Working collectively and pursuing coordinated development to promote global desertification governancd
Working Collectively and Pursuing Coordinated Development To Promote
Global Desertification Governance
Remarks by Wang Yi
State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of
The People’s Republic of China
At the Heads of State Summit of the 15th Conference of the Parties of The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
9 May 2022
Your Excellency President Alassane Ouattara,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to attend, as the special representative of H.E. President Xi Jinping, the Heads of State Summit of the 15th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Thank you, President Alassane Ouattara, for your kind invitation. As we mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, we are gathered here in Africa to discuss the prevention and control of drought and desertification, which is of great significance for the development and vitalization of Africa and the sustainable development around the world.
As land provides the material basis for humanity to survive and thrive, drought and desertification pose real threats to economic and social development of the affected regions. Over the past three decades, encouraging progress has been made in combating desertification, yet much remains to be done to achieve such global sustainable development goals as Land Degradation Neutrality. In particular, since the onset of COVID-19, developing countries have been grappling with serious challenges in economy and livelihood, and face a daunting task in balancing development and environmental protection. To break the vicious cycle of poverty and desertification, and truly achieve harmony between man and Nature, it is necessary for the international community to work collectively to find a solution. To this end, China has the following three proposals:
First, we need to make solid efforts to strengthen international cooperation. Environmental issues are global challenges which require concerted efforts of all countries. Developing countries, especially African countries, face more severe challenges of drought and desertification, and the international community should lend a helping hand. China supports the adoption of the Abidjan Call by the meeting, and calls on developed countries to deliver on their commitments and provide strong support to developing countries in terms of funds and technology, among others. Key institutions such as UN agencies and the G20 should also channel more attention and support to this issue.
Second, we need to take firm actions to promote green development. Combating desertification reduces poverty and contributes to prosperity. It is important to follow a new path of coordinating economic development and ecological restoration. Last year, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI), which aims to achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development, and speed up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Food security, climate governance and green development are key cooperation areas of the GDI, and drought mitigation and sustainable land governance are its inherent components. China welcomes the active participation of all parties to jointly write a new chapter of green development in a post-COVID world.
Third, we need to take effective steps to improve international rules. The UNCCD is the main channel and key platform for the global fight against drought and desertification. It is important to actively address the concerns of African countries on drought, develop and improve rules on drought response, and foster a fair and equitable desertification governance system. We need to pay equal attention to rule-making in climate change, biodiversity and desertification control to pursue coordinated progress and form synergy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our efforts to combat drought and desertification will benefit not only this generation, but many more to come. Under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has established the new development philosophy and advanced ecological conservation with the vision that clean waters and green mountains are just as valuable as gold and silver. Over the past decades, with solid and persistent efforts, China has achieved the historic transition from desert displacing human settlement to green oasis replacing desert, and has become one of the first countries to realize Land Degradation Neutrality. China has cultivated the world’s largest man-made forest in Saihanba, and created a China model by greening and transforming the vast desert in Kubuqi, Inner Mongolia. Meanwhile, we have taken an active part in international cooperation. We have built, together with the UN, the International Training Center on Combating Desertification and the International Desertification Control Knowledge Management Center, and have unreservedly shared our experience with the international community.
China feels for the pain of African countries and peoples as they suffer from drought and desertification. The map of global sustainable development would not be complete without Africa. A successful fight against desertification in Africa will provide a strong boost to the realization of the UN SDGs. China is committed to working for a green Belt and Road. Through such mechanisms as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and South-South cooperation, China is working with African countries toward the prospect of a green Africa. Last month, China held a capacity building symposium on supporting the Great Green Wall for African forestry experts. Going forward, we will continue to push forward the implementation of the nine programs of China-Africa cooperation including the green development program and the Declaration on China-Africa Cooperation on Combating Climate Change, and assist Africa in enhancing environmental governance capacity and promoting economic and social development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As ancient Chinese wisdom says, “The nation is well off when grass and trees thrive.” Let’s join hands in combating drought and desertification to jointly contribute to sustainable development and usher in a cleaner and more beautiful world together.
I wish this meeting a full success.