Published: 10:25, May 23, 2024
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Nations urged to increase conservation
By Yan Dongjie in Sanya, Hainan and Hou Liqiang in Beijing

China calls on major countries to better support developing ones in biodiversity

Students observe various shell specimens as they study marine biodiversity at Ailun Bay Marine Ranch in Rongcheng, Shandong province, on May 22, 2024. (LI XINJUN / FOR CHINA DAILY)

As the world celebrated International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, Huang Runqiu, China's minister of ecology and environment, called on developed countries to follow through on their commitments to provide enhanced support for biodiversity conservation efforts in developing nations.

He made the remarks at an event held to mark the occasion co-hosted by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the government of Hainan in Sanya, a coastal city in the island province.

Addressing the event, themed "Be Part of the Plan", Huang, who is also COP15 president, reiterated China's enduring commitment to contributing to global biodiversity governance by actively deepening international cooperation.

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Officially known as the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, COP15 was held in two phases, with phase one taking place virtually in October 2021 in Kunming, Yunnan province, and phase two hosted in Montreal, Canada, in late 2022.

China's consistent endeavors in biodiversity conservation have brought fruitful results, Huang noted, citing the significant increase of the Yangtze finless porpoise population and the expansion of mangrove forests as examples.

The number of Yangtze finless porpoises increased to 1,249 in 2022, up 29.4 percent from 2017, he said.

With its mangrove forests growing to 29,200 hectares, "China has become one of the few countries in the world where the net area of mangroves is increasing," he stated.

The theme of the event this year highlighted the need to mobilize global participation for further biodiversity conservation and emphasized how important it is for governments and all sectors of society to take collaborative action, he stressed.

As the host of COP15, China demonstrated leadership in presiding over the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which is both ambitious and realistic and was reflected in a balanced manner, he said.

The framework, which has four long-term goals to be achieved by 2050 and 23 action-oriented global targets to be reached by 2030, seeks harmonious coexistence between humans and nature by 2050.

Global conservation of 30 percent of all land, seas and inland waters, and restoration of 30 percent of degraded ecosystems are among the goals set to be achieved by 2030.

China and contracting parties such as Cambodia, Canada and Chile, as well as international organizations, jointly launched an initiative to implement the framework, which aims to establish a voluntary cooperation platform for all stakeholders to maintain the political momentum of global biodiversity governance.

Huang called on all contracting parties to update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans with targets in the framework as benchmarks and actively mobilize resources to enhance biodiversity conservation.

"Developed countries must fulfill their commitments, significantly increase support for funding, technology and capacity building in developing countries, and promote comprehensive and balanced implementation of the framework," he said.

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Addressing the event via a written letter, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the framework offers a pathway to reverse loss and restore biodiversity while creating jobs, building resilience and spurring sustainable development.

"Governments must lead. But as this year's International Day for Biological Diversity reminds us, we are all "Part of the Plan" — we all have a role to play," he said.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said, "With only seven years to implement the framework, we must all act now. And we must continue to act until our web of life is secure.

"On this, the International Day for Biological Diversity, we celebrate China's leadership. And we call on every government, every business, every investor and every individual to do what they can to protect and restore nature, for the benefit of all humanity," she said.

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