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China, Africa to build better future through green development

(People's Daily)    08:47, August 29, 2018

Comprehensive cooperation between China and Africa on green development has been carried out over the past 3 years regarding wildlife conservation, environmental treatment, meteorological monitoring, and low-carbon city planning, endowing new vitality to the continent of hope and prospect.

Being rich in wildlife resources, Africa is home to the largest number and most varieties of large wild animals, but at the same time a continent that has been long bothered by poaching.

Statistics show that over 1,000 wildlife rangers have sacrificed their lives in the combats with poachers during the past decade.

Under such circumstance, the first ever prize recognizing the endeavors of African wildlife rangers was established by a Chinese enterprise, as part of China’s efforts in the undertakings to protect the wildlife resources in Africa.

During the award ceremony of 2018 Paradise Foundation International Awards held in Cape Town, South Africa on August 7 this year, 50 front-line wildlife rangers from 17 African countries received prizes for outstanding service in protecting and conserving wildlife.

So far, China has signed cooperation agreements on wildlife conservation with some African countries including South Africa and Kenya.

China is playing a globally significant role in environmental protection, and the total ban on trading of ivory products imposed by Chinese government is a measure to combat poaching of African wild elephants from the source, said Eric Solheim, Under-Secretary-General of the UN.

Solheim, also the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, noted that Chinese companies are contributing to wildlife conservation with practical actions.

Fragile ecological environment is closely related to the poverty of some African countries. The African Union launched the “Great Green Wall” initiative in 2007, planning to create a 15-kilometer-wide and 7,600-kilometer-long forest belt stretching across West Africa and East Africa to prevent further expansion of the Sahara Desert.

In September 2017, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed an agreement with the organizer of the initiative, and carried out cooperation with countries such as Mauritania to participate in the construction of the green belt.

China is well-reputed for its remarkable achievements and substantial experiences gained in fighting desertification. Saihanba and Kubuqi deserts, which have been transformed from wilderness into oasis, are the best proof.

China’s desertification area is now reducing by an average of over 2,400 square kilometers annually, a drastic change when compared to the annual expansion of more than 10,000 square kilometers at the end of the 20th century.

With the ongoing cooperation between China and Africa in the construction of the “Great Green Wall”, China’s soil remediation technology, geographic information system, and remote sensing technology will all be well applied in combating desertification in Africa.

As a battle-hardened veteran in combating desertification, China will offer significant support to the construction of “Great Green Wall”, said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, executive secretary general of the program.

Besides wildlife conservation and anti-desertification, China is also helping improve soil and water quality of Africa through environment-friendly agricultural projects.

For instance, the training course on fungi-growing technology organized by China-Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center in the Southern province of Rwanda is well received by the local people.

The training, based on the local climate and environment conditions, not only helps the locals improve food safety and livelihood, but also lowers the dependence of fungi-growing on timbers and thus reduces the damage to local forestry and prevents water and soil losses.

Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, like many other big African cities, was once trapped by the expanding garbage as more and more people rushed into the cities.

Not long ago, the first waste-to-energy plant was completed by a Chinese construction enterprise in the city with a population of 4 million people. With a daily garbage disposal capacity of 1,400 tons and an annual power generation capacity of 185 GWh, the plant plays a crucial role in the city’s pollution treatment and has made itself a new name card of China regarding the promotion of green development in Africa.

The waste-to-energy plant is an important part of Ethiopia’s green energy strategy, said Azeb Asnake, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power, calling the plant a landmark project in Ethiopia and even Africa at large.

Since 2015, the renewable energy technology transfer project was implemented by China and Africa under the framework of South-South Cooperation. A number of demonstration projects including small-sized hydropower, solar energy, wind energy, methane, and clean stoves facilities have been launched in Africa.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke highly of China’s endeavors in solving the issue of power consumption in regions without access to electricity, saying that the renewable energy technology transfer project has set a model for innovation in South-South cooperation.

Ban added that the cooperation is exactly the positive action taken by China and African countries in realizing the goals defined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As an effort to realize the common goal of China and Africa to make economic progress without hurting the environment, an interim secretariat to manage the China-Africa environmental cooperation center was unveiled at the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya on August 17, 2018.

The center is expected to facilitate the green technology transfer between China and Africa, share China's experience in green development, and act as a platform for China-Africa exchanges.

Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, praised the center, saying it provides African countries and China with a platform for cooperation under the framework of South-South cooperation, and promotes joint efforts to tackle global environmental challenges. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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