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COP 15 ideal chance to realize community of all life on Earth: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-10-12 20:50

Volunteers work at the media center of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP 15, in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province, Oct 12, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is accelerating the establishment of a system of protected areas that will eventually encompass all the areas of greatest importance to China's natural ecosystem.

This red-lining of the country's key biosystems lays a solid foundation for the country's protection of its rich biodiversity.

The system already covers 15 percent of the country's land area today, and shows how earnestly China is striving to fulfill its biodiversity conservation responsibilities. China is home to 10 percent of the world's plant species and 14 percent of its animal species.

Such efforts are crucial to protect the world's ecosystems, and all countries need to play their part as we have reached what UN biodiversity chief Elizabeth Maruma Mrema called "a moment of truth". But for many developing countries biodiversity conservation requires financial inputs that are beyond their capabilities.

In recognition of this, and as a practical move to provide assistance and spur others to lend a helping hand, President Xi Jinping in his keynote speech at the Leaders' Summit of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) on Tuesday, pledged 1.5 billion yuan ($230 million) to establish a fund to help those developing countries that are most in need of funding support to bolster their biodiversity conservation efforts.

The funding pledge is further evidence that China is not just paying lip service to addressing the biodiversity crisis.

Adopting a "1 + N" policy system, in which "1" is the guiding opinion from the top leadership and "N" is the detailed scheme for implementation at the appropriate level of action, China has initiated a series of measures in recent years to embed biodiversity protection into socioeconomic development.

For instance, every river, lake and other major natural water body in the country now has a river or lake chief, who is appointed by the relevant local government to take charge of and be accountable for environmental protection.

As President Xi said, "If we, humanity, do not fail nature, nature will not fail us." That is at the heart of China's holistic approach to conservation and development and its system of governance to protect its natural assets.

For as China is striving to demonstrate, realizing a green, low-carbon and circular economy, can translate ecological strengths into development strengths. Ecosystem conservation efforts are transformed into economic growth drivers and serve people's well-being.

This pursuit of an ecological civilization represents the development trend of civilizations. And the building of a community of all life on Earth is an obligation that cannot be shirked.

As such, as the parties at Kunming meeting work to draw up the framework for a new action plan for the next two decades, President Xi's speech was a call for more resolve and executive force to ensure that the new biodiversity conservation targets that are set are "ambitious on the one hand and pragmatic and balanced on the other".

COP 15 is arguably the last chance to turn the tide of biodiversity loss. As its host, China has done all it can to press home the urgency of action and lead the way. Now is time for other parties to step up to the plate as there is no time left for procrastination or words without deeds.

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