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Ambassador Zhang Jun: China envisages a bright future of harmonious coexistence between man and nature

2020-09-30 22:59

This morning, the UN convened the Summit on Biodiversity, the first time in the history of the General Assembly. Heads of state and government gathered virtually for the summit, and President Xi Jinping addressed the opening ceremony.

Biodiversity conservation is closely linked with sustainable development and is a major challenge to the world. The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in Kunming, China in May 2021. The Summit on Biodiversity is the only thematic summit and the only summit in the development area in the current session of the UN General Assembly. This reflects the importance the international community places on biodiversity conservation and its significant role in promoting sustainable development. China envisages a bright future of harmonious coexistence between man and nature, which is vital for sustained human development.

Humankind, while achieving enormous progress of development, has extracted too much from nature, which is now taking its revenge and posing severe challenges to sustainable development. What does the home planet we want look like? How can human civilization live in harmony with nature?

These questions must be answered. China emphasizes the importance of respecting and protecting nature and following its laws, the necessity of a sound ecosystem for the prosperity of civilization, and the wisdom of nature-based solutions.

Man and nature are interdependent. Achieving balance between the two is key to combating climate change and COVID-19 and to protecting the environment and ecosystem. We need to adhere to ecological civilization, increase the drive for building a beautiful world, and find a way for man and nature to live in harmony.

China has been promoting the development of ecological civilization in the past years. Between 2009 and 2019, China topped the world in forest increase with a total of 70.39 million hectares of land afforested. New afforestation in China accounts for 25% of the world's total since 2000. Nowadays, China eliminates 2,424 km2 of desertified area on average every year, while in the late 1990s, desertified area in China expanded by 10,400 km2 per year. With strenuous efforts in the past three decades, China's Kubuqi Desert once known as a "death zone" has become an oasis.

China will continue to play its role as a responsible major country. During this year's general debate, world leaders have expressed grave concern over global challenges and called for solidarity and cooperation. China will adopt stronger policies and measures to peak its carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

China's experience in pursuing green development could provide a reference for other countries. We stress the need to promote green development, build back better and find development opportunities in preserving nature. China pursues innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, and follows a path of green, low-carbon and sustainable development. These efforts are consistent with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. People living in border and remote areas of China have managed to shake off poverty and live a better life through green development. In 2019, the share of non-fossil fuels in China' s primary energy consumption reached 15.3%; the installed renewable power capacity in China accounted for 30% of the world's total and 44% of the global growth; China' s electric vehicles account for over half of the world' s total. This shows that the goal of green development can be reached with strong commitment and hard work.

China's commitment to multilateralism gives a boost to confidence in international cooperation on environment governance. With unity, nothing is impossible. The world is filled with confusion and depression due to exacerbated climate change, continued spread of COVID-19, and global economic recession. As the world's second largest economy, China remains committed to promote reform, development and economic transformation and to make painstaking efforts to fulfill its responsibilities through concrete actions. This is in sharp contrast to some country's refusal to implement their international obligations.

COP15 themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth" will be held in Kunming, China' s Yunnan Province, in May 2021. The meeting will adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework and set global biodiversity targets for 2030. It will be a milestone for global biodiversity conservation.

As the host country of COP15, China is ready to share with all parties what it has been doing in biodiversity conservation, discuss and draw up plans for protecting global biodiversity, and work with all parties to build a beautiful world. Kunming is known as the "Spring City", and Yunnan Province is the most biologically diverse area in China. China warmly welcomes delegates from around the world to Kunming, Yunnan for COP15 in May 2021. We believe that COP15 will produce fruitful results for the global biodiversity conservation process.

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