Interview: China makes powerful, inspiring commitments to biodiversity conservation at COP15, says WWF Int'l chief

(Xinhua) 13:32, October 14, 2021

KUNMING, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- China has made concrete commitments to preserving biodiversity, including creating more protected areas and setting up a new fund, under the guidance of the concept of ecological civilization, said the chief of a global conservation organization.

The Chinese concept is "a vision that puts nature at the heart of our society, recognizing the value of nature from social, from economic, from cultural perspectives," Marco Lambertini, director-general of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

"Looking at nature effectively is the foundation for prosperous, equitable and safe society and safe future for humanity," Lambertini said via video link on the sidelines of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15.

At the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced an initiative to establish a biodiversity fund and take the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan (233 million U.S. dollars) to support biodiversity protection in developing countries.

He added that the country is moving faster to establish a protected areas system with national parks as the mainstay, and will release implementation plans for peaking carbon dioxide emissions in key areas and sectors.

"The statement was very welcome, very powerful and very inspiring," Lambertini said, noting that China's first set of new national parks covers an area almost equivalent to the whole of Britain.

As "such an important economy in the world and such an important part of commerce in the world," China's commitment to "greening trade and greening investment abroad is a super important contribution," he said.

COP15 kicked off in China's southwestern city of Kunming on Monday. Themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," it is the first global conference convened by the United Nations to highlight ecological civilization, a philosophy proposed by China.

"I think this concept, ecological civilization, is fundamental because it is deeper than sustainable development," Lambertini said.

"It's putting nature at the heart of our society as recognizing its value as a foundation for our economy, our health, our well-being of individuals. That's a really important and overarching principle and vision," he added.

Lambertini highlighted the importance of COP15 that brings countries around the world in "common direction and common effort" to reverse biodiversity loss.

"It's a super important conference to send a clear signal to the world, to the markets, to the economies that we have to change the course. We have to correct our course of development and economic growth," he said.

"We need to develop and particularly develop in a way that supports the least developed economies in the world, and do it in a way that does not affect the environment and destroy the environment as we have done until now," he added. 

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)


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