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China's engagement reshapes global biodiversity agenda -- UN official

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2020-10-04

NAIROBI -- The international biodiversity conservation agenda has benefited from China's leadership, best practices and technical expertise, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), said that China has been an influential player in global efforts to conserve endangered species.

"First of all, China has been a strong supporter and contributor to the global biodiversity agenda and processes," Mrema said during an interview with Xinhua.

She said China was among the first countries to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Asian country's pioneering work in habitats' restoration has inspired others to undertake similar endeavour.

"China has carried out a series of effective actions to protect biodiversity and it has achieved remarkable results. China has met the Aichi Biodiversity Target of protecting 17 percent of terrestrial areas ahead of schedule," said Mrema.

She acknowledged China's unwavering commitment to protect wildlife and other threatened species in line with Beijing's fidelity to the multilateral environmental agenda.

"China has also demonstrated its determination and action by adopting legislation to control the hunting, trading, transport and consumption of wild animals, to ban unsafe practices and to clamp down on illegal activities," said Mrema.

She appreciated China's concept of ecological civilization that has given prominence to biodiversity, adding that the Belt and Road Initiative will help showcase determination by Beijing to embed green and sustainability agenda in infrastructure projects.

China will host the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming in May 2021, which the executive secretary believes is expected to adopt a new framework for conserving resources.

"The post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to be agreed next year in Kunming, can play a significant role in building the resilience we need in the face of growing environmental, health and development challenges," said Mrema.

She said the UN Biodiversity Summit held virtually on Wednesday and addressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping has set the stage for realization of a new vision for habitat protection.

"One of my greatest expectations is that the summit will seek to provide convincing and clear political direction and momentum to the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework," said Mrema.

She said that progressive leadership combined with policy reforms and citizens' engagement is required to put an end to unsustainable practices that have worsened depletion of biodiversity hotspots.

Mrema stressed that protecting biodiversity will provide a durable solution to the climate crisis, hunger, poverty and disease.

She said that China's decision to host the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity meeting next year reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to the multilateral process for the protection of biodiversity.

Mrema said that China has since 2019 hosted several meetings of the CBD to support the implementation of a ten-year strategic plan aimed at revitalizing the global biodiversity agenda.

"We believe with its strong commitments and great efforts, China will deliver a historical milestone meeting for COP 15 in terms of both logistics and substantive outcomes," she added.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.