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Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Xi launches $233m biodiversity fund
CAO DESHENG in Beijing and YANG WANLI in Kunming

President calls on intl community to facilitate global sustainable growth

President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for international solidarity and cooperation to build a community of all life on Earth, and he announced China's initiative to establish a fund to support developing countries in protecting biodiversity with an initial investment of 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million).

Xi made the statement in a keynote speech at the Leaders' Summit of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP 15, via video link in Beijing.

The phase-one meeting of COP 15 is being held in Kunming, Yunnan province, from Monday to Friday. It will work for the conclusion of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and identify targets and pathways for global biodiversity protection.

Addressing the summit, Xi called on the international community to make joint efforts to solve the problems brought by industrial development, and build a green, low-carbon and circular economic system to facilitate global sustainable development.

He underlined the need to make the global environmental governance system fairer and more equitable.

"We need to practice true multilateralism, and effectively honor and implement international rules, which are not to be exploited or discarded at one's own will," Xi said.

"The new environmental protection targets we set need to be ambitious on the one hand and pragmatic and balanced on the other."

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a shadow over global development and compounded challenges to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said that faced with the dual tasks of economic recovery and environmental protection, developing countries need help and support all the more.

He announced China's initiative to establish a Kunming Biodiversity Fund to support biodiversity protection in developing countries. China is taking the lead in investing 1.5 billion yuan, and is calling for and welcoming contributions from other parties to the fund, Xi said.

Saying that China has made remarkable progress in building an ecological civilization, Xi reiterated the country's commitment to implementing the new development philosophy, which emphasizes innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared growth, and building a beautiful China.

China is moving faster to establish a protected areas system with national parks as the mainstay in order to strengthen biodiversity protection, he said, adding that the protected land area is around 230,000 square kilometers and covers nearly 30 percent of the key terrestrial wildlife species found in China.

To achieve its targets for a carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, Xi said China will release implementation plans and supportive measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions in key sectors, and put in place a related policy framework.

"China will continue to readjust its industrial structure and energy mix, vigorously develop renewable energy, and make faster progress in planning and developing large wind power and photovoltaic bases in sandy areas, rocky areas and deserts," he said, adding that construction started recently of the first phase of projects with an installed capacity of approximately 100 million kilowatts.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders of countries including Russia, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica also addressed the summit via video link.

Guterres thanked China for hosting the UN meeting, and called for a global consensus on ending the biodiversity crisis that threatens the survival of humankind. "Ecosystem collapse could cost almost $3 trillion annually by 2030," he said, adding that its greatest impact would be on developing countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also called for closer international cooperation on preserving biodiversity and providing related support to developing countries.

This conference is a good illustration that the objectives of nature conservation cannot be met by any country individually, Putin said, adding that is a common task for all countries and for all humankind.

He expressed his appreciation to China for supporting efforts to enhance international cooperation on environmental matters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of the impact of the destruction of biodiversity on the environment, saying that Turkey is determined to preserve its rich biological diversity both on land and sea.

"We believe that the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which is based on minimizing biodiversity loss by 2030, will duly serve the purpose," he said, adding that he hopes "fair, equitable and conscientious" solutions will be found to all global challenges.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov said his country is open and ready for active international cooperation on biodiversity protection.

"Only by joint efforts could we preserve the biodiversity of our planet and achieve desirable sustainable development in harmony with the environment."

Xinhua contributed to this story.

China Daily