Xi urges ecoen­vi­ron­ment co­op­er­a­tion

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Hu Yuyan

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has called for closer co­op­er­a­tion in curb­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion among coun­tries along the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive and im­prov­ing the global eco-en­vi­ron­ment.

He made the re­marks in a let­ter con­grat­u­lat­ing the sixth Kubuqi In­ter­na­tional Desert Fo­rum held from Sat­ur­day to Sun­day in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

In the let­ter, Xi stressed that de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion is a se­ri­ous global chal­lenge. Curb­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion will ben­e­fit both cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, he added.

China has al­ways at­tached great im­por­tance to curb­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion and has made re­mark­able progress, and has also shown the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity qual­ity eco-en­vi­ron­ment gov­er­nance, of which the Kubuqi desert is an ex­am­ple, Xi said.

Kubuqi is the sev­enth largest desert in China cov­er­ing an area of 18,600 square kilo­me­ters. It was once the source of fre­quent sand­storms to hit Bei­jing.

The area of de­ser­ti­fied land in the coun­try shrinks by an av­er­age of over 2,400 square kilo­me­ters a year, com­pared with an an­nual av­er­age ex­pan­sion of over 10,000 square kilo­me­ters by the end of the pre­vi­ous cen­tury, mak­ing China the first coun­try in the world to shrink the size of a desert, ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese Vice Pre­mier Ma Kai, who ad­dressed the fo­rum’s open­ing cer­e­mony.

“China has a lot to share with other coun­tries in the con­tain­ing of sand be­cause China has a di­verse to­pog­ra­phy. China’s ex­pe­ri­ence in this field can be ap­plied to coun­tries along the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing sand con­trol along high­ways and rail­ways,” Jia Xiaoxia, head of the sand con­trol and pre­ven­tion bu­reau of the State Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion, told the Global Times.

“In the past, China had fol­lowed the prin­ci­ple of ‘ easy first, dif­fi­cult sec­ond’ in curb­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion, mean­ing we started with the ar­eas where sand con­trol was com­par­a­tively eas­ier. The chal­lenge fac­ing us to­day in­volves the re­main­ing dif­fi­cult ones,” Jia added.

“Aside from tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances, we also need to fo­cus on pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives to farm­ers on de­ser­ti­fied farm­land, as crops pro­duced from such fields are gen­er­ally of low qual­ity,” Jia said. Xin­hua con­trib­uted to this story

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