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China Vows to Promote Wetland Biodiversity Conservation

China will speed up the wetland biodiversity conservation mainstreaming process and implement the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands to enhance wetland protection and management, a senior official of the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said on Sunday.

Mainstreaming biodiversity refers to "the mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation on land resources development and the work of various departments: put biodiversity protection into agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and other productive sectors in order to protect global environmental benefits", according to forestry authorities.

Yin Hong, deputy director of the SFA, said at an international conference on protection and sustainable use of wetland held in Yueyang of Hunan Province that China has made notable progress in the protection of wetland ecosystem.

He said China has established 470 wetland nature reserves and more than 30 pieces of wetland were designated as "Wetlands of International Importance" in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and has formed a wetland protection network system.

"However, due to industrialization and urbanization, coupled with a large population, the wetland protection is still facing challenges brought about by reduction in the number of wetlands, habitat fragmentation, and wetland ecological degradation. Against this background, the mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation is of special significance," Yin said.

The State Council has approved the establishment of a national committee on implementation of the "Convention on Wetlands" earlier this year. Yin said this move will further strengthen coordination of different organizations on the protection of wetlands, and will promote management of inter-departmental and cross-regional cooperation.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2007)

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