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China Sets up 14 New Wetland Reserves

On the sixth World Wetlands Day Saturday, China contributed to global conservation by adding 14 newly designated wetland reserves of international importance, known as Ramsar wetlands.

China became a contracting party of the Ramsar Convention in 1992, pledging to take part in the coordinated international conservation action for protecting wetlands. The first batch of seven pieces of China's wetlands was added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance in the same year.

The State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China has set up a Ramsar Convention Implementing Office to take charge of promoting international cooperation in this field.

The 14 newly designated sites have been evaluated and recognized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as the 71st "Gift to the Earth."

At the celebration meeting of the "World Wetlands Day" held by the WWF and the SFA in Beijing on Saturday, a WWF representative presented the "Gift to the Earth" certificate to Zhou Shengxian, director of the SFA.

This "Gift" brought the total number of China's Ramsar wetlands to 21, with a combined coverage of three million hectares.

The "Gift" is WWF's highest accolade to applaud globally significant actions on behalf of the international community, and is to highlight both the conservation leadership shown by China and the contribution your country is making towards the protection of the natural world, said Claude Martin, the director general of the WWF International, in his message for China's Wetlands Day celebration.

The theme of the celebration is "wetlands, water, life and culture."

China presently has 66 million hectares of wetlands, accounting for one tenth of the world's total. The country plans to set up another 333 wetland reserves in the next 10 years to bring the total to 643, which will protect over 90 percent of China's natural wetland reserves.

(China Daily February 3, 2002)

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