By He Yin, People’s Daily
“We will do our best to provide support and assistance to fellow developing countries through the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition and the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, so as to elevate global biodiversity governance to a new height,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech he made recently.
Xi delivered the speech via video link at the opening ceremony of the high-level segment of the second part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) held in Montreal, Canada, on the evening of Dec. 15, 2022.
In his speech, Xi stressed the necessity to build global consensus on biodiversity protection, push forward the global process of biodiversity protection, promote green development through biodiversity protection, and uphold a fair and equitable global order on biodiversity protection.
Xi’s remarks injected important impetus into the consultations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which have entered a critical stage.
Biodiversity makes Earth full of vigor and vitality and lays the foundation for human survival and development. Today, mankind is standing at a crossroads between protecting biodiversity and achieving sustainable development.
The latest research has found that more than one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, and the monitored animal populations had fallen 69 percent since 1970.
According to the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook released by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the world’s first biodiversity conservation targets spanning 10 years from 2011 to 2020, was fully met by 2020.
The international community expected the second part of the COP15 to conclude the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and identify targets and pathways for global biodiversity protection.
As the presidency of the COP15, China has fully performed its duties and promoted communication and coordination among various parties in a multi-facet, multi-dimensional, and multi-level manner, actively advancing the process of consultations and negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
In October 2021, Xi delivered a keynote speech via video link at the leaders’ summit of the COP15 held in Kunming City, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province.
In the speech, Xi put forward important proposals including taking the development of ecological civilization as humanity’s guide to coordinate the relationship between man and Nature, letting green transition drive the efforts of countries to facilitate global sustainable development, concentrating on bettering people’s well-being to promote social equity and justice, and taking international law as the basis to uphold a fair and equitable international governance system.
At the summit, Xi announced China’s initiative to establish a Kunming Biodiversity Fund and take the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan (about $214.81 million) to support biodiversity protection in developing countries. By doing so, China has contributed its wisdom, solution, and strength to promoting global biodiversity protection.
During the second part of the COP15, China has continued to guide substantive and political affairs of the conference, and actively facilitated the formulation of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with ambitious, balanced, and pragmatic global biodiversity conservation targets.
As one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and also one of the first countries to sign and ratify the CBD, China has made active efforts to promote ecological civilization construction and biodiversity protection.
China has continuously strengthened biodiversity mainstreaming, applied a system of ecological conservation red lines, established a protected areas system with national parks as the mainstay, carried out major biodiversity protection projects, and conducted the most stringent supervision and management of law enforcement in the environmental protection sector.
As a result, a large number of rare and endangered species in China have been placed under effective protection, the diversity, stability, and sustainability of ecosystems in the country have kept improving, and the country found a path of biodiversity protection with Chinese characteristics, effectively boosting global confidence in biodiversity protection.
While making great achievements in biodiversity conservation and ecological civilization construction, China has scored huge achievements in economic development, providing a useful experience for all the other developing countries, said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Secretariat of the CBD.
Since 2019, China has been the largest contributor to the core budget of the CBD and its Protocols, and strongly supports its operation and implementation of the CBD.
Going forward, China will continue to advance ecological progress, plan its development in the context of promoting harmonious co-existence between man and Nature, respond to the Action Plan for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, launch a large number of key projects on biodiversity protection and restoration, deepen international exchanges and cooperation, and support international forums on biodiversity, Xi said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the high-level segment of the second part of the COP15.
China’s leadership is crucial to the conclusion of an ambitious and implementable Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, said Marco Lambertini, director-general of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International.
Earth is the only and shared home for human beings, and promoting harmony between humanity and Nature is the shared vision of the international community.
In order to promote global biodiversity protection, the international community urgently needs to safeguard and practice true multilateralism, and join hands to translate ambition into action.
China will continue to work together with the rest of the international community to jointly advance the formulation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, promote the harmonious co-existence between man and Nature, build a community of all life on the Earth, and create a clean and beautiful world for all.