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Yunnan vows to strengthen NGO cooperation
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The governor of Yunan, the province with the most diverse topography and greatest number of plant species and animals in southwest China, vowed on Wednesday to strengthen communication and cooperation with non-governmental organization (NGOs), both domestic and foreign, on environmental protection.

"The government has the same goals with the NGOs in terms of environmental protection. They don't have a hostile relationship. They can communicate and cooperate on environmental and biological diversity protection," said Governor Qin Guangrong at a meeting with representatives of domestic and foreign NGOs on Wednesday.

Qin vowed to put biodiversity protection at the top of the agenda for the province this year.

Local officials from northwestern Yunnan's Baoshan, Dali, Lijiang,Nujiang and Diqing cities and prefectures, areas identified globally as a conservation priority for plant diversity, introduced their efforts in preserving the biological heirlooms to representatives at the meeting.

Representatives from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, the Mountain Institute and local environmental protection organizations participated.

The southwestern Yunnan Province, a global biodiversity hot spot and also a famous scenic area, has attracted attention from NGOs for some time. The NGOs had voiced their strong concerns on biodiversity protection, resource development and hydropower station building in the province.

The number of officially registered NGOs in China was about 354,000 in 2006. About 40,000 are approved by the civil affairs departments annually, said State Administration of Non-Governmental Organization sources.

(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)

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