As the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity kicked off on October 11, 2021 in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, China’s practice in biodiversity conservation is drawing a great deal of global attention.
On the sidelines of the COP 15, Dimitri de Boer, chief representative in China of ClientEarth -- a European NGO focusing on environmental law issues, accepted an interview of China Today and shared his views on China’s achievements in this field.
Dimitri de Boer, chief representative in China of ClientEarth. Photo by Zhou Lin
“I’m hopeful that China will make some very important commitments and announcements within this week,” said Dimitri, and then added, “My key role, actually, is to help the international community better understand China’s policies and commitments towards biodiversity.”
With the theme “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth,” the COP15 highlights ecological civilization, a philosophy which was proposed by China and supported by the global community. Dimitri pointed out that China’s efforts in biodiversity conservation have impressed him deeply.
“One of the most important parts is the drawing of ecological red lines,” said Dimitri, and then added that China has designated a lot of its land as nature reserves, which is extremely important. “China has already done a very good job at that, not just drawing the red lines, but much more importantly, protecting what’s within those lines. In some cases, it has also been able to restore nature.”
Another impressive practice in Dimitri’s view is China’s tackling of the illegal trade and smuggling of wildlife within China, and at the same time, preventing it from coming in from other countries around the world. “Illegal wildlife trade is terrible for biodiversity, and also for the communities. China has done an extremely good job during the last two years or so at cracking down on that. And that has to continue,” he pointed out.
In addition, Dimitri thought the Yangtze River Protection Law and the 10-year fishing ban in the Yangtze River are also quite remarkable moves China has taken. “It’s incredible! I’m so hopeful that after the 10-year fishing ban, we will see an incredible recovery of fish, and something very similar should happen in the oceans too.” He further indicated that not just China’s oceans, but actually oceans around the whole world are being over fished. Overfishing means that there is less fish for everybody. According to Dimitri, the best way to handle that is to really control the amount of fishing and to make marine protected areas. “This is something I hope China in the next year will actively start doing on a much greater scale,” he said with great anticipation.