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Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the "International Legislators' Summit – Protecting Nature: The Road to Kunming"Hosted by the APPG on International Conservation: Write a New Chapter of Ecological Conservation and Build a Shared Future for All Life on Earth

Chairman Gardiner,
Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema,
Minister Barbara Creecy,
Minister Lee White,
Lord Goldsmith,
Executive Secretary Carlos Manuel Roderiguez,
Parliamentarians from all countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a real delight to join you at the "International Legislators' Summit – Protecting Nature: The Road to Kunming" hosted by the APPG on International Conservation.

In 2021, China and the UK will host COP15 and COP26 respectively. These are two big events not only for China and the UK but also for global governance on the environment. Therefore, 2021 can well be called "a big year" for global governance on the environment.

Exactly 200 days from now, COP15 will be held in Kunming, known in China as the "City of Eternal Spring". It is highly significant and meaningful that we gather online today to "warm up" for this conference.

As we speak, Covid-19 is still ravaging the world, dealing a severe blow to the economic growth and social progress of mankind. Against this backdrop, protecting biodiversity becomes an increasingly prominent and important task. This is reflected in the following three aspects:

First, protecting biodiversity is the top priority of mankind.

As mass extinction of wildlife accelerates, the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of the ecosystem are posing major risks to the survival and development of mankind.

Second, protecting biodiversity is the inherent requirement of ecological conservation.

A sound ecosystem is essential to the prosperity of civilization. Biodiversity reflects the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Protecting biodiversity will help strike a balance between economic growth and ecological conservation. This will in turn form a virtuous cycle between conservation of nature and better life for man.

Third, protecting biodiversity requires countries of the world to uphold multilateralism.

Only in the spirit of multilateralism and only when every country does its best and work for mutual benefit can countries of the world enhance cooperation on biodiversity protection and promote sustainable development.

At the UN Summit on Biodiversity last month, President Xi Jinping said,

"We need to take up our lofty responsibility for the entire human civilization, and we need to respect Nature, follow its laws and protect it. We need to find a way for man and Nature to live in harmony, balance and coordinate economic development and ecological protection, and work together to build a prosperous, clean and beautiful world."

At COP15, the parties will focus on the theme of "Ecological Civilization - Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth" and strive to reach agreement on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. This conference provides a platform for the parties to take a historic step towards reversing the loss of biodiversity and write a splendid chapter of joint global efforts to protect biodiversity.

By hosting COP15, China will display three determinations:

First, the determination to promote ecological conservation.

China has made vigorous efforts to advocate and practice the concept of ecological conservation. We believe that clear water and green mountains worth more than mountains of gold and silver, and a sound ecosystem is in the interests of everyone. And we have championed international cooperation on ecological conservation in the world.

  •  China has written ecological conservation into its Constitution.
  •  It follows the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.
  •  It has made biodiversity protection part of its plans for economic and social development and ecological protection and rehabilitation.
  •  And it has worked vigorously to achieve modernization that ensures harmony between man and nature.

These efforts of China are in line with the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, namely,

  •  conservation of biodiversity;
  •  sustainable use of the components of biodiversity;
  •  and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

They also match the vision for 2050, namely "Living in Harmony with Nature", which was outlined in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity.

COP15 will be the first global conference of the United Nations that focuses on "ecological conservation". It will send a powerful message of building a shared future for all life on Earth and take global ecological conservation a step forward.

Second, the determination to protect biodiversity.

China has adopted vigorous and effective policies and measures in this aspect.

China is taking a holistic approach to conservation of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands and making coordinated efforts to advance biodiversity governance.

We have stepped up national legislation for preserving biodiversity, and we are drawing red lines for protecting the ecosystems. We have set up a national parks system, carried out major biodiversity conservation projects and increased public participation and awareness.

Over the past 10 years, China has increased forest coverage by more than 70 million hectares, which was more than anywhere else in the world.

We have also made long-term, large-scale efforts to combat sandification and desertification, and we have taken effective actions in wetland protection and restoration.

As a result of these efforts, China now has one of the world's largest banks of genetic resources reserve.

In China, 90 percent of terrestrial ecosystem types and 85 percent of key wild animal populations are under effective protection. 

COP15 will serve as an important platform for China to share its practice and experience in biodiversity protection with the rest of the world and for the parties to pull together in biodiversity protection.

Third, the determination to take part and take the lead in global biodiversity governance.

China is an important contracting party to and defender of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

  •  It was one of the first to sign and ratify the CBD. 
  •  It has fulfilled its obligations under the CBD and helped create synergy between the CBD and other international conventions on the environment.
  •  It has attained the goal of setting up nature reserves ahead of schedule.

Together with its partners, China has initiated the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition to step up protection of biodiversity and the ecosystem.

Under the framework of South-South cooperation, China has also made vigorous efforts to help other developing countries build up their capacity in managing the environment.

At COP15, the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be formulated, which will chart the course for global governance on biodiversity in the coming ten years and beyond.

China stands ready to work with all the parties at COP15 to promote the cause of post-2020 global governance on biodiversity.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The year 2021 will be critical for global governance on biodiversity. China and the UK are important partners in global governance on environment. There is enormous potential for China and the UK to cooperate and take action on biodiversity protection and climate change. It is important that we support and coordinate with each other to make COP15 and COP26 great success.

First, China and the UK should follow the strategic guidance of our leaders and step up coordination and cooperation on hosting COP15 and COP26.

Last month, at a high-level UN meeting in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, President Xi Jinping announced that China will

  •  scale up its nationally determined contributions,
  •  adopt even more forceful policies and measures,
  •  and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have reached important agreements on enhancing coordination and mutual support on COP15 and COP26.

In the video message just now, Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu emphasized the importance of China-UK cooperation.  

Going forward, China and the UK should step up coordination and cooperation with regard to the policies and agenda of the two conferences. We should promote Nature-Based Solutions and derive from them coordinated settlement for problems of climate change and biodiversity. And we should make the two conferences support each other and succeed together.

Second, China and the UK should deepen green cooperation and take the lead in global sustainable development.

China has issued and vigorously implemented its National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2030). It has been exploring ways to coordinate biodiversity protection and green development with better life for the people. And it has been championing low-carbon, circular and sustainable way of life and production.

The UK has issued the 25 Year Environment Plan to advocate sustainable development and restore biodiversity on land and in the ocean.

China and the UK can enhance dialogue, exchanges and business cooperation. We can tap the potential for green cooperation in areas such as climate change, biodiversity protection, low-carbon economy, green finance, green technology and energy transition. We can also step up tri-party cooperation in building the green Belt and Road.

Together, we can advance the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provide new impetus for global sustainable growth.

Third, China and the UK should uphold multilateralism and help build synergy among the parties for better governance on biodiversity.

Both China and the UK should uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits, and accommodate developing countries' concerns over funding, technology and capacity building. We need to build a fair and reasonable multilateral system of environmental governance where the parties shoulder their due responsibilities.

China stands ready to work with all the participating parties, including the UK, to conclude an ambitious and pragmatic Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 through an open, transparent and parties-driven process. Together we can draw a blueprint that is both grand and feasible, and we can open up broader prospects for global biodiversity protection in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The city of Kunming is known for its long history, splendid culture, pleasant weather and beautiful landscape.

At the UN Summit on Biodiversity, President Xi Jinping said, "I want to welcome you to Kunming, the beautiful 'City of Eternal Spring', next year, to discuss and draw up plans together for protecting global biodiversity and work in concert to build a beautiful world of harmony among all beings on the planet."

As the host and incoming president of COP15, China will exert every effort to get everything ready for the conference and make it a milestone in global governance on the environment.

I appreciate the enthusiasm and support of Chairman Gardiner and the APPG on International Conservation. I look forward to more ideas and suggestions from British parliamentarians and people of the world who support environmental actions on how to make COP15 and COP26 successful. I also want to listen to your thoughts on deepening China-UK cooperation on global governance on the environment.

Let's join hands to write a new chapter of ecological conservation and build a shared future for all life on Earth!

Thank you!

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