China's leadership in protecting coastal ecosystems and mitigating climate change has been applauded at the 2023 World Coastal Forum held in Yancheng, Jiangsu province.
The three-day event, which will conclude on Wednesday, witnessed nearly 1,000 representatives from 34 countries highlight the forum's significance in promoting international collaboration and interaction among coastal regions.
Participants lauded China's efforts in ensuring the ecological security of coastal regions, enhancing cooperation mechanisms, and the comprehensive protection of coastal areas worldwide.
With the theme of "Our Coasts: Harmony Between People and Nature", the forum was co-hosted by the government of Jiangsu province, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Wang Guanghua, minister of natural resources, addressed the importance of international exchange and cooperation to establish a collaborative governance platform for coastal areas.
Tu Ruihe, a representative of the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme and head of the UNEP China office, said that progress in global environmental governance can only be achieved through international cooperation.
He highlighted the pressing challenges of climate change, ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss, and increasing pollution and waste while acknowledging the global achievements in environmental conservation.
"It is imperative that we collaborate with a strong sense of historical responsibility to enhance the protection and restoration of coastal ecosystems," said Wang Lei, director of the land and space ecological restoration department of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The coastal area that connects land and sea possesses a unique ecosystem with abundant biodiversity and significant natural resources and has become one of the most vibrant regions for economic and social development, he said.
"However, since the Industrial Revolution, humanity's limited understanding of nature has caused increasingly severe ecological and environmental challenges, particularly in coastal areas," said Wang. "These challenges directly jeopardize the sustainable development of coastal regions."
Politicians, ambassadors and ministers from countries like Ireland, Congo, Cape Verde, Singapore and South Korea, along with representatives from various international organizations, expressed their appreciation for China's significant achievements in protecting coastal ecosystems, improving the environment and combating climate change.
Yancheng, which boasts the largest coastal wetland on the Pacific West Coast, is home to millions of migratory birds. Its Huanghai Wetland was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.
Jiangsu province has undertaken several initiatives for wetland restoration and wildlife habitat rehabilitation in coastal areas. According to Zhang Guoliang, director of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Natural Resources, the province has restored 14,000 hectares of coastal wetlands and over 300 kilometers of coastline in recent years.
"Jiangsu is willing to share experiences and help other regions to jointly promote the conservation of coastal ecosystems," Zhang said.