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Teamwork Helps Save Nature

A new cooperation between China and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) aims to protect the nation's ecology by providing trainings and funding.

The deal was formalized last week between Chinese officials and a visiting IUCN delegation headed by Director-General Achim Steiner in Beijing.

Steiner said the interaction will involve both the Chinese Government and many Chinese non-governmental organizations.

The focus, according to a memorandum signed by both sides, is biological diversity and ecological protection. IUCN will help improve environmental laws and regulations to encourage conservation, the memorandum said.

The agency also will conduct projects across the country in the coming years that include providing staff training, environmental education and technological and financial support.

IUCN started its work in China early this year with a biological diversity project at Dujiangyan, a historic city in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, and efforts to recover grassland in Inner Mongolia and protect the Tibetan antelopes.

IUCN, also referred to as the World Conservation Union, is an international environmental "umbrella" organization.

Founded in 1948 as one of the first international environmental groups, IUCN now involves 78 countries and regions, 112 government agencies, 735 non-governmental organizations, 35 affiliates and about 10,000 experts from 181 countries, its promotional literature says.

The agency's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to protect nature.

China joined the IUCN as a member state in 1996. A series of State departments and non-governmental groups have been involved, including the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Foreign Ministry and China Wildlife Protection Association. China is also a member state of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

(China Daily October 29, 2001)

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