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China plays key role in tackling global biodiversity crisis, says expert

10-11-2021 10:12

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- China, with a long history of nature conservation, got a key role to play in helping tackle the global biodiversity crisis, which is equally on center stage with climate change, a U.S. expert has said.

"I think the ability of China to provide technical and financial assistance to the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework is going to be a big part of the success and their legacy of hosting the COP15," James Roth, senior vice president for global policy and government affairs at Conservation International (CI), a non-governmental organization, told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday.

Roth, who oversees the organization's U.S. government affairs and international policy teams, was referring to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), which will kick off in the city of Kunming in China's southwestern Yunnan Province on Monday.

"The kind of ambition that China has shown sort of comes to pass not only in China, but in other countries. So it's a lot of work to host one of these conferences and people expect you to come out and be a leader. It's a lot of responsibility. So far the announcements have been quite good," Roth said.

The COP15 includes two parts. The first part is a combination of interactive virtual and in-person setting that will take place on Oct. 11-15 both online and offline in Kunming.

The second part, to be held in-person in the first half of 2022, will see broad and deepened negotiations towards an ambitious and practical post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

A nature lover and a passionate environmental protectionist, Roth has been closely following China's efforts on promoting biodiversity.

"China has a long history of nature conservation, and it's very well recognized. The influence of China is so important globally and it's therefore encouraging to see the concepts that have worked well in China to (influence) other countries," he said.

The concept of "ecological civilization," Roth said, "really highlights in our view humanity living in harmony with nature."

To meet ecological civilization targets, China has drawn up ecological conservation red lines nationwide to identify the country's crucial ecological zones and enforce strict protection in those areas, he said.

"So when you talk about sort of what does 'Beautiful China' mean, in our mind, it's taking these sort of concrete actions and then turning them into protected areas that allow humanity and nature to live together in a mutually sustaining way," said Roth.

China's approach to ecological civilization is a "very useful model" for other countries, as they also try to figure out how they're going to reach their own biodiversity goals, he said.

"So I think China can serve as a very, very good example here," he added.

In addition, China's commitment to strive for the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 was also "a very, very good example," said Roth.

"We realized that there are already some plants under construction, but I think going forward, the fact that China will be turning to other sources of energy, it was very, very welcomed," he said.