Ordos, China – The seventh Kubuqi International Desert Forum opened on 26 June with a message from the President of China H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, who reiterated county's commitment to international cooperation for protecting global environment. Vice Premier of China H.E. Ms. Sun Chunlan also addressed the Forum, emphasizing that green economy is an important platform for achieving sustainable development goals and that China's success in reversing desertification and land desertification can contribute to the global ecological governance.
The UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw stated that the Forum demonstrates the power of partnerships at every level in tackling issues related to desertification and land degradation, such as biodiversity loss, climate change and social inequality. Mr. Thiaw also delivered the message from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who stressed the utmost importance of reversing land degradation and desertification to meet the challenge of deepening climate emergency and rapid population growth. Mr. Guterres also remarked that the Forum is an opportunity to share and scale up success stories in and beyond China.
Kubuqi is the seventh largest desert in China. Since the 1980s, a number of measures has been implemented in Kubuqi to bring degraded land back to life, resulting in 6,000 square kilometers of restored land as well as financial gain of over 500 billion Yuan (approximately USD72 billion).
In the afternoon of 27 July, a ceremony to honor the 2019 Land for Life (L4L) Award winners took place. Mr. Thiaw and the President of Elion Foundation Mr. Wang Wenbiao congratulated the winners and presented trophies to recognize decades of dedicated work and lasting impact in land restoration and sustainable management.
The L4L award winners will travel to the upcoming UNCCD COP14 in New Delhi, India, to present their work and share experiences with conference attendants from around the world.
Photo (l. to r.): UNCCD Spokesperson Ms. Yukie Hori, National Focal Point of UNCCD in Nigeria Mr. Bala Harlan Gukut, receiving the prize on behalf of Mathieu Ouédraogo – Burkina Faso, President of the Elion Foundation Mr. Wang Wenbiao, National coordinator of MERET Project (first prize) – Ethiopia, Mr. Betru Nedessa Beyene, Executive Secretary of UNCCD Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Director General, Department of Combating Desertification, National Forestry and Grassland Administration Mr. Hu Peixing, receiving the prize on behalf of Mr. Yun Dan – China.