The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) welcomes China’s white paper, Biodiversity Conservation in China and the increasing commitment of China to biodiversity conservation, both at home in China and across the globe. The white paper was issued on the eve of the meeting of Part One of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) being held in Kunming, China starting today.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, this first phase of the conference and the associated high-level segment will be held mostly virtually, with limited onsite participation in Kunming by delegates already located in China. Part Two of CoP15 will take place, in person, in Kunming from April 25-May 8, 2022. This is the first CBD CoP to be hosted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

In advance of CoP15, the Government of China has issued a white paper titled, “Biodiversity Conservation in China” (the first it has issued since signing the CBD in 1993). 

The following is the WCS statement on the white paper, Biodiversity Conservation in China:

“The conservation status, experience and solutions presented in the white paper clearly show impressive efforts of China to conserve its rich and abundant biodiversity, as well as increasing international collaboration beyond its borders. Since 1956, China has established more than 11,000 protected areas, including 10 national parks, which cover 18% of its land area, 90% of its territorial ecosystem types and 71% of national protected fauna and flora species. The significant recovery of crested ibis, improved status of the Tibetan antelope and giant panda on the IUCN red list of threatened species, and increasing records of Amur tiger and leopard in northeast China, are just a few of examples.

“WCS is pleased to learn more about China’s significant progress to improve its legal system, governance, and law enforcement, and its protected area system, as highlighted in the white paper. China has demonstrated how comprehensive and coordinated spatial planning, most notably through setting and applying ecological redline policy, can contribute to important biodiversity, climate, as well as social development in both terrestrial and marine environments. China’s zero tolerance policy to illegal wildlife trade is commendable, and we look forward to continuing to work with Chinese government colleagues to combat the scourge of wildlife trafficking. We welcome the commitment to multilateralism and international conventions in the white paper, which we see as key to combating the interrelated global crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, and pandemics of zoonotic origin.

“The enhanced commitment of the government and people of China to biodiversity conservation will help ensure a successful CoP, and more importantly, successful biodiversity conservation into the future. We hope that includes more actions on: protected and conserved areas, including at least 30% of land and sea areas globally by 2030; retaining and restoring ecological integrity at national and global scales; and making special efforts to identify and conserve our planet’s remaining highly intact ecosystems, including forests, coral reefs, and other highly biodiverse ecosystems that are critical for biodiversity and human wellbeing; and mobilizing more resources to support biodiversity conservation which is foundational for both climate resilience and human sustainability and well-being. 

“As an international NGO and a leading conservation organization, WCS operates projects and programs in more than 60 countries and is actively engaged with the CBD and other conventions. WCS China is proud to have operated in China for more than 25 years, on multiple themes, including combatting illegal wildlife trade, encouraging sustainable development and peaceful coexistence of wildlife and human communities in Tibetan Plateau, and promoting habitat conservation for the Amur tiger and leopard.

“This is a critical moment for human society to move toward a truly nature-positive and climate neutral world. Multilateral cooperation and commitments, such as those that will be adopted at CBD CoP15 and the Climate Change Conference next month, and necessary new commitments to prevention of pandemics of zoonotic origin, combined with strong actions to implement those commitments, are critical to the achieving the goal of “living in harmony with nature,” as stated in China’s white paper. WCS looks forward to working with the people and government of China, and all governments and stakeholders, to make this a reality.”


Additional Resources:

WCS Position Papers on Post-2020 Targets on Biodiversity

WCS Updates and Policies on Pandemic

Wildlife Conservation Society China

WCS China is proud to have operated in China for more than 25 years, on multiple activities, including scientific research, combatting illegal wildlife trade, encouraging sustainable development and peaceful coexistence of wildlife and human communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and promoting habitat conservation for the Amur tiger and leopard.