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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Attends and Addresses the On-line "International Legislators' Summit – Protecting Nature: The Road to Kunming" Hosted by the APPG on International Conservation

On 28 October, the on-line “International Legislators’ Summit – Protecting Nature: The Road to Kunming” was hosted by the APPG on International Conservation and presided over by its Chair Barry Gardiner, MP. Huang Runqiu, Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment, addressed the Summit via video. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming delivered a keynote speech entitled Write a New Chapter of Ecological Conservation and Build a Shared Future for All Life on Earth. The Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, conveyed the message from The Rt Hon Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP26 President. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Barbara Creecy, South African Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change, Lord Goldsmiths, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO of Global Environment Facility, and Henry Paulson, former US Secretary of the Treasury spoke at the event. The summit was also joined by Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Chris Grayling MP, former Secretary of State for Transport, Theodora Clark MP, Lord Randall, Stanley Johnson, father of PM Boris Johnson, former Member of the European Parliament and former Vice Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, and representatives of parliaments, environment protection organizations, and the media from South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.

In his speech, Minister Huang said, China places high priority on the advancement of ecological civilization and biodiversity conservation, and aims to develop a modernized country where people and nature live in harmony. Guided by President Xi Jinping’s Thought on ecological civilization, the Chinese government adheres to a holistic approach to protecting and restoring mountains, waters, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands. It has set and strictly enforced the ecological conservation red lines, established a system of national parks, and implemented an array of major ecological protection projects. Over the past decade, China has afforested a total of 70.39 million hectares of land and rehabilitated 17.76 million hectares of desert. Meanwhile, the ecological conservation red-line areas in China cover no less than 25% of the country’s land territory, providing effective protection for 90% of the types of terrestrial ecosystems and 85% of the population of key wild animal species.

Minister Huang emphasized that “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth” is the theme for Kunming COP15 next year and the shared aspiration of mankind for a better future as well. China is actively preparing for COP15, hoping to work with all parties to discuss the master plan for global biodiversity conservation, develop a comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and implementable Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and build a beautiful world where all creatures live in harmony.

As the UK will host COP26 toward the end of 2021, China stands ready to work together with the UK to make both COP15 and COP26 landmark conferences. At the UN Summit on Biodiversity on 30 September, President Xi Jinping extended an invitation for the whole world to come to COP15 in Kunming. “I look forward to seeing you in Kunming, the beautiful ‘Spring City’ next year,” said Minister Huang.

In his speech, Ambassador Liu said hosting COP15 and COP26 by China and the UK respectively in 2021 are big events not only for the two countries, but also for global governance on the environment

Ambassador Liu said, next year’s COP 15 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. China will display three determinations by hosting COP15. The first is to promote ecological conservation. 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. The second is to protect biodiversity. 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. The third is to take part and take the lead in global biodiversity governance. “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,” said the Ambassador.

Ambassador Liu emphasized that 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 both sides support and coordinate with each other to make COP15 and COP26 great success in three aspects. First, China and the UK should follow the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries and step up coordination and cooperation on hosting COP15 and COP26. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have reached important agreements on enhancing coordination and mutual support on COP15 and COP26. “Going forward, China and the UK should step up coordination and cooperation with regard to the policies and agenda of the two conferences,” added Ambassador Liu.

Second, China and the UK should deepen green cooperation and take the lead in global sustainable development. They can enhance practical cooperation and tap the potential for green cooperation in areas such as climate change, biodiversity protection, low-carbon economy, green finance, green technology and energy transition.

Third, China and the UK should uphold multilateralism and help build synergy among the parties for better governance on biodiversity. The two countries, by upholding the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, need to build a fair and reasonable multilateral system of environmental governance where the parties shoulder their due responsibilities.

In closing, Ambassador Liu said, “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 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!”

Secretary Sharma noted in his message that it is very important to address biodiversity and climate change in a mutually coordinated and meaningful manner. Making COP26 and COP15 successful is also vital for both the UK and China. The UK is ready to keep close cooperation with China to jointly tackle key global challenges.

Lord Goldsmiths said, as the president of COP26, the UK welcomes all countries to Glasgow and make contribution to global net zero emission. Leaders of the UK and China have explicitly stated that the two countries should make joint efforts to tackle the challenge of climate change. The UK welcomes China’s announcement at the UN not long ago of striving to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and scaling up its nationally determined contribution. As COP15 will set up the biodiversity goal for the next decade, he is delighted that the UK and China have reached consensus on coordinated collaboration to ensure the success of the two conferences. The UK stands ready to continuously enhance dialogue and cooperation with China in this respect.

Executive Secretary Maruma Mrema said, the world looks forward to China leading the right development path with long-term vision and science-led action, making COP15 a landmark event. The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework should play its leading role, echo with the UN’s multilateral goals such as The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and The Paris Agreement, and clearly guide the action of governments, companies and NGOs. COP15 and COP26 should form synergy to jointly strengthen world solidarity.

Minister Creecy said that how to strike a balance between global biodiversity protection and economic development is a difficult issue widely shared by developing countries. Particularly against the backdrop of COVID-19, the challenges that many African countries are facing with should not be ignored. She hoped that COP15 will push forward the three main objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity in a balanced manner, namely the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. She looked forward to new opportunities of sustainable development for African countries brought by the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Minister White noted that rainforest protection, while mitigating climate change, is also of positive significance in preserving biodiversity. Not only does rainforest absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide, it also contains an ecosystem with an extremely rich collection of biological species. He hoped that COP15 will promote rainforest protection, so as to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30% of land and ocean by 2030.

Mr. Rodriguez pointed out that COVID-19 has made mankind rethink its relationship with nature. To reach the goal of conserving at least 30% of land and ocean by 2030, all countries should adopt correct policies and strive to put 1% of global GDP into biodiversity protection by 2030.

Mr. Paulson said, governments should play a key role in formulating policies and setting up regulatory frameworks. Not only does biodiversity protection call for the involvement from environment and foreign affairs authorities, it also relies on the support from treasury authorities. COP15 to be held by China next year will be a crucial step in preventing global biodiversity loss. China will lead the world not only in green finance but also in biodiversity conservation.

At the summit, Ambassador Liu took questions on the system of ecological conservation red lines in China, cooperation on green BRI, protection of marine ecological environment, greater public awareness and participation in biodiversity protection, relationship between COP15 and COP26, and “nature-based solutions”.

Participants of the summit spoke positively of Minister Huang’s remarks and Ambassador Liu’s speech and Q&A, hailing China’s achievement in protecting biodiversity and its vigorous preparations for COP15. They hoped that China, the UK, and the rest of the world will step up cooperation to ensure the success of COP15 and COP26 so as to make contribution to the global environmental governance.

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