China concludes its GEF/UNDP project on Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China
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Geetings Forum members:
We have just received a report on the final workshop wrapping-up the 10-year project on Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China. Funded by GEF through UNDP, and implemented by the State Forestry Administration of China (wherein sits the Ramsar Administrative Authority), this US$10 million project was concluded on the 3rd of June at Tianmu Lake, Jiangsu Province.
The report outlines the diverse outcomes of the project from practical, on-the-ground-achievements at four key demonstration sites, to significant achievements in the promulgation of regulations, rules and policies related to wetland conservation within the country to help mainstream wetland conservation efforts and govern it according to law.
During the course of the project, the number of Ramsar Sites at the four demonstration sites has increased from one to eight, and there have been considerable advances in terms of wetland management skills with over 5,000 persons, including officials from local, provincial and central governments and from relevant sectors, as well as staff from nature reserves, having participated in diverse training activities during the project.
The full report is available below and will eventually be made available from the Ramsar web site. The report was sent to us by Dr Yuan Jun, the National Project Coordinator, who would be happy to provide further information (email@example.com).
Sandra HAILS, Ramsar Secretariat
UNDP/GEF “Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China Project” Successfully Concluded
A workshop to wrap-up the project of Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China, funded by GEF through UNDP, and implemented by the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China, was held at Tianmu Lake, Jiangsu Province, on 3rd June, 2009, marking the successful conclusion of the project. Nearly sixty people participated in this meeting, including representatives from the Project Steering Committee member agencies the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environmental Protection, State Forestry Administration, State Oceanic Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences and UNDP, provincial forestry departments and nature reserves in Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Hunan, Sichuan and Gansu Provinces, Wetlands International, GEF Siberian Crane Project and EU-China Biodiversity Programme’s Anqing Wetlands Project.
In her Letter of Congratulations, Madam Yin Hong, the Vice Administrator of SFA, pointed out that “Wetland conservation in China was still in its infant stage, facing many challenges when the project was formally launched in 2000. The inception of this project had not only provided valuable funding for the wetland conservation efforts in the country, but also introduced the latest concepts, tools and best practices on wetland conservation and management from the international arena. The project had made positive contributions to wetland conservation undertakings in China.”
This is the largest international collaborative project on wetland conservation in China with a total donation of up to 12 million US dollars. The project undertook many activities with the joint effort of all the stakeholders at national, provincial and site levels, with significant outputs and outcomes achieved.
Directly or indirectly driven by the project, a total of 31 regulations, rules and policies related to wetland conservation have been promulgated at various levels in China, thus helping mainstream wetland conservation efforts and govern it according to law.
Inter-sectoral coordination mechanisms that involve the relevant sectors were established at various levels of the project, making it possible to conduct cross-sectoral coordination and collaboration on wetland conservation and management. The project has directly facilitated the Chinese and Russian nature reserves across the Amur and Ussuri rivers to sign cooperative agreements which are expected to produce positive, long-term impacts on the trans-boundary conservation of wetland resources in the region.
More than 5,000 persons, including officials from local, provincial and central governments and from relevant sectors, as well as staff from nature reserves, have participated in various training activities of the project, substantially improving their professional skills of wetland management, and enabling them to lead on wetland conservation efforts at various levels in China.
A total of 45 international consultants and 259 national consultants were recruited by the project. They produced 125 technical reports, including many original outcomes, which have provided and will continue to provide technical support for the governments and sectors at different levels on wetland-related planning, policy-making, and management. A total of 13 monographs, reference books and local textbooks have also been published by the project, which will have long-lasting impacts on wetland conservation efforts in China.
A total of 422 units of non-expendable equipment, with a total value of 2.27 million US dollars, have been procured by the project, to enhance the long-term roles of patrolling, publicity and education, scientific research and monitoring efforts related to wetland conservation. Two publicity and education centers on wetland biodiversity conservation have been built in Dafeng and Yancheng National Nature Reserves, and their impressive displays have become the focus for publicity and education on wetland conservation in Yancheng Coastal Marshes.
In the four demonstration project sites, the project has taken innovative steps to address key issues on wetland conservation and management. For instance in Heilongjiang Province, the Jiansanjiang State Farm Bureau has worked together with the Government of Fuyuan County to protect a river channel of Nongjiang River linking Honghe and Sanjiang NNRs by signing an agreement, thereby preventing this wetland corridor with significant conservation value from being converted into farmland. In addition, the wetland conservation and management models based on community participation, made available at different project sites, will continue to play their roles in their respective areas.
Another important result of the project is that the number of the Ramsar Site in the four project sites has been increased from one to eight during the project. In addition to the existing Ramsar Site at the start of the project, the East Dongting Lake Nature Reserve, there are now seven more Ramsar Sites, including, Honghe and Sanjaing Nature Reserves in Sanjiang Plain, Dafeng and Yancheng Nature Reserves in Yancheng Coastal Marshes, South and West Dongting Lake Nature Reserves in the Dongting Lake, and the Ruoergai Nature Reserve in Ruoergai Marshes.
Various forms of publicity campaigns on wetland conservation have been undertaken, thus greatly increasing the awareness of wetland conservation by the general public, in particular by the local people in and around the project sites. As a result, the significance of conserving wetlands has been deeply rooted in the minds of the local people, creating a more favorable environment for wetland conservation. Meanwhile, wetland conservation has attracted substantive attention from the local media which, along with other above-mentioned factors, has provided positive enabling conditions for wetland conservation and management efforts in the future.
Wetland-related information management systems, database and websites developed by the project have provided data support and promoted information exchanges on wetland conservation and management.
We are pleased to see that remarkable achievements have been made on wetland conservation in China in the process of the project implementation. In 2000, 17 ministries under the State Council jointly prepared and issued the China National Wetland Conservation Action Plan. In September 2003, the National Wetland Conservation Programme (2002-2030) was approved by the State Council. In June 2004, the General Office of the State Council issued a Circular on Strengthening Wetland Conservation and Management, requiring that wetland conservation be integrated into the agenda of governments at various levels. In 2005, the National Wetland Conservation Programme Implementation Plan (2005-2010) was approved by the State Council which included wetland conservation as one of the key areas of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. In April 2007, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Management Office of the People’s Republic of China was officially established in SFA. In August of the same year, the China National Commission on Implementing the Ramsar Convention, consisting of SFA as the leading agency, and 15 other agencies, was set up under the approval of the State Council. Over the recent years, the wetland conservation efforts across the country have also developed rapidly, supported by an increasingly effective system of wetland conservation measures developed by, or in conjunction with, this project. The key programmes on wetland conservation are being steadily implemented; capacity building for the wetland conservation and management are being enhanced, and public awareness on wetland conservation is being further increased. As a result, the achievements of the Chinese government on wetland conservation have been widely acclaimed by the international community. These include the prize “Gift to the Earth” by WWF in 2002, the prize “Global Recognition for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use” by Wetlands International in 2004, among others. In 2005, China was elected as the member of the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention, and was re-elected as the member at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Contracting Parties to the Convention held in 2008.
There is no doubt that all these achievements are not possible without the highly effective organization and coordination of the competent wetland management authority in SFA, the joint efforts of relevant sectors, the active participation by local and provincial governments, the participation of society at large, and the support of the international community. This has allowed the Project to significantly promote wetland conservation at the national level and in the five demonstration provinces (four project sites) and to make its contribution to the national wetland conservation efforts in China through a wide range of project activities, such as capacity building, policy and legislation assessment, information exchange, publicity and education, wetland resources survey, water resources management, wetland nature reserves and sustainable pasture management.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Ma Guangren, the Director General of the Office of Wetland Conservation and Management in SFA, said, “the UNDP/GEF China Wetlands Project will surely go down in the history of wetland conservation and management in China for its unprecedented long duration and wide variety of outcomes.”