A U.N. official here on Thursday hailed as "fantastic move" an initiative by China to set up a regional network on forest rehabilitation and sustainable management.
"It is a fantastic move if the network is put in place and in practice," said Dr. Wulf Killmann, chairperson of FAO's Inter- departmental Working Group on Climate Change, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
At the 15th Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Sydney, Australia, in September, Chinese President Hu Jintao put forward an initiative to set up an Asia-Pacific Network on Forest Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management aimed at coping with climate change.
The Network is expected to contribute to the implementation of the REDD proposal and help to reduce deforestation, said the official from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
The REDD -- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries, involves creating new financial incentives for developing countries, empowering them to slow down their rates of deforestation.
The Network is set to contribute to sustainable management of forest in Asia and the Pacific, and reduce carbon emissions from deforestation, said the official, who is here attending the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference.
According to FAO statistics, deforestation is estimated to have occurred at an alarming rate of 13 million hectares per year in the period 1990-2005, accounting for 20 percent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions in the late 1990s and making it the world' s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
The FAO official cited China as "a good example" in addressing the issue of deforestation, saying "China is one of the countries with the highest rate of replanting."
According to statistics from the Chinese government, by planting trees and protecting forests, another 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide was absorbed in 1980-2005.
Also, China's State Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Commerce jointly released in August the Guidelines for Sustainable Forestry Management by Chinese Enterprises Operating Overseas.
Under the guidelines, a Chinese enterprise that has timer operations oversees must conduct an environmental impact assessment of its project before it enters the host country.
(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2007)