New red lines protecting biodiversity

In one of the country's latest efforts to conserve biodiversity, China has drawn red lines for ecosystem protection that encircle one-fourth of its land area, a leading environmental official said.

Huang Runqiu, minister of ecology and environment, also said the boundaries that cannot be crossed have covered all habitats for key species and areas critical for biodiversity conservation across the country.

"China has been enhancing ecosystem protection and restoration in a sustained manner," he said, addressing a Friday event to celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity, which this year falls on Saturday.

He said China has made great achievements in protecting endangered species. While 10 endangered animals have seen their population rise, the country has carried out successful artificial reproduction for at least 60 such animals.

China has also been forging ahead with biodiversity surveys and assessments. Investment from the central government into the issues has totaled almost 400 million yuan ($62 million), he continued.

As host of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, China will endeavor to contribute more wisdom and strength as it deepens participation in international cooperation on biodiversity conservation, he said.

Originally scheduled to be held in October last year in the Yunnan provincial capital Kunming, COP15 was first put off to May and then to Oct 11 to 24 due to safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is yet the latest sign of our broken relationship with nature," said Beate Trankmann, the resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China, addressing the event.

Trankmann called on the world to ramp up efforts to protect the planet by making full use of the opportunity of COP15.

She said around 1 million species around the globe are now threatened with extinction by 2050, a rate which is tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10 million years.

"But it's not too late to turn the tide," she stressed.

As the world enters the UN's Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), the COP15 will be critical to raise the level of ambition, expand commitments and take decisive action to protect our planet for future generations, she noted.

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