Xi Jinping made an important statement, promising to extend wetland conservation efforts beyond China borders. We hope that pledges made by Chinese leader mean that destruction of Rufiji River delta Ramsar wetlands in Tanzania and prevent damage to Khar Us Lake Ramsar site in Mongolia. Both wetlands are threatened by projects enabled by Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering companies and at least one of those fully depends on Chinese state bank. China‘s aspiration to take a lead in global wetland conservation should be supported by proper safeguards in implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative across the globe.
Protecting Wetlands for Our Future and Scaling up Wetlands Action Across the World
Address by H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China at the Opening Ceremony of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 5 November 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the government and people of China and also in my own name, I wish to extend hearty congratulations on the opening of this meeting.
Since ancient times, human beings have always preferred to live close to water bodies, and civilizations have taken shape near water bodies. There has been a close link between wetlands and how humans live and work. This meeting, themed “Wetlands Action for People and Nature,” will explore ways to further preserve and develop wetlands. It is a meeting of great significance. It gives us an opportunity to raise awareness, strengthen cooperation, and scale up wetlands action across the world.
— It is important that we build global consensus on prizing wetlands, show our respect for nature, minimize disruption and damage caused by human activities, and protect the ecological security of wetlands, in order to leave the beautiful wetlands to our future generations.
— It is important that we advance the global process on wetlands conservation, redouble efforts to preserve authenticity and integrity, include more important wetlands in nature reserves, improve cooperation mechanisms and platforms, and increase the coverage of wetlands of international importance.
— It is important that we enhance people’s well-being globally by leveraging the role of wetlands in promoting sustainable development, tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity, and delivering more benefits to people around the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Historic achievements have been made in wetlands conservation in China. We have increased the area of wetlands to 56.35 million hectares, put in place a protection system, and enacted a Wetlands Conservation Law. Wetlands have become an integral part of many Chinese cities like Wuhan, making the cities notably more livable. China will pursue a modernization of harmony between humanity and nature, and promote high-quality development in the wetlands conservation cause.
China has recently drawn up a layout plan of national parks. Under the plan, China will designate a number of national parks, accounting for about 10 percent of the country’s land area. About 11 million hectares of wetlands will be incorporated in the national park system, with a focus on developing wetland national parks including the Three-River-Source National Park, the Qinghai Lake National Park, the Ruoergai National Park, the Yellow River Estuary National Park, the Liao River Estuary National Park and the Songnen Plain Crane Homeland National Park. A national wetlands conservation plan and major conservation projects will be implemented. China will promote international exchanges and cooperation to protect the four bird migration routes passing China and to build an international mangrove center in Shenzhen. China supports the convening of a conference of the World Coastal Forum.
As a Chinese saying goes, “The journey ahead may be long and arduous, but with sustained actions, we will eventually reach our destination and embrace a brighter future.” Let us join hands to write a new chapter in global wetlands conservation. Thank you.