Danish envoy hails China’s handling of wandering elephants
Published: Oct 12, 2021 07:43 PM
Ambassador Thomas Østrup Møller. Screenshot from official website of Denmark Embassy to China

Danish Ambassador Thomas Østrup Møller. Screenshot from the official website of Denmark Embassy to China

The political leadership of China, the presidency of the COP15, takes the biodiversity issue seriously so that it's important for the rest of the world to follow suit amid insufficient efforts to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, set up 10 years ago, the Ambassador of Denmark to China said at the sidelines of the COP 15 conference in Kunming on Tuesday.

Ambassador Thomas Østrup Møller told the Global Times that China is one of the 12 countries in the world with the most biodiversity, which sends a strong signal to the world. He remarked that the COP15 "may be the most important meeting we have had in 10 years." 

He said it's time to act as the world has not achieved what it agreed on 10 years ago. 

He said China has made progress in taking care of the domestic biodiversity issue and "it's nice to see that the political leadership of China takes the issue seriously, and as the president of the COP15, [so] it's important for the rest of the world." 

Møller said that China is a leader in reforestation and has taken great steps forward in the field that could be applied to other countries.

The forestry issue is significant for both biodiversity and climate change as it will help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, he said. 

He was also amazed at the return of 14 wild Asian elephants that went astray in Yunnan Province this summer, saying Chinese authorities managed the situation well - authorities warned people that the elephants were coming close to their areas, and they also respected the elephants' right to be on the planet, and paved the way for their return. 

The elephants are big animals and when they come to human habitat, it could be problematic. But the way Chinese authorities managed it was quite amazing, he said. 

The story of the epic journey of the elephants was also displayed at the opening ceremony of the COP15 conference on Monday. 

On jointly reaching the post-2020 targets, Møller stressed global collaboration as the COVID-19 pandemic reminded mankind of the importance of global cooperation. 

He said China and Demark have cooperated in nature-based solutions in creating "sponge cities" to tackle water and climate-related challenges, and he expects strengthened cooperation between the two countries in the field. 

Many Chinese cities have adopted "sponge city" construction projects and the method has brought tangible benefits to local residents, with polluted urban rivers cleaned, waterlogging reduced in the rainy season, and greening areas increased.

Participants of the meeting, themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," are expected to review the "post-2020 global biodiversity framework" to draw a blueprint for biodiversity conservation in the future during the first part of the meeting. The post framework will replace the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which was set in 2010.