China’s biodiversity fund for developing nations

Cover photo: UN Environment Program Executive Director Inger Andersen and China’s Minister for Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu

Kunming Biodiversity Fund launched in Beijing.

A China-initiated fund aimed at supporting biodiversity conservation in developing countries was launched in Beijing on Tuesday, which is expected to “make a significant contribution” to helping these countries conserve and reverse their biodiversity loss.

Witnessed by officials from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment and relevant United Nations agencies, the signing ceremony for the Kunming Biodiversity Fund was officially held on Tuesday.

In October 2021, China announced an initiative to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, taking the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, also known as COP 15, held in Kunming, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. It was announced that the fund would be used to support biodiversity protection in developing countries.

Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang said all parties should take the launch of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund as an opportunity to strengthen biodiversity protection and build a shared future for all life on Earth, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Ding, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called for practical action to provide financial, technical, and capacity support to developing countries in implementing the Kunming-Montreal Framework, a significant framework adopted at COP 15 aimed at reversing biodiversity loss and setting the world on a path to recovery.

He also stressed the importance of solidarity and cooperation, upholding multilateralism and international operations, and welcomed contributions from relevant countries, institutions, and organizations to the Kunming Biodiversity Fund.

In October 2021, China announced an initiative to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund and took the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

“It is a very large contribution that China has made to developing countries in the Global South, in a sign of solidarity to support those countries in conserving and reversing their loss of biodiversity,” Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen told the Global Times at a media brief after the launch ceremony.

Andersen noted that it is a new resource and will fill many gaps.

“We are very optimistic about this initiative, especially since China has positive lessons at home in conserving biodiversity. We hope to learn from these lessons and transfer them to other countries,” she said.

China has made significant efforts in forest and wetland conservation, among other endeavors. The system of red-lining, which China invented, designates specific uses within certain areas to help achieve biodiversity goals. This includes preserving and protecting land, restoring degraded land, halting pollution and reducing excessive chemical use in agriculture, according to Andersen.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, China has innovatively applied an ecological protection red-line system, which protects certain areas from industrial and urban development to ensure that ecosystems can continue to function effectively. The country aims to keep the national ecological protection red-line area above 3.15 million square kilometers.

China has created more than 11,000 natural protected areas, covering 18 percent of the country’s total land area and is striving to establish the world’s largest national park system by 2035.

Speaking of transparency and fairness in allocating and using the fund, Anderson noted that a sustainable project continues after funding ends because it is owned by the community, supported by law or backed by strong institutions.

She emphasized that whatever the project is funding, it should be self-sustaining after the funding ends, ensuring fairness in funding allocation.

Anderson also highlighted the importance of oversight. “We will certainly look very carefully to ensure that we balance all the requests so that the resources are distributed in a fair and transparent manner,” she said.

China has demonstrated exceptional leadership in biodiversity conservation over the past six years, Andersen said. Under China’s presidency, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was established, marking a milestone in international environmental cooperation. China’s initiatives, including the founding of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund and the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, have accelerated global conservation actions.

At the COP15, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, aimed at reversing biodiversity loss and setting the world on a path of recovery, was adopted. The framework has four long-term goals for 2050 and 23 action-oriented global targets over the decade to 2030.

Delivering a speech on May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity, China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu said that China is formulating a plan for implementing major biodiversity conservation projects, with the country considering this an undertaking of great importance.

Huang, who also serves as COP15 president, called on developed countries to fulfill their commitments and significantly increase their support for developing countries in terms of funding, technology and capability-building so that the framework can be implemented in a comprehensive, balanced and effective manner.