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President Hu: China to increase forest area by 40 mln hectares


08:28, September 07, 2011

Chinese President Hu Jintao addresses the opening ceremony of the First Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 6, 2011. (Xinhua)

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- China aims to increase its total area of forest by 40 million hectares in the next decade, as compared with that in 2005, President Hu Jintao said Tuesday.

Hu said China will continue to accelerate the pace of forestry development. It is working to increase the country's total forest inventory by 1.3 billion cubic meters from 2005 to 2020.

Hu made the remarks at the first APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry held Tuesday morning in Beijing.

Representatives from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and other international organizations attended the meeting.

"China is ready to make new contributions to green growth and sustainable growth," Hu said in a speech at the opening ceremony.

In 2007, the APEC leaders set a goal of securing a net growth of 20 million hectares in the region's forest area by 2020. They reaffirmed the aim to advance rehabilitation and sustainable management of forests at the 2010 summit in Japan.

"Forestry cooperation in APEC enjoys huge potential and great prospect," Hu said, noting that the Asia-Pacific region has the richest and unique forest ecosystem in the world and accounts for more than half of the world's forest area.

Hu said China will continue to provide the developing members of APEC with assistance within its capacity through the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNET).

Hu put forward a three-point proposal on advancing forestry development and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Firstly, Hu said APEC members should strengthen forestry cooperation by integrating forestry development into the general plan of economic and social development. He called for APEC members to increase funding and technological input to upgrade the volume and quality of forest resources.

Secondly, Hu said APEC members should properly handle the relations between development, protection, industry and ecology while tapping various functions of forests. He emphasized the need to protect bio-diversity, increase carbon absorption by forest and safeguarding eco-security in the region and the world.

Thirdly, Hu said APEC members should deepen regional forestry cooperation. He called for APEC members to continue high-level dialogues on forestry, step up policy coordination and technological cooperation and eliminate green trade barriers.

China raised the proposal of holding the APEC meeting of ministers responsible for forestry at the 18th informal APEC leaders meeting in Yokohama, Japan last year. The proposal was embraced with enthusiasm by other APEC members.

The theme of the first APEC forestry ministerial meeting is "enhanced regional cooperation for green growth and sustainable forestry development."

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