COP15: Xi Jinping announces $233 million biodiversity protection fund at UN meet

The COP15 UN summit in China’s Kunming city is being attended by scientists, conservationists and diplomats where the focus is on forging a global agreement to protect fragile biodiversity
The venue of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) is seen in Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan province on October 11, 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping made key pledges at the summit. (AFP)
The venue of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) is seen in Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan province on October 11, 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping made key pledges at the summit. (AFP)
Published on Oct 12, 2021 11:21 PM IST
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BySutirtho Patranobis

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday pledged 1.5 billion yuan ($232.47 million) for a new fund to support biodiversity protection in developing countries. He made the announcement on the sidelines of the UN’s COP15 summit on biodiversity protection, in the city of Kunming.

“China will take the lead and contribute 1.5 billion yuan to set up the Kunming Biodiversity Fund to support biodiversity development of developing countries,” Xi Jinping said, making the remarks while addressing the 15th meeting of the UN-led Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity - also known as COP15 - via video link from Beijing.

The UN summit is being attended by scientists, conservationists as well as diplomats where the focus is on forging a global agreement to protect the world’s increasingly fragile biodiversity and prevent the extinction of plants and animals.

“Developing countries need help and support and solidarity must be strengthened to allow developing countries to benefit in a fairer way,” Xi Jinping said.

Experts say China’s efforts to conserve biodiversity at home have not been matched by efforts to clean up its global supply chains or embark on sustainable investments overseas.

Li Shuo, senior climate adviser at Greenpeace China, said the new fund announced at the COP15 summit “should jump-start an urgently needed conversation on biodiversity finance”.

“COP15 needs to see donor countries from the developed world contributing in this regard,” Li told Reuters.

Other leaders who spoke at the UN conference on Tuesday included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

News agency Xinhua quoted Xi Jinping’s pledge to accelerate the development of solar power in China.

“[We will] step up our efforts in the development of renewable energy, and accelerate the planning of large-scale photovoltaic and wind power projects in [our] deserts and nearby areas,” he said.

“Phase one of these projects with a combined installed capacity of 100 million kilowatts will begin construction soon in an orderly manner,” the Chinese president added.

Xi also announced a plan to consolidate a national parks system in China, the first batch of which would bring a land area of 230,000 sq km under protection.

“This area is home to nearly 30% of the key terrestrial wildlife species found in the country,” Xi was quoted as saying.

Xi Jinping’s pledges come in the backdrop of China’s worst energy shortages in recent years, following which the government, according to reports, ordered the country’s coal mines to boost output.

Widespread power cuts since last month have forced many factories to cut production or stop operations completely. One reason for the power crisis, experts have said, is China’s carbon emission goals - peak emission by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

In his speech on Tuesday, Xi said that to achieve its carbon peak and neutrality targets, China will release implementation plans for peaking carbon dioxide emissions in key areas and sectors as well as a series of supporting measures.

China will continue to readjust its industrial structure and energy mix and vigorously develop renewable energy, he said.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021