Saihanba embodies efforts to improve environment, former UN official says
Saihanba, the world’s largest cultivated forest, was once again in the limelight when President Xi Jinping hailed it as a global history example of ecological progress during his recent inspection tour of Hebei Province.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remark in August during an inspection visit to the Saihanba Forest Farm, which has suffered a green miracle in the past six decades while ‘she had gone from a near-desert. to a sea of trees.
Monique Barbut, former executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said Saihanba’s miraculous transformation embodies the country’s efforts to improve the environment and protect its ecosystems. “It also revealed the central government’s determination to embrace the green development path,” Barbut said in a recent interview with China Daily.
Since 2012, the development of ecological civilization, a concept that aims to promote green development, has gained momentum as the idea that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets,” conceptualized by Xi , has taken root across the country.
Barbut said the theory fits “very well” with the idea behind conserving ecosystems, rehabilitating degraded lands to improve livelihoods and the environment, and neutralizing land degradation.
“We must never destroy nature (to) develop. If we do the right things, in the right places and on the right scale, we can live in harmony with nature while achieving remarkable growth,” he said. she declared.
The forest farm, located about 400 kilometers north of Beijing, covers about 70,000 hectares. In the 1950s, the area was a wasteland due to rampant logging, which caused the Chinese capital and adjacent areas to be frequently hit by sandstorms.
To stop the rapid desertification, a group of 369 foresters from 18 provinces was established in 1962. Through the continued efforts of generations of foresters from Saihanba, forest cover in the region increased from 11.4 percent in the early 1960s. at 80 percent today.
The forest also acts as an important environmental shield and a green lung for Beijing and neighboring regions.
Saihanba received a Champion of the Earth Award, the United Nations Environment Program’s highest honor, at the Third United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi in December 2017.
During his visit, Xi called for further progress in developing the green economy and ecological conservation and praised the spirit of the foresters, which is seen as an iconic example of the country’s efforts to advance ecological conservation.
He also spoke about the spirit of hard work that the foresters have shown in planting the forest, saying that it is part of the spirit of the Chinese Communist Party to strive for success.
In the report presented to the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, ecological development was included as a major task in the country’s overall plan, and building a “beautiful China” was proposed as a major goal for ecological progress. .
Eco-civilization was also included in the CPC Constitution as a principle of development during the meeting. It was the first time in the world that a ruling party emphasized green development in its guidelines.
By virtue of this principle, the country is now accelerating the establishment of a national land use planning system, with ecological protection being the priority of the three “red lines” which will guide construction.
Xi’s philosophy for green development is changing China.
China increased its forest cover area from 12 percent in the early 1980s to 23.04 percent in 2020, with a forest stock volume reaching 17.56 billion cubic meters, according to the National Forestry Administration and meadows.
Per capita green space in China’s urban areas averages 14.8 square meters, and 441 cities have joined a campaign to build national forest cities through multiple greening methods.
The country also launched its first pilot program to establish grassland nature parks last year, with 39 pilot projects covering a total of 147,000 hectares of grassland in 11 provinces and autonomous regions.
At a recent press conference, an administration official said vigorous measures would be taken by China’s forestry authorities, such as extending grasslands and forests, to meet the country’s climate commitment to achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
In the next five years, China’s forest cover will reach 24.1% and the volume of the country’s forest stocks will reach 19 billion cubic meters, according to Zhang Wei, director of the environmental protection and restoration department of the country. ‘administration.
“We will build a conservation system in nature reserves, protect various natural resources and maintain a firm attitude towards illegal activities that harm nature,” Zhang said.
Apart from this, the administration will also encourage carbon trading in the future and aim to create a platform for exchange, encouraging the participation of capital from non-governmental sectors, including businesses and social organizations.
“China has promoted its own approach to climate governance that emphasizes green recovery. The forestry department at all levels will play to our advantage and strengthen our green industries, thus further contributing to our commitment to climate change, ”said Li Chunliang, deputy director of administration.
Cao Desheng and Xinhua contributed to this story.
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