Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Tuesday called for global
cooperation in fighting desertification.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of an international
conference on controlling desertification.
Hui called on countries to the United Nations Convention to
Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to faithfully fulfill their pledges
to continue their fight against desertification. The Convention
went into force in 1996. China signed it in October 1994 and
ratified it in February 1997.
Desertification affects two thirds of the countries and one
fifth of the population in the world, said Hui.
He hoped all participating countries would respect development
models in harmony with nature, transform their way of production
and living, and make efforts to plant trees and grasses to achieve
Hui stressed the importance of setting down national strategies
to fight desertification and incorporate them into the country's
overall economic and social development program.
He said the conference would help to strengthen international
cooperation and share experience in combating desertification among
more than 50 participating countries, regions and international
China had been trying to contain desertification and years of
efforts had paid off.
"The deserts are becoming smaller and ecological environment in
some regions is improving noticeably," Hui said.
China's deserts are shrinking by 7,585 sq km annually due to the
efforts of local governments and people, compared with an annual
expansion of 10,400 sq km at the end of last century, according to
"Human impact, particularly the rapid increase in population and
excessive land-use, was mainly responsible for the ecological and
environmental deterioration in northern China in the past century,"
Wang Tao, a leading desertification control scientist with the
Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at the event.
The three-day conference was jointly held by the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations and the State
Forestry Administration of China.
(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2008)