China’s Xi launches $232 mln biodiversity protection fund for developing countries

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By David Stanway

KUNMING, China Oct 12 (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of a 1.5 billion yuan ($232.47 million) fund on Tuesday to support biodiversity protection in developing countries.

Xi was virtually addressing the COP15 biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, where diplomats, scientists, and conservationists are meeting with the aim of forging a global agreement to halt and reverse the destruction of nature.

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

Experts have been warning that 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 “should jump-start an urgently needed conversation on biodiversity finance”.

“COP15 needs to see donor countries from the developed world contributing in this regard,” he said.

Experts have said it will take an estimated $1 trillion a year to build sustainable supply chains and help countries protect nature in other ways – far more than the $150 billion spent on such action in 2019.

President Xi said China’s contribution to the Kunming Biodiversity Fund would start at 1.5 billion yuan and that other parties’ contributions were welcome.

He further announced a plan to consolidate a national parks system in China, the first batch of which would bring a land area of 230,000 square km (88,800 square miles) under protection. This area is home to nearly 30 percent of the key terrestrial wildlife species found in the country, Xi said.

($1 = 6.4525 Chinese yuan) (Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)