SCIO press conference on 'Biodiversity Conservation in China' white paper

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Biodiversity has a direct bearing on people's wellbeing and is an important basis for human survival and development. What efforts and achievements has China made in biodiversity conservation in recent years? What measures and actions will be taken to further consolidate and develop the achievements made in biodiversity conservation? Thank you.

Zhao Yingmin:

Thank you for your questions. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, China has upheld the philosophy of harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature and has actively promoted the construction of its ecological civilization. Improvements have been made to the legal system, supervision mechanisms and fundamental capabilities of ecological protection. With the goal of building a beautiful China, the country has actively adapted to new situations and requirements, strengthened and innovated biodiversity protection measures, and improved its overall biodiversity conservation system. It has established conservation mechanisms led by the government and featuring multilateral governance and win-win cooperation, in which all citizens participate. This way, it has made remarkable progress in biodiversity conservation. The white paper systematically expounds these efforts on four aspects, and the achievements can be summarized in ten areas.

First, optimizing in-situ conservation. We are creating a protected area framework with a focus on national parks. China was the first in the world to propose and implement the red line strategy for ecological conservation. It has designated priority areas in biodiversity conservation, contributing to the conservation of habitats for key species. At present, China has brought 90% of terrestrial ecosystem types and 71% of key state-protected wildlife species under effective protection. The populations of well-known endangered species such as the giant panda, crested ibis and Asian elephant are constantly increasing. 

Second, improving ex-situ conservation. China continues to step up ex-situ conservation, and has launched systematic campaigns to save endangered species. More biological genetic resources are collected and better preserved, and the ex-situ conservation system is improving as an effective complement to in-situ conservation, helping to protect and restore many species of endangered wildlife. 

Third, improving biosecurity governance. China has included biosecurity in the national security system. The Biosecurity Law was promulgated and came into force in 2021. Systematic planning has been carried out for biosecurity risk control and governance. Efforts have been made to improve the mechanism for preventing invasive alien species, promote the sound development of biotechnologies, and strengthen the protection, supervision and regulation of biogenetic resources. The aim is to constantly improve national biosecurity governance. 

Fourth, improving the eco-environment. China has launched a series of projects for the integrated conservation and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, grasslands, deserts, glaciers and snow mountains. As a result, ecological deterioration has been contained, and ecosystems are generally stable, with a greater capacity to serve development. China has been fighting a tough battle against pollution; the pressure on biodiversity conservation has been greatly eased, the eco-environment continues to improve, and a framework of "shields" for ecological security has been largely completed. 

Fifth, promoting green development with coordinated efforts. China endeavors to advance social and economic development within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. Measures have been taken to transform the economic growth model, encourage green and low-carbon ways of life, and coordinate efforts in biodiversity conservation and high-quality development. We have accelerated the green transformation of all sectors and industries, promoted green urban and rural development, and explored methods to realize the market value of green products.

Sixth, improving relevant policies, laws and regulations. Biodiversity conservation has been elevated to a national strategy in China, and incorporated into mid- and long-term plans of all regions and fields. We have strengthened organization and leadership. There has been a drive to improve the legal and policy framework. China has promulgated and revised more than 20 laws and regulations related to biodiversity conservation, including laws on the protection of wild animals and the environment. China has also revised the list of key wild animals under state protection. 

Seventh, extending guarantees. China has organized nationwide biodiversity surveys, and put in place sound biodiversity monitoring and observation networks. It has increased financial input and effort in technology research and development and launched major biodiversity conservation projects.

Eighth, strengthening law enforcement and supervision. China has conducted central environmental protection inspections, and launched special law enforcement campaigns including the Green Shield inspections of nature reserves, the Blue Sea initiative for marine environmental protection and the crackdown on illegal wildlife trade. China has always been tough against illegal and criminal activities related to biodiversity with constantly increased efforts.

Ninth, encouraging public engagement. China continues to strengthen publicity and education on biodiversity conservation. An action system involving stronger government guidance, corporate action and extensive public participation is taking shape. Public participation in biodiversity conservation has grown and become more diversified. 

Tenth, further global cooperation on biodiversity conservation. China has actively implemented international conventions and worked to enhance synergies among biodiversity-related conventions. China has firmly practiced multilateralism and actively carried out international cooperation. It has provided help and support to other developing countries within its abilities regarding biodiversity conservation, and is striving to build a shared future for all life on Earth.

Going forward, we will make systematic plans and continue our efforts. As for policies, laws and regulations, we will revise the China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2030) to improve relevant policies and systems. We will push forward the formulating and revising of biodiversity-related laws and regulations to improve the legal system. As for measures, we will formulate and implement the Ten-Year Plan of Major Biodiversity Conservation Projects (2021-2030), promote background surveys of the priority areas in biodiversity conservation, and improve observation networks. Monitoring data and information platforms on biodiversity conservation will be improved and capacity for biodiversity protection and governance will be enhanced in an all-round manner. 

Thank you. 

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