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国新办 2021-10-08 547次



Chen Wenjun:


Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference being held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). The SCIO is holding this press conference today to issue, introduce and interpret a new white paper titled "Biodiversity Conservation in China."


This is the first white paper on biodiversity conservation issued by the Chinese government. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, the white paper introduces the policy ideas, important measures and progress of biodiversity conservation in China, as well as China's initiatives in practicing multilateralism and deepening global biodiversity cooperation, and its contributions to the world.


At about 14,000 Chinese characters, the white paper consists of three parts: preface, main body and conclusion. Among them, the main body includes four parts: Harmony Between Humanity and Nature, Increasing the Efficiency of Biodiversity Conservation, Improving Biodiversity Governance, and Further Global Cooperation on Biodiversity Conservation. The paper is published in eight languages: Chinese, English, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Arabic and Japanese. These versions have been published by the People's Publishing House and Foreign Languages Press respectively, and will be distributed in Xinhua bookstores across the country.


In order to help everyone accurately and deeply understand the content of the white paper, we have invited Mr. Zhao Yingmin, vice minister of ecology and environment; Mr. Zhang Zhanhai, chief engineer and spokesperson of the Ministry of Natural Resources; and Mr. Li Chunliang, deputy administrator of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, to attend today's press conference. They will introduce relevant information and answer your questions.


Now, I will give the floor to Mr. Zhao Yingmin, vice minister of ecology and environment.


Zhao Yingmin:


Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. I am very glad to have the opportunity to introduce to you the newly released white paper "Biodiversity Conservation in China." I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you, friends from the media, for your long-term care and support for China's biodiversity conservation work.


Biodiversity provides humanity with rich and diverse production and life necessities, a healthy and safe ecological environment, and unique natural landscape culture. It is a significant foundation for the survival and development of mankind, and is related to the well-being of mankind. We once had a slogan for the International Year of Biodiversity: "Biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is our life." This sentence vividly illustrates the relationship between us and biodiversity, and the importance of conserving biodiversity.


With population growth and expansion of human economic activities, global biodiversity is facing serious threats. According to a global assessment report released by the United Nations in May 2019, human activities have altered 75% of terrestrial environment and 66% of marine environment, and a quarter of the world's species are at threat of extinction. On Sept. 18, 2020, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity launched the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-5). The report stated that despite the progress in many areas of biodiversity conservation, nature is still suffering heavy blows, and the global biodiversity situation is still deteriorating.


China has a vast territory, in terms of both land and seas. Its geomorphology and climate are complex and diverse, nurturing a rich and unique ecosystem, and species and genetic diversity. It is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. China's traditional culture has accumulated abundant wisdom in the protection and utilization of biodiversity. As one of the first parties to sign and ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, China has always attached great importance to biodiversity conservation, and continuously promoted the conservation of biodiversity with creative and up-to-date measures. It has achieved remarkable progress on a distinctively Chinese path of biodiversity conservation. The white paper "Biodiversity Conservation in China" comprehensively summarizes that, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization and with the goal of building a Beautiful China, the country actively adapts to the new situation and new requirements, and has been continuously improving the measures for biodiversity conservation and making innovative ways in this regard. It systematically expounds, from four aspects, on the ideas, actions and effects of China's biodiversity conservation that aims to promote harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, between individuals, and between individuals and society, and create a virtuous circle for all-round development and sustained prosperity for all.


The 15th meeting of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15) will be held soon. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has also entered its "Decade of Action" to achieve global goals. At the same time, China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarked on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects. The international community is standing at the historic juncture of protecting biodiversity and realizing global sustainable development. At this time, it is of important practical significance to release the white paper "Biodiversity Conservation in China" and introduce China's ideas, plans and actions in the field of biodiversity conservation to the international community. It aims to enhance the international community's understanding of China's biodiversity conservation, and contribute Chinese wisdom to global biodiversity conservation.


Looking back on the past and forward to the future, the international community must work together in biodiversity conservation. China will continue to increase its biodiversity conservation efforts and actively participate in global biodiversity governance. China will work with the international community to discuss new strategies for global biodiversity governance, and embark on a new course of the post-2020 global biodiversity governance that is more just and reasonable, and where each will do their best.


That's all for my introduction. Next, the three of us will answer your questions.


Thank you.


Chen Wenjun:


The floor is now open for questions. Please identify your media outlet before raising questions.




The white paper, titled "Biodiversity Conservation in China," is the first one issued by the country to focus on the field of biodiversity conservation. Given that the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – known as COP15 – is set to kick off in Yunnan province soon, why did you choose to issue the white paper now and what is its significance? Thank you.


Zhao Yingmin:


I just explained that China is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and also one of the first countries to sign and approve the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. China attaches great importance to biodiversity conservation and preserves biodiversity with creative and up-to-date measures. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has been prioritizing eco-environmental progress and pursuing green development under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization. A new pattern of biodiversity governance has largely taken shape, with improvements to the legal system, mechanisms for supervision as well as fundamental capabilities, marking the start of a new era for biodiversity conservation. China has achieved substantial progress on the path to biodiversity conservation with Chinese characteristics.


There is a practical significance to issuing the white paper ahead of the upcoming COP15. It presents China's visions, measures and achievements on biodiversity conservation to the world, and also provides China's solutions to global biodiversity conservation. These are reflected in the following four aspects.


First, it is the first time that China has issued a white paper comprehensively introducing its efforts in the field of biodiversity conservation. China regards biodiversity conservation as a vital part of promoting ecological progress and an important starting point for promoting high-quality development. The requirements of biodiversity conservation have been incorporated into all aspects and fields of economic and social development, and all sectors of society have been mobilized to protect biodiversity. The release of the first white paper is a concrete manifestation of China's comprehensive and in-depth efforts to promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity, therefore it is of great significance.


Second, the white paper showcases China's concept, action and achievements in biodiversity conservation, as well as China's contribution to global biodiversity conservation. By elaborating on China's commitment to the philosophy of harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, the country's efforts in holistically enhancing the efficiency of biodiversity conservation and in improving biodiversity governance, as well as its innovative measures and fruitful achievements in deepening global biodiversity exchanges and cooperation, the white paper shows that China shoulders its responsibility and makes its contribution to biodiversity conservation as a major country. Meanwhile, it also expresses China's confidence in standing in solidarity with the rest of the world as we meet global biodiversity challenges.


Third, it summarizes the practice and experience of China's biodiversity conservation efforts and provides solutions for building a shared future for all life on Earth. China always stands guard for our harmonious and beautiful planet for all life and has been contributing to its wellbeing with action. With proactive explorations and bold practices, China has embarked on a road to biodiversity conservation with Chinese characteristics. On the occasion of COP15, the white paper will enable us to share China's experience in biodiversity governance. This will help build confidence in the global response to the challenges and risks of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. It will play an important role in promoting the achievement of ambitious and pragmatic outcomes at the meeting and the formation of a more fair and equitable global biodiversity governance system where each country can make contribution to the best of its ability.


Fourth, the white paper will inspire enthusiasm across society for biodiversity conservation and accelerate biodiversity governance process, in which everyone is responsible to undertake his or her due obligations, while also enjoying all of the benefits. Biodiversity provides an important material basis for the survival and development of humanity, therefore protecting biodiversity is the responsibility and obligation of every country, organization and individual. China sees the release of the white paper as an opportunity to earnestly implement international conventions, continue to widely promote various biodiversity protection efforts, and mobilize and pool the strengths of the whole society to participate in biodiversity protection, providing a strong and enduring driving force for biodiversity conservation.


Thank you.




Biodiversity has a direct bearing on people's wellbeing and is an important basis for human survival and development. What efforts and achievements has China made in biodiversity conservation in recent years? What measures and actions will be taken to further consolidate and develop the achievements made in biodiversity conservation? Thank you.


Zhao Yingmin:


Thank you for your questions. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, China has upheld the philosophy of harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature and has actively promoted the construction of its ecological civilization. Improvements have been made to the legal system, supervision mechanisms and fundamental capabilities of ecological protection. With the goal of building a beautiful China, the country has actively adapted to new situations and requirements, strengthened and innovated biodiversity protection measures, and improved its overall biodiversity conservation system. It has established conservation mechanisms led by the government and featuring multilateral governance and win-win cooperation, in which all citizens participate. This way, it has made remarkable progress in biodiversity conservation. The white paper systematically expounds these efforts on four aspects, and the achievements can be summarized in ten areas.


First, optimizing in-situ conservation. We are creating a protected area framework with a focus on national parks. China was the first in the world to propose and implement the red line strategy for ecological conservation. It has designated priority areas in biodiversity conservation, contributing to the conservation of habitats for key species. At present, China has brought 90% of terrestrial ecosystem types and 71% of key state-protected wildlife species under effective protection. The populations of well-known endangered species such as the giant panda, crested ibis and Asian elephant are constantly increasing.


Second, improving ex-situ conservation. China continues to step up ex-situ conservation, and has launched systematic campaigns to save endangered species. More biological genetic resources are collected and better preserved, and the ex-situ conservation system is improving as an effective complement to in-situ conservation, helping to protect and restore many species of endangered wildlife.


Third, improving biosecurity governance. China has included biosecurity in the national security system. The Biosecurity Law was promulgated and came into force in 2021. Systematic planning has been carried out for biosecurity risk control and governance. Efforts have been made to improve the mechanism for preventing invasive alien species, promote the sound development of biotechnologies, and strengthen the protection, supervision and regulation of biogenetic resources. The aim is to constantly improve national biosecurity governance.


Fourth, improving the eco-environment. China has launched a series of projects for the integrated conservation and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, grasslands, deserts, glaciers and snow mountains. As a result, ecological deterioration has been contained, and ecosystems are generally stable, with a greater capacity to serve development. China has been fighting a tough battle against pollution; the pressure on biodiversity conservation has been greatly eased, the eco-environment continues to improve, and a framework of "shields" for ecological security has been largely completed.


Fifth, promoting green development with coordinated efforts. China endeavors to advance social and economic development within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. Measures have been taken to transform the economic growth model, encourage green and low-carbon ways of life, and coordinate efforts in biodiversity conservation and high-quality development. We have accelerated the green transformation of all sectors and industries, promoted green urban and rural development, and explored methods to realize the market value of green products.


Sixth, improving relevant policies, laws and regulations. Biodiversity conservation has been elevated to a national strategy in China, and incorporated into mid- and long-term plans of all regions and fields. We have strengthened organization and leadership. There has been a drive to improve the legal and policy framework. China has promulgated and revised more than 20 laws and regulations related to biodiversity conservation, including laws on the protection of wild animals and the environment. China has also revised the list of key wild animals under state protection.


Seventh, extending guarantees. China has organized nationwide biodiversity surveys, and put in place sound biodiversity monitoring and observation networks. It has increased financial input and effort in technology research and development and launched major biodiversity conservation projects.


Eighth, strengthening law enforcement and supervision. China has conducted central environmental protection inspections, and launched special law enforcement campaigns including the Green Shield inspections of nature reserves, the Blue Sea initiative for marine environmental protection and the crackdown on illegal wildlife trade. China has always been tough against illegal and criminal activities related to biodiversity with constantly increased efforts.


Ninth, encouraging public engagement. China continues to strengthen publicity and education on biodiversity conservation. An action system involving stronger government guidance, corporate action and extensive public participation is taking shape. Public participation in biodiversity conservation has grown and become more diversified.


Tenth, further global cooperation on biodiversity conservation. China has actively implemented international conventions and worked to enhance synergies among biodiversity-related conventions. China has firmly practiced multilateralism and actively carried out international cooperation. It has provided help and support to other developing countries within its abilities regarding biodiversity conservation, and is striving to build a shared future for all life on Earth.


Going forward, we will make systematic plans and continue our efforts. As for policies, laws and regulations, we will revise the China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2030) to improve relevant policies and systems. We will push forward the formulating and revising of biodiversity-related laws and regulations to improve the legal system. As for measures, we will formulate and implement the Ten-Year Plan of Major Biodiversity Conservation Projects (2021-2030), promote background surveys of the priority areas in biodiversity conservation, and improve observation networks. Monitoring data and information platforms on biodiversity conservation will be improved and capacity for biodiversity protection and governance will be enhanced in an all-round manner.


Thank you.


Beijing Youth Daily:


According to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) released in September 2020, progress on the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets set in 2010 was insufficient. What were the main reasons for that? How well did China meet the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets? What were the achievements and shortcomings?


Zhao Yingmin:


Thank you for your questions. At the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010, the international community adopted the global biodiversity conservation targets for the 2011-2020 period to deal with severe biodiversity loss. According to the GBO-5 released by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in September 2020, although most parties actively formulated their own national policies and targets to protect biodiversity, and made significant progress in the mainstreaming of biodiversity, the Aichi Targets were not sufficiently met around the globe. The trend of biodiversity loss is not being reversed fundamentally and the pressure on biodiversity is still increasing. Looking back, there are several experiences and lessons that we should learn.


First, global targets should be both ambitious and practical and feasible. Second, implementation mechanisms and supportive conditions should be improved. Special importance should be attached to the needs of developing countries in capital, technologies and talents. Third, all parties should further emphasize biodiversity conservation and take greater measures to ensure it.


The upcoming COP15 will discuss the "Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework," review the progress and lessons learned from the previous global biodiversity targets of the past decade, and find opportunities for future transformations and reforms. Therefore, when discussing the new targets and strategies, we should fully reflect on the lessons of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2021-2020). We must also boost confidence in protecting global biodiversity, take solid steps and seek truth from facts, take full consideration of the attainability and operation of the targets as well as the differences in each country's development, so as to introduce both ambitious and pragmatic targets and indicators for biodiversity protection and propose feasible roadmaps for meeting them. The framework should also follow the principle of fairness, transparency and signatory leadership; improve the implementation mechanisms and guarantee system; strengthen technological transfer and capacity building; improve developing countries' abilities to meet the agreement; and strive to build a global biodiversity governance system that is both fair and practical and based on cooperation and win-win resolution. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic teaches us a lesson that people and nature form a shared community. The international community should step up cooperation to meet the risks and challenges caused by the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of the ecosystem.


As one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world, China has earnestly implemented the Aichi targets, clarified various tasks and responsibilities, and achieved positive results in the implementation of the targets. Among the 20 targets, China has over-fulfilled three, made major progress in 13 and achieved phased results in four. China's overall implementation of the Aichi targets is above the global average.


The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) have mentioned China's valuable experience in biodiversity conservation multiple times. Next, we will further strengthen the top-level design of biodiversity conservation. We will improve the construction of laws, regulations and the policy planning system. We will also continue to implement major biodiversity conservation projects, improve the early warning and monitoring system of alien invasive species, promote the implementation of various biodiversity conservation responsibilities through the central supervision system for ecological environment protection, and improve the ability of biodiversity governance in an all-round way. Thank you.


China Natural Resources News:


Ecological restoration is an important means to protect and improve biodiversity. What has the Ministry of Natural Resources done to fulfill its responsibility to restore the ecology of our national territorial space? Are there any future plans? Thank you.


Zhang Zhanhai:


Thanks for your question. Since its founding, the ministry has been earnestly implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, following the principles of prioritizing resource conservation and environmental protection and promoting the self-restoration of nature. It is strengthening the ecological restoration of the national territorial space, and has put ecological restoration and the protection and improvement of biodiversity as its major goals. The work we have done can be separated into the following two aspects.


First, we have prioritized biodiversity conservation in related plans. In 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources published the Master Plan for Major National Ecological System Protection and Restoration Projects (2021-2035), with a major focus on the construction of national parks, natural reserves, natural parks as well as the protection of endangered wildlife. The plan laid out 9 major projects and 47 specific tasks, including 23 that are related to biodiversity conservation, taking into account the integrity of the ecosystem, the continuity of geographical units and the sustainability of socioeconomic development. It provides a major guarantee for biodiversity conservation and the protection and restoration of the major ecological system.


Second, we have implemented a series of major ecological protection and restoration projects. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), the central government invested 50 billion yuan (US$7.75 billion) in the land area to carry out 25 pilot projects for ecological protection and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, lakes and grasslands in key national ecological function areas such as Qilian Mountains, Helan Mountain, Changbai Mountain and Lesser Khingan Mountains. In the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Yellow River Basin, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Fenwei Plain and other important river basins and regions, we have carried out restoration of abandoned mines left over from history, with the restoration area totaling 4 million mu (266,667 hectares). In the coastal areas, we carried out the "Blue Bay" project, the coastal zone protection and restoration project, and the mangrove protection and restoration project. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), a total of 1,200 kilometers of coastal lines and 345,000 mu of coastal wetland were restored. This year, as part of the 14th Five-Year Plan, we have launched the first batch of 10 integrated protection and restoration projects for mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts, as well as 15 marine ecological restoration projects.


Next, my ministry will take the implementation of the master plan as the main line and aim to comprehensively improve the quality of the national ecological security barrier and the virtuous circle of the ecosystem. We will carry out ecological protection and restoration work in the protective barriers for eco-security in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the important ecological areas along the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, the northeast forest belts, the sand control belts in the north, the hilly and mountainous areas in the south, and the coastal zones. We will carry out these projects in a scientific manner, build a stronger defense for ecological security and further contribute to the protection and improvement of China's biodiversity.


Thank you.


China Daily:


The National Forestry and Grassland Administration is one of the main departments responsible for conserving biodiversity. What efforts have you made to this end? And what progress has been made? Thank you.


Li Chunliang:


Thank you for your questions. The release of the white paper reflects the efforts and achievements China has made in biodiversity conservation over the years. The forestry and grassland sector is one of the main departments responsible for biodiversity conservation. I will brief you on the work we have done in protecting ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic resource diversity.


First, regarding the protection of ecosystem diversity, we have intensified efforts in improving the ecosystems of forests, grasslands, wetlands and deserts. As for forest ecosystems, we have focused on conservation and restoration and launched many projects including large-scale afforestation, protection of natural forests and turning marginal farmland into forests. As a result, the natural forest reserve has registered a significant increase, with 78% of total forest carbon storage coming from natural forests. China's forest coverage and forest reserve have both maintained growth for the last 30 years, and the forest ecosystem has a greater capacity to serve development.


As for grassland ecosystems, we have made solid progress in the conservation and restoration of grasslands by turning grazing lands to grasslands and subsidizing the restoration of grassland eco-environments. In 2020, the vegetation coverage of China's grasslands stood at more than 56%, and the grass continued to improve.


As for wetland ecosystems, during the 13th Five-year Plan period, we have implemented 53 wetland conservation and restoration programs as well as more than 2,000 programs including those that compensate for economic disadvantages associated with reducing damage to wetland eco-environments, and those that provide allowances for turning farmlands into wetlands, with 201 new national wetland parks and an increase of wetlands by 3.04 million mu (202,667 hectares). A total of 7.01 million mu of degraded wetlands have been restored, and more than 50% of wetlands have been protected. The wetland ecosystem continues to improve, with water quality improvements and the number of migratory bird populations picking up significantly.


As for desert ecosystems, we have implemented key projects with continual efforts to develop the Three-North (i.e., Northeast China, North China and Northwest China) Shelterbelt Forest Program for 43 years, facilitating sandstorm source control in Beijing and Tianjin for 21 years, and controlling stony desertification for 15 years. Moreover, we have mapped out protected regions for desertification lands and developed more national desert (stony desert) parks. China has been consolidating progress step by step to curb the global major ecological issue of desertification. Studies have shown that China's sandy lands have changed from an annual average expansion of 3,436 square kilometers at the end of the last century to a current annual average decrease of 1,980 square kilometers, creating a human miracle of turning desert into oasis and transforming wastelands into forests, all while advancing China's solutions for global ecological governance.


Second, regarding species diversity conservation, we have initialed since 2001 projects for wild animal and plant conservation and constructed nature reserves , and put 15 rare and endangered species of wild animals and plants including giant pandas, Manchurian tigers, golden monkeys, red ibises and cycads under conservation. Rescue measures have been adopted to establish nearly 10,000 nature reserves nationwide, accounting for roughly 18% of China's lands. A total of 90% of land ecosystems, 65% of higher plant communities, and 71% of wildlife species under state conservation have been protected. Conservation of flagship species has shown umbrella effects, benefiting other species in the same habitat. The number of species under state conservation continued to increase. China has rebuilt the wild population of the elk, Przewalski's horse and crested ibis, once nowhere to be found in the wild, winning global attention.


Third, regarding the preservation of genetic resources diversity, we have made the following efforts to promote the genetic resource preservation of wild plants. We have begun constructing a botanical garden system. A total of 162 botanical gardens have been established to collect and preserve more than 20,000 wild plants. China has completed basic preservation of germplasm resources of rare and wild plants including cycad, palm, and key orchidaceae and magnoliaceae plants native to the country. We have launched the construction of germplasm resources for trees. China has established 161 state-level germplasm resource in-situ and ex-situ banks for trees, and two state-level germplasm resource sub-centers for trees and grass in Xinjiang and Shandong, preserving more than 100,000 copies of germplasm resources for trees. We have launched the construction of germplasm resource centers for grass. China has set up one germplasm center for grass and 11 state-level germplasm resource gardens for grass, preserving more than 60,000 germplasm resources of grass, mainly herbage.


Regarding wildlife genetic resource preservation, we have set up and improved wildlife rescue and breeding centers and germplasm genetic banks, supported the establishment of a national center for genetic conservation of endangered wildlife, a feline research center, and an Asian elephant conservation and research center, collecting and preserving a total of 220,000 genome-wide DNA samples of more than 800 species of China's rare and endangered wildlife.


Over the years, we have made remarkable progress in preserving forest and grass biodiversity. We will continue to work on natural ecosystem conservation, endangered species rescue and breeding, and genetic resource collection and preservation, making more contributions to biodiversity conservation at home and abroad. Thank you.


Phoenix TV:


We have noticed that according to some research, global biodiversity is dramatically decreasing. What experience can China, as one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, offer to others?


Zhao Yingmin:


Thank you for your question. All of the world's countries and all human beings are a community with a shared future and share in the challenges brought by the loss of biodiversity. China, as an important force in biodiversity conservation, has always pursued harmony between humanity and nature, constantly strengthening and creating biodiversity conservation measures. It has also yielded outstanding achievements while maintaining fast economic development. The experience we accumulated can be condensed into the following four aspects:


First: respecting nature and prioritizing biodiversity conservation. Following the principles of respecting and protecting nature and obeying nature's laws, China has built a nature reserves system centering on national parks and put forward "the ecological red-line" system by identifying the country's crucial ecological zones, thus playing an important role in protecting key ecosystems, species, and their habitats. A large number of ecological projects have also been launched, such as step-by-step protection and restoration of natural forests, and programs turning marginal farmland back into forests or grasslands or wetlands. China has advanced pilot projects for the conservation and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, grasslands, deserts, and ice ecosystems, effectively restored the environment of the wild plants and animals in crucial areas, and increased the number of the species of wild animals. China has been fighting a tough battle of pollution prevention and control; the eco-environment has improved notably and the pressure on biodiversity conservation has been eased.


Second, seeking green development and sustainable utilization of bio-resources. China has promoted green, low-carbon ways of life and work

so as to ease the burden on biodiversity. China has integrated biodiversity conservation with development-oriented poverty alleviation and rural revitalization based on different local characteristics and traditional cultural features and exploited new ways to achieve win-win results in both biodiversity conservation and high-quality development. Cherishing the principle that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets," China has also launched a pilot innovation-based construction site and base site for realizing eco-products values and turned ecological strengths into high-quality social-economic driving forces of development, thus fueling the motivation of biodiversity conservation throughout the country.


Third, enhancing institutional guarantee and coordinating actions for biodiversity conservation. By implementing the new development philosophy, China has strengthened biodiversity conservation as a national strategy, improved laws, regulations, and policies to provide institutional guarantee for biodiversity protection and management. China has ramped up biodiversity conservation through top-level design. It has been included in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Social and Economic Development. The China Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2030) has been adopted as a guideline for mid- and long-term work. Biodiversity conservation tasks are incorporated into mid- and long-term plans of all regions and fields across China.


Fourth, upholding multilateralism and win-win cooperation. China firmly supports a multilateral biodiversity governance system, actively participates in its process, and fulfills its obligations prescribed in the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relating treaties. China has been providing assistance within its ability to other developing countries through many bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms, such as the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition and South-South cooperation, thus deepening international exchanges and cooperation on biodiversity and contributing China's strengths and proposals to the great vision of achieving harmony between humanity and nature.


Thank you!


Cover News:


We have noticed that a territorial space plan on "rolling separate plans into one single plan" is currently being formulated. In some cities there are also teams dedicated to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. How will the territorial space plan play a role in the biodiversity conservation process? What practical experience does China have at this moment? Thank you!


Zhang Zhanhai:


Thank you for your questions. In line with the reform arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the formulation of different kinds of territorial space plans is being accelerated at all levels. Biodiversity conservation is a particularly important field, and relevant regulations and policies are being discussed and proposed.


First, optimizing the layout of ecological space in territorial planning. We will make overall plans for ecological, agricultural and urban spaces, and protect biodiversity on three levels: ecosystems, species and genes. Through in-situ and ex-situ conservation, we will strengthen the protection of global and national key biodiversity areas, develop global migration routes for migratory birds and rare wildlife, improve the systems of species' ex-situ conservation and genes preservation, and build a global biodiversity protection network. We will build the protected areas system, which includes dozens of national parks, 1,000-plus natural reserves and thousands of natural parks, to effectively protect important natural ecosystems and biodiversity-rich areas. Efforts will also be made to strengthen the protection and construction of urban ecological systems, promote the formation of a continuous, complete and systematic ecological protection pattern, and promote the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. For example, Shanghai has constructed 21 parks at key ecological points on its outskirts, and Chengdu and other cities are transforming themselves into green cities, in order to form an urban layout that strikes a harmonious balance between humanity and nature.


Second, setting ecological conservation red lines (ECRLs) in territorial planning. China has established three control lines in order of priority: boundary lines for permanent basic cropland, ECRLs and boundary lines for urban development. The ECRLs include essential ecological functional areas, natural reserves, the most ecologically fragile regions, and areas with a potentially important ecological value, where stringent measures are applied to control their utilization. For example, Nanchang and other cities set up multidisciplinary teams to research the migration patterns of birds around the Poyang Lake and included the areas that migratory birds fly over into the ECRLs for strict control. At present, the ECRLs initially mapped in China have covered various important ecosystems and bring most of the rare and endangered species and their habitats under protection.


Third, accelerating the building of a basic information platform for territorial space and an implementation and supervision information system for "one-map" territorial planning. Biodiversity conservation is regarded as an important part of the implementation and supervision. We will comply with the requirements of "unified base map, unified standard, unified planning and unified platform" to build a unified basic information platform for territorial space and draw a unified map for territorial planning. Efforts will be made to plan for complete life cycles while conducting periodic surveys and assessments of how plans are being implemented, and include local indicator species and other indexes into the implementation assessment system. We will also improve the long-term monitoring and early warning mechanism for the carrying capacity of resources and the environment, and strengthen the monitoring and early warning of indicators related to biodiversity conservation, so as to constantly refine plans and policies, and boost biodiversity conservation. Thank you.


Red Star News:


Recently, the proper response to a herd of wild Asian elephants roaming northward reflects the overall improvements of China's ecosystem and the remarkable achievements in ecological conservation. Wildlife protection requires long-term efforts. Could you give us more details on the work you have done in this regard during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period? What achievements have you made? What are your plans for the future? Thank you.


Li Chunliang:


Thank you for your concern about wildlife protection, which is of great concern to all sectors of society. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have paid close attention to wildlife conservation. General Secretary Xi Jinping has given many important instructions on the issue, and showed great concerns and personal commitment to its development. We have carried out our work in the following six areas.


First, we have promoted law-based administration and continuously improved legislation, regulations and related support systems. China has revised the Law on the Protection of Wildlife twice, and systematically adjusted the list of key wild animals under state protection. On Feb. 1 this year, the State Council announced a revised version of the list. The new list includes 980 species and eight categories of wild animals, among which 686 are terrestrial wildlife with 189 under first-level and 497 under second-level protection.


Second, we have carried out the second national survey on terrestrial wildlife, and have made plans to gradually achieve real-time monitoring for key species, including the Siberian tiger, the Amur leopard and the Asian elephant.


Third, we have protected critically endangered wildlife to prevent them from going extinct. We made advances in artificial breeding technologies, released several species into the wild, and restored and reconstructed the wild populations.


Fourth, we have taken firm actions against illegal trade. Under the principle of "prioritizing conservation, standardizing utilization and strict supervision," the Chinese government has fulfilled its responsibilities, acted proactively, and constantly strengthened law enforcement. The National Forestry and Grassland Administration has worked with 27 other central and state departments to set up a ministerial joint meeting for cracking down on illegal wildlife trade. We organized nationwide actions against illegal hunting, utilization and online trading of rare and endangered wild animals. Recently, we deployed special measures to protect migratory birds in spring and autumn, eradicate criminal gangs, cut off illegal trade chains, and effectively curb the high frequency of crimes against wildlife resources.


Fifth, we initially established and improved a monitoring and control system for epidemic diseases within wild animal communities, and have effectively prevented and controlled epidemic spread.


Six, we have actively participated in international compliance affairs, strengthened international cooperation, promoted cross-border wildlife protection, fulfilled international obligations, and assisted other Asian and African countries with wildlife protection. China has become an important contributor to global ecological conservation. In particular, China has banned all activities related to using or trading tigers, rhinos, their products and ivories. It has also properly handled wild Asian elephants migrating northward. These actions have demonstrated China's image as a responsible major country.


I would like to share some statistics with you, which can also be found in the white paper. Generally speaking, the above-mentioned measures have basically reversed the loss of endangered wild animals, including giant pandas, crested ibises, Asian elephants and Tibetan antelopes. Their numbers are now on the rise. Specifically, the population of giant pandas in the wild has grown from 1,114 in the 1980s to 1,864 at present. The Asian elephant population in the wild has grown from 180 in 1985 to about 300 today. The Tibetan antelope population has grown from 60,000 to 70,000 in the late 1990s to 300,000 now. I visited the Qiangtang National Nature Reserve in Tibet last month, where I was delighted to see large herds of Tibetan antelopes, Tibetan gazelles, Tibetan wild donkeys, and blue sheep. In addition, the wild population of the Hainan Gibbon has increased from no more than 10 in two groups 40 years ago to 35 in 5 groups. The crested ibis population has increased from only 7 in 1981, when it was first discovered, to over 5,000 at present, when both wild species and artificial breeds are counted. The number of white cranes has climbed from 210 in the early 1980s to more than 4,500 today. The population of black-faced spoonbill has grown from more than 1,000 in the early 2000s to more than 4,000 now. China has rebuilt the wild population of the Przewalski's horse and elk, which were extinct in the wild. We have also released a large group of wild animals, such as giant pandas, crested ibises, Chinese alligators, forest musk deer, Elliot's pheasants, and Francois' leaf monkeys.


In the next step, we will continue to implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, rescue rare and endangered wildlife in order, and improve the system for biodiversity conservation. We will tighten import and export management and law enforcement, strengthen the monitoring, early warning, prevention, and control of epidemic diseases, and take stricter control measures over invasive alien species. We will actively provide guidance and adopt regulatory measures in handling conflicts between humans and wild animals, and preserve biodiversity and biosafety to make new advances in wildlife protection and achieve harmonious coexistence between humanity and wild animals.


Chen Wenjun:


The last question, please.


China News Service:


While the government plays a leading role in biodiversity protection, the public have also been a big part in this endeavor. What measures have been taken to raise public awareness of biodiversity conservation and encourage their engagement? Thank you.


Zhao Yingmin:


Thank you for your question. Biodiversity is closely related to everyone, as it sustains human life and provides essential material foundation for us to survive and thrive. Statistics show that more than half of the global GDP is moderately or highly dependent on natural resources. Facing global biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, China values harmony between man and nature, prioritizes ecological protection and green development, and has built a government-led mechanism featuring public participation, multilateral governance, and win-win cooperation. To facilitate the broad participation of all sectors of society in biodiversity protection, we promulgated the code of conduct for Chinese citizens in ecological protection (trial) and the guidelines for promoting public participation in environmental protection, organized a series of events under the framework of "United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, China in Action," and vigorously publicized the ideas, laws, regulations, and measures related to biodiversity conservation. On important occasions such as the International Day for Biological Diversity, World Environment Day, and World Earth Day, we publicized the importance of biodiversity conservation, the outcomes, and ways of participation. We also provided guidance for local departments to hold a series of publicity, education, and science popularization activities. At the same time, we actively cooperated with news organizations to expand publicity platforms and innovate publicity models with the help of new media.


Enterprises and social organizations are also important forces for biodiversity conservation. More and more organizations are playing their part in promoting publicity and education on biodiversity conservation. Through entertaining and innovative products and activities, they are helping the public gain more knowledge about biodiversity conservation and facilitate broader participation.


Everyone can contribute to biodiversity conservation by taking specific and practical actions in our daily lives. These include living a green and low-carbon lifestyle, carrying out the "Clear Your Plate" campaign against wasting food, buying environmentally friendly clothing, refusing to purchase and eat wild animals and their products, and jointly preventing the invasion of alien species. The popularization and application of new media, AI, smart phones, and high-quality online databases has increasingly diversified the forms of public participation in biodiversity conservation. On the occasion of the upcoming COP15 meeting, we encourage public engagement in biodiversity conservation. You can make contributions in various forms, such as participating in relevant projects and sharing knowledge about biodiversity conservation with your family and friends. No matter how big or small, every contribution counts tremendously, and together they will make a huge difference. Thank you.


Chen Wenjun:


Today's press conference is hereby concluded. Thank you. Goodbye!

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