Guangzhou Haizu National Wetland Park was the venue for one among many World Wetlands Day celebrations held on 2 February in China. Hosted by the State Forestry Administration of China, the event was attend by 145 participants from the government, UNDP, IUCN, WWF, domestic NGOs, youth, the private sector, the media.
Guangzhou Haizu National Wetland Park is located in the middle of Guangzhou city, the third largest economic city of China. The city currently has 19 Wetland Parks and Guangzhou Haizu National Wetland Park is the largest with over 869 hectares.
“Guangzhou City seeks to create a reasonable balance between becoming a cosmopolitan city whilst conserving the rich wetland resources and the natural scenery. We therefore take seriously the responsibility of building a sustainable city, “said Ms. Li Ming, Municipal Leader of Guangzhou.
Speaking at the event, Ms Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, commended China on its ambition to protect all wetlands in the country and more specifically on developing its Thirteenth-five year implementation plan for the national conservation of wetlands.
She said, “if urbanization is to deliver on the promise of a better life for people, it must be sustainable and deliver not only basic services such as jobs, accommodation and transport, but cities must be safe, resilient and environmentally friendly.”
The government of China is taking mulitiple actions to conserve the country’s wetlands, which they have recognized as crucial to ensuring the development of the country will be sustainable into the future.
“Strengthening wetland conservation and restoration is regarded as important for creating a sustainable civilization and is one of the stated priorities and outcomes from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” said Li Chunliang, Deputy Director of the State Forestry Administration.
Earlier in the week, Ms. Rojas Urrego visited a number of National Wetland Parks namely the Beijing Yeyahu National Wetland Park, Shajiabang National Wetland Park, including the Dongzhaigang Ramsar Site where she was briefed on the management plans of the sites and their education programmes. She also met with numerous top officials in Beijing, Changshu, Haiku and Guangzhou with whom she discussed the domestic actions and acheivements for wetland conservation and restotration. These included Minister ZHANG Jinlong, Mr. WANG Yang Party Secretary Changshu, Mr Mao Chaofeng, Executive Vice Governor of Hainan Province and Mr. Wen Guohui Mayor of Guangzhou city.
China has adopted a series of measures at the provincial and national levels, all aimed at the protection of wetlands. These include wetland protection regulations, establishment of 602 wetland nature reserves and the creation of 898 pilot national wetland parks.
During the World Wetlands Day ceremony the list of newly created wetland parks was announced and the recipients awarded certificates.
China has designated 49 Ramsar sites and is in the process of designating 8 new Sites on the list of Wetlands of International importance.
“Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future” the theme for World Wetlands Day 2018 highlighted the important role of wetlands for sustainable cities. Over 1,400 events were registered from all over the world, bringing people together to celebrate World Wetlands Day.
View the photo gallery of the Secretary General's visit to China here.