China’s experience in combating desertification leads to global green development, says UN official

With the commitment to promote green development through the Belt and Road cooperation, China’s experience in combating desertification contributes to global green development, said UNCCD programme officer Jia Xiaoxia.

Jia said China has made scientific breakthroughs in desertification control in recent decades, having established a solid barrier to ecological security, during the Third Taklimakan Desert Forum held recently in Korla, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China.

The latest data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN agency, showed that drylands currently cover 46.2 per cent of the world’s land area and are home to 3 billion people. However, these lands are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and are warming twice as fast as wetlands.

Speaking to Xinhua on the sidelines of the forum, Jia highlighted China’s early efforts in ecological restoration and protection, which have enabled the country to accumulate extensive experience in this field.

For example, Xinjiang, which has China’s largest arid zone, has achieved remarkable success in controlling desertification in recent decades through measures such as precision agriculture, integrated watershed management, afforestation and reducing overgrazing.

A woman plants a tree on the outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan, 12 January 2017. Khartoum state authorities on Thursday began planting nearly 1,000 trees as part of the green farm project, which is part of the Great African Green Wall. The Great African Green Wall project was sponsored by the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) in 2005 and was approved by the African Union in 2007 as a strategic African project to help African countries cope with the encroaching desert that threatens CEN-SAD countries. (Xinhua/Mohamed Babiker)

Jia mentioned that the “Great Green Wall” initiative in Africa was inspired during a visit to China by African officials and experts some 30 years ago, when they witnessed the benefits of China’s massive afforestation programme, the Three North (Northeast, North and Northwest China) Protective Strip Forest Programme, and its achievements in ecological restoration.

In addition to providing financial support, China has also sent researchers and experts to facilitate technology exchanges and promote the African afforestation programme.

At present, China is engaged in technology cooperation with the regions involved in the African project using big data applications and planning, Jia said.

Through satellites and other means to observe, collect, calculate and analyse data, China has also helped African countries better understand the characteristics and patterns of their land, climate and other aspects, boosting efforts to prevent and control desertification, Jia said.