NAIROBI — All countries should develop nature-positive economic models to boost climate resilience and protect ecosystems that underpin livelihoods, a senior official of the United Nations has said.
Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UN Environment Program, said during a virtual interview with Xinhua ahead of a global biodiversity meeting next week that China’s ability to blend economic growth with habitat protection offers useful lessons.
She said that by agreeing to host the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), which is set to kick off on Oct. 11 in the southwestern city of Kunming, China has reaffirmed its commitments to global biodiversity conservation in line with its concept of ecological civilization.
“We look at that being really the last big chance to end biodiversity loss as we know it,” Andersen said of the conference.
“The COP is hosted under the banner of ecological civilization, and I think that is a powerful Chinese plan, understanding and framework,” Andersen said.
She noted that China’s 14th five-year plan, which outlines a comprehensive strategy to protect nature amid a quest for growth, is an opportunity for nations seeking low-carbon development pathways.
Andersen said Beijing has put in place robust guard rails to ensure that urbanization and infrastructure growth do not negatively impact the health of vital ecosystems including forests and watersheds.
“The fact that China has embarked on an ambitious tree planting, on an ambitious program to combat food waste, all of these are very good,” she said.
China’s “Green is Gold” concept has been embraced by the Chinese public, hence elevating the Asian nation’s status as an example of biodiversity protection, she said.
Andersen said that the adoption of a ten-year roadmap for conserving biodiversity at the meeting will mark a significant milestone in reversing a loss of species that has accelerated due to climate change and population pressure.
Governments, industries, donors and civil society should utilize the meeting to agree on policy, regulations and the funding required to stem biodiversity loss, she said, stressing the need to hasten low-carbon growth.
“Getting an ambitious agreement on biodiversity will tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss,” she said.
Andersen said that African countries require technical and financial support to help reverse biodiversity loss that has worsened hunger and resource-based conflicts.