During global biodiversity talks at COP15 in Kunming, China, on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new international fund to support biodiversity protection in developing countries, and stronger protections within China’s national park system, which provides habitat for 30 percent of crucial wildlife species in China.
The following is a statement from Manish Bapna, president and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):
“The measures President Xi announced will make an important contribution to addressing the twin global crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. In establishing the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, and inviting other countries to contribute, China is taking a significant step toward strengthening protections for biodiversity, and all it supports, across the developing world. In-country, China is moving to safeguard critical habitats and species through its national park system, which NRDC has seen firsthand while helping to develop China’s Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park.
“Actions that protect nature are critical to achieve climate goals. Improving the health of forests, wetlands and other natural habitat strengthens their ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away in healthy soils. And it helps these natural systems build resilience against climate hazards and harm.
“To further advance natural solutions, China and the international community must work together to fully protect 30 percent of the world’s oceans and lands by 2030; ensure that soft commodities like soy products, beef, and pulp and paper are produced and procured in ways that are legal and sustainable; and make certain that people across the developing world have access to the finance and technology needed to protect their communities from the climate crisis and embrace a clean energy future.
“President Xi and leaders around the world have recognized that climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably linked. The future depends on tackling these challenges in tandem. As world leaders prepare to gather for international climate talks in Scotland next month, we hope the nations of the world will build on Monday’s progress and commit to taking the level of action needed to meet the scale of the challenge we all face, together.”