Xi urges ecoenvironment cooperation
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