Ambassador Cong Peiwu publishes a signed article on The Hill Times
(2021/10/12)

On October 11, Ambassador Cong Peiwu published a signed article titled “Cooperation is needed between Canada and China to protect our planet” on The Hill Times. Here is the full text:

In the last few years, loss of biodiversity, worsening desertification and frequent extreme weather events have all posed a stark challenge to human progress, and even to human survival. This summer, a heat wave swept across much of Western Canada, leading to record-breaking temperatures in many places. A UN report published this year shows over one million plant and animal species are in danger of extinction. Without proper protection, those beautiful animals and plants may disappear from the pages of history, and children will only be able to see the specimens displayed in the museum. It’s a painful vision that may become a reality.

In order to protect global biodiversity, COP15, or to give it its full name, the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, will be held in Kunming, China, in two phases from Oct. 11 to Oct. 15 and in the first half of 2022, where international participants will be urged to make firm commitments and take real action to protect biodiversity. In 2010, the United Nations announced that 2011-2020 would be the UN Decade on Biodiversity. COP15 will be a chance to reflect on the work done to protect biodiversity over the last ten years, and to set new targets, looking toward a vision of biodiversity for 2050.

This COP conference comes at a critical juncture, and the international community has high expectations for it. This year’s theme, “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth,” reflects the global shift towards green growth and the hope of billions of world citizens for a shared global biome. It also demonstrates the global significance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization. President Xi has pointed out that human and nature are a community of shared destiny. It falls to all of us to act together and urgently to advance protection and development in parallel, so that we can turn Earth into a beautiful homeland for all creatures to live in harmony.

China is home to some of the greatest biodiversity on Earth, so we have a keen understanding of its importance. In the last 10 years, China has added more forests than any other nation on Earth. More than 90 per cent of terrestrial ecosystem types, together with 85 per cent of key wild animal populations, are now protected in China. Desertification used to claim 10,400 square kilometres of land per year; now that process has been reversed, and we are reclaiming 2,424 square kilometres per year. The Belt and Road initiative and South-South cooperation are helping developing nations respond to challenges like the loss of biodiversity and climate change. By working together, we can protect global biodiversity.

China also collaborates with Canada on a long-term basis, in areas like environmental protection and climate change. Canada is rich in ecosystem resources, with about 24 per cent of the world’s wetlands and nine per cent of the world’s forest. There is enormous potential in a China-Canada partnership on biodiversity and more. China looks forward to working with all the nations of the world, including Canada, to inject new impetus into the protection of global biodiversity.

More and more countries around the world are realizing that our future is intertwined and interdependent. Humanity must remain committed to multilateralism and to working together if we are to achieve a shared victory and success for all. More and more people are changing their old perspectives and lifestyles, and using personal action to become a part of a green growth model, with low emissions, environmental protection, and harmony between humanity and nature. The UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall once said,“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” We hope that COP15 will be an opportunity for everyone to talk, deeply engage, and weave the fabric of world cooperation on ecological protection a little tighter. We hope that the governance of global biodiversity will stride forward to whole new levels.