuous monitoring and evaluation research on water and biodiversity.

Huang said that China will strengthen biodiversity conservation supervision and biodiversity research to protect important natural ecosystems and wildlife.

China will seek ways to achieve biodiversity through technological cooperation, funding and strengthening the capacity of developing countries.