Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday called for global cooperation to combat desertification, which he said is a common challenge for mankind.
Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to a high-level meeting of the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which opened on Monday in Ordos City in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
In the letter, Xi said land desertification is a major ecological issue affecting the existence and development of mankind, and the situation for controlling desertification remains grave despite the progress the world has achieved since the UNCCD came into effect 21 years ago.
Xi wished the conference a success. He said the conference, with the theme of "Combating Desertification for Human Well-being," intends to develop a new strategic framework for the UNCCD, which will be significant and positive for guaranteeing global ecological security.
China will unswervingly fulfill its obligations under the UNCCD, and continue to push forward communication and cooperation with all member parties and international organizations to work for the targets set during the conference and create a better world, Xi said.
China has made significant progress in anti-desertification. Liu Dongsheng, deputy head of the State Forestry Administration, said China has realized the zero-growth of desertification.
"China's desertified land was expanding at a rate of 10,400 square kilometers per year at the end of the last century, but it is now shrinking by 2,424 square kilometers each year," said Liu.
"China has set a goal to reforest 50 percent of the desertified land that can be treated by 2020, and the rest by 2050," he added.
The UNCCD has proposed a target of zero growth of desert farmland around the world by 2030.