China celebrates Biodiversity Day to raise awareness of conservation efforts
Published: May 22, 2024 10:41 PM
A Tibetan antelope  Photo: Courtesy of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration

A Tibetan antelope Photo: Courtesy of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration

Multiple regions across China carried out a series of promotional activities on Wednesday, International Day for Biological Diversity, with the aim of raising public awareness of biodiversity conservation and promoting the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the People's Government of Hainan Province cohosted an event in Wuzhishan, South China's Hainan Province, to celebrate the day, which took the theme "Be part of the Plan." 

The country has released the China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2023-30) and is currently formulating an implementation plan for major biodiversity conservation projects to support the implementation of the national strategy and action plan, Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu said at the event.

As a mega-biodiversity country and one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, China has always placed great importance on biodiversity conservation, said Huang.

Along with the event in Hainan, other regions, including South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Chongqing Municipality, all conducted events to explore biodiversity conservation.

In Kunming, Yunnan, another promotional event was held on Wednesday to celebrate the day. The Kunming Declaration was adopted in 2021 during the first part of 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in Kunming.

United Nations (UN) officials have called on everyone to be part of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. "The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework offers a pathway to reverse loss and restore biodiversity - while creating jobs, building resilience, and spurring sustainable development," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement released on Wednesday.

China has achieved progress in biodiversity conservation in recent years through the construction of national parks, botanical gardens, and the implementation of wildlife protection projects. The populations of many rare and endangered wildlife have steadily increased, and their habitats have improved, according to a report sent to the Global Times on Wednesday by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Animal populations have grown since the establishment of the first batch of national parks in China. There are currently around 70 wild Siberian tigers and about 80 wild Amur leopards living in the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park. In 2023, 20 new tiger cubs and 15 leopard cubs were born in the park, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the population of giant pandas in the wild has increased from around 1,100 in the 1980s to nearly 1,900 currently. The population of Tibetan antelopes in the Sanjiangyuan area, which is known as China's "water tower," has reached around 300,000, and their conservation status has been downgraded from "endangered" to "near threatened."

Moreover, the population of Hainan gibbons has increased from five groups of 32 individuals to six groups of 37 individuals, making it the only successful case of natural recovery among a critically endangered species with fewer than 10 individuals remaining worldwide, according to the national forestry and grassland authority's report.

By 2035, the country aims to establish around 10 national botanical gardens, with the goal of protecting more than 80 percent of key protected wild plants and over 70 percent of rare and endangered wild plants through effective relocation measures, establishing a comprehensive national botanical garden system, said the report. 

The Global Times reporter also witnessed the expanding population of wild Asian elephants in Yunnan Province recently, which are living symbols of China's ecological commitment.

China is striving to establish the world's largest national park system by 2035. The country will continue to promote biodiversity conservation by constructing a national park-centered protected area system, enhancing existing national parks, creating new ones, and implementing projects to protect critically endangered species. 

The biodiversity protection involves several choices such as choosing between short-term and long-term benefits and interests of the minority and majority. China has made admirable choices in favor of long-term benefits for people, Zhao Zhonghua, chief representative of the World Animal Protection China office, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

For example, the 10-year fishing ban in the Yangtze River has preserved the ecosystem well. China's efforts in environmental protection have also taken a leading role internationally, said Zhao.

China is dedicated to building a community of all life on Earth. By embracing openness, inclusiveness and cooperation, we are committed to working with the rest of the world to open up new prospects in global biodiversity governance, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at Wednesday's regular press briefing, commenting on China's contributions to biodiversity protection and global governance.