Activities to Celebrate IBD (May 22, 2006) Organized in the Great People's Hall of Beijing
On May 22, SEPA, EU and UNDP jointly organized today activities to celebrate IBD in the Great People's Hall. It was also a ceremony to launch China-EU biodiversity project and China Biodiversity Partnerships Framework Project B. Present at this ceremony were SEPA Vice Minister Wu Xiaoqing and Mr. Franze Jessen, Deputy Representative of the EU Delegation in China. Participants of this ceremony included representatives from the World Bank, FAO, UNDP, some embassies such as of UK, France, Finland and Norway, NGOs, private sector as well as those from member departments of the National Coordinating Committee for Implementing CBD and some representatives from academia and local governments.
May 22 of this year is the thirteenth International Biodiversity Day. Its theme is to "Protect Biodiversity in Drylands", which was established in response to the UN's decision to designate 2006 as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification. The arid and semi-arid areas of the whole world accounts for 47% of the total area of the planet's surface. These areas not only have rich biodiversity, but also inhabit about a population of about 200 million people. The precipitation varies greatly in these arid areas, making ecosystems there very vulnerable. Human activities, in particular overexploitation of resources, led to changes in habitats and degradation of up to 20% of ecosystems in arid areas and accelerated desertification. As a result, 2311 species are endangered and a loss of over 4 billion USD of agricultural products caused every year. Social, economic and political pressures also increased as well. In China, arid and semi-arid areas account for 52.2% of its total land area. Biodiversity in these vast areas in China also faces severe challenges and many species are being endangered.
The Chinese government has been attaching great importance to biodiversity conservation. China ratified CBD in 1993. For more than a decade, China has been undertaking a series of activities to implement this international treaty and making efforts to conserve biodiversity. Institutionally China has established a coordinating committe headed by SEPA and involving 22 government departments and institutions. In 2003, China also established an interministerial joint framework for protection of biological resources, which is headed by SEPA and involves 17 government departments and institutions. The purpose of this mechanism is to strengthen the protection and management of biological resources. In early 2005, SEPA developed together with 8 other departments a Plan for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Resources (2006-2030). The focus of this plan is to strengthen the conservation of biological resources of China as well as their sustainable use. In 2003, the Ministry of Agriculture completed its planning for construction of seven major agricultural systems in China, one of which is the system of agricultrual resources, environment and ecology, including grassland. Six major projects being implemented by the State Forestry Administration are mostly closely related to biodiversity conservation. In 2005, SFA, together with nine departments, had completed a Plan for Conservation of Wetland (2005-2010), which covers 50% of natural wetlands in China. All this work has effectively enhanced biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in China, making a contribution to the global efforts in this field.
China's efforts in biodiversity conservation have been strongly supported by the international community. For the past decade, China has been cooperating closely with a number of related UN organizations in this field. China also draws up experience in this field in other countries and wins financial support from various international and bilateral organizations to the work in this field, including those from UNEP, UNDP, the World Bank and GEF, which contributes significantly to the enhancement of China's capacity in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
China Biodiversity Partnerships Framework Project is the first package grant from the GEF for national biodiversity programme. Its implementation is headed by SEPA and the Ministry of Finance and involves many government departments. The aim of this project is to establish a comprehensive, integrated and systemic mechanism and framework of cooperation for biodiversity conservation in China, which will coordinates activities of China's partners, domestic and international, in this field. This project is designed to provide guidance for international cooperation in this field in the next decade or longer. The establishment of such partnerships will generate postivie impacts on China's efforts in biodiversity conservation.
China-EU biodiversity project is the biggest ever project in the field of biodiversity between China, EU and UNDP. Its implementation is headed by SEPA and involves many government departments, local governments and relevant institutions and organizations (domestic and international), including local communities. The project is designed to strengthen China's capacity to implement CBD, through establishing networks of biodiversity monitoring and information, promoting biodiversity education and awareness and promoting the establishment of legal and policy systems related to biodiversity and their enforcement.
(Photos by Lu Yan, SEPA Information Center)