|Statement by Advisor of the Chinese Delegation Wang Qi under Item 53 (e): Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa|
The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Executive Secretary-of UNCCD for his report submitted under this item. We support the statement made by the representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
As a grave ecological problem on a global scale, desertification currently affects 2/3 of countries and regions of the world and is threatening the development, even the survival, of 1/5 of the world's total population. Combating desertification involves many important areas like improvement of ecology, poverty eradication and the realization of sustainable economic, social and ecological development. As such, it is both a long-term and arduous task facing the developing countries, and the common responsibility of the whole international community. Here, the Chinese delegation would like to stress the following two points, based on China's experience in this regard:
First, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa must be effectively implemented. The Convention is our guidance in combating desertification and one of the three important conventions on environment adopted within the framework of the 1992 UNCED. Financial and technological input is indispensable to the long and difficult endeavor of combating desertification. Many developing countries are hardest hit by desertification and are hampered by the serious lack of resources, technology and capacity. For years, the inadequacy of resources and unsatisfactory functioning of financing mechanisms have been besetting the implementation of the Convention. The international community should look at the problem of desertification from a global perspective, give it enough attention, and actively seek to establish mechanisms for technological transfer that are helpful to the implementation of the Convention and beneficial to all sides in order to provide financial assistance and technological support to the developing countries with a view to strengtheinging their capacity-building.
Secondly, combating desertification requires systemic participation. Various actors involved, like all levels of government, the private sector, NGOs and scientific research institutes, should fulfill their respective roles and responsibilities in this collective endeavor. Governments should formulate policies based on scientific evidences, promulgate relevant laws and establish practical plans of actions so as to provide strict supervision and policy guidance to the work of combating desertification. It is necessary to fully mobilize the initiative of the private sector, NGOs and scientific research institutes and give play to their advantages in financing and technological support.
China is among the countries most seriously affected by desertification, which has become a big constraint to our economic and social development. The Chinese government pays great attention to combating desertification and has taken a series of important measures to implement the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, which include implementing projects of ecological construction such as protection of natural forests, returning farmland to forest and imposing grazing ban. As a result of strenuous efforts, China has achieved success in the current stage of its work in combating desertification. We are beginning to curb the tendency of the continuous expansion of deserts and desertified land, which has resulted in our economic and social development and eco-environmental improvement.
Although China has achieved some results in its efforts of combating desertification, it is still faced with severe problems of desertification. Currently, China still has 2.636 million square kilometers of desertified land, which constitutes 27.5% of our total land space. The Chinese government will further intensify efforts of combating desertification, increase financial input in the prevention of desertification and ecological construction, focus on the integrated utilization of various means like science and technology, laws and regulations and policy measures, maintain the wide participation of the whole society and expand international cooperation in the field of combating desertification. The Chinese government will effectively increase the scale and quality of its efforts in combating desertification through integrated ways and means.
Over the years, China has accumulated some experience in combating desertification and has carried out extensive cooperation and exchanges with other countries to share its experience, learn from others, and bring into play our respective advantages. At present, China provides training in the relevant fields each year to large numbers of technicians from the developing countries. In May this year, China, together with the UNCCD Secretariat, Italy and Algeria, hosted the Beijing International Conference on Women and Desertification, which one of a series of activities marking the International Year of Deserts and Desertification. Representatives from more than 50 countries and relevant international organizations attended the conference to carry out discussions and exchanges on questions relating to combating desertification. China is ready to further strengthen international cooperation with all countries in the world and make its contribution to the cause of combating desertification.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.