Repli­cat­ing the Kubuqi’s Suc­cess

Beijing Review - - EDITOR’S DESK -

In north China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, there lies a desert by the name of Kubuqi. Three decades ago, it was a bar­ren place, but to­day this deso­la­tion has been re­placed by an idyl­lic scene of plen­ti­ful flora and green­ery. This is not a le­gend, but a suc­cess­ful ex­am­ple of China’s fight against de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion, and pos­si­bly the only ex­am­ple of suc­cess in trans­form­ing desert into oa­sis thus far in the world.

The Kubuqi was once China’s sev­enth largest desert. Yet the lev­els of foresta­tion and green cov­er­age in the re­gion jumped from 0.8 and 16.2 per­cent in 2002 to 15.7 and 53 per­cent in 2016. Years of hard work have borne fruit, and this mir­a­cle shows that de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion is in fact re­versible.

De­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion is a ma­jor prob­lem for China, with the north­ern and western parts of the coun­try cov­ered by large swathes of desert. The Chi­nese Government thus at­taches great im­por­tance to the fight against de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion. In 2002, the cen­tral au­thor­ity re­leased the world’s first com­pre­hen­sive le­gal reg­u­la­tion on the preven­tion and treat­ment of de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion in a bid to re­in­force the coun­try’s ef­forts to cope with the chal­lenges posed by the degra­da­tion of its land. The government also in­vested heav­ily in af­foresta­tion and sand break projects. The vic­tory over de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion in the Kubuqi show­cases China’s ex­per­tise and the ma­tu­rity of its pro­grams to con­tain the spread of deserts.

The tech­niques used to con­trol de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion in the Kubuqi have been suc­cess­fully repli­cated and ex­ported to coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The changes that have taken place in the Kubuqi over the past three decades also won recog­ni­tion from in­ter­na­tional ob­servers at the 2018 UN High-level Po­lit­i­cal Fo­rum on Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment. The Kubuqi has also been des­ig­nated a “global desert eco­log­i­cal econ­omy demon­stra­tion zone” by the UN De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram.

The repli­ca­tion and wide­spread use of the Kubuqi model is an ex­am­ple of Chi­nese wis­dom and ex­pe­ri­ence con­tribut­ing to the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of the world and to the UN’S goal for the zero growth of land degra­da­tion by 2030.

It is hoped that the pos­i­tive changes tak­ing place in the Kubuqi can be re­pro­duced in more deserts around the world, so that more peo­ple can en­joy the hap­pi­ness brought by green moun­tains and clear wa­ter in the places they call home.

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