UN puts spotlight on the Great Green Wall

Updated: 2017-09-05 By Li You and Cao Yingying (chinadaily.com.cn) Print

The Chinese government has made tremendous efforts to combat desertification since the late 1970s, and by implementing laws, planting trees and recovering land, it successfully reversed the trend of desertification in early 2000, according to a United Nations official.

The frequency of sandstorms originating in China has reduced at the result. “It is a visible achievement of China’s efforts against desertification”, said Yukie Hori, spokeswoman for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Hori made the remarks during the UN China Youth Environmental Forum held in Beijing in July.

“The Great Green Wall Initiative of China (also known as the Three North Regions Shelterbelts) by the Chinese government, which involves planting trees in degraded areas and restoring land, has demonstrated direct positive effects,” Hori said.

Desertification means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, such as prolonged droughts, soil erosion by wind or water, improper human activities and habitation patterns, deterioration of the physical, chemical and biological or economic properties of soil, or the long-term loss of natural vegetation.

As Pradeep Monga, deputy executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, noted, China is the first country to implement an integrated law for the control and prevention of desertification.

In its 2006 report to the UN on its efforts to combat desertification, China said that the process of desertification had been reversed from an average annual expansion of 10,400 square kilometers in the late 20th century to an average annual contraction of 7,585 sq km from 1999 to 2004.

However, desertification is not only a national problem, but it is also a global issue, Hori said.

“China can support other countries in the fight against desertification through its international cooperation framework,” she said.

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