The Asian Development Bank (ADB) cohosted a webinar today to discuss how to advance policy recommendations for ecological protection being put forward for consideration by the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) State Council under the forthcoming 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP).
Opening the webinar, ADB Vice-President Ahmed M. Saeed said the FYP will be critical in implementing the PRC’s vision of an ecological civilization. He highlighted the importance of advancing preparation of the ecological roadmap, despite the challenges and delays due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Today’s discussion highlighted the need for transformational policies,” he said. “The complex environmental challenges that lie ahead cannot be solved without an interdisciplinary mindset – one that leverages insights from climate adaptation and mitigation, natural capital accounting, eco-compensation and payments for ecosystem services, green finance and incentive-based models, ocean health protection, waste reduction, and the circular economy.”
Participants heard that the challenges ahead are substantial, even with significant improvements recently in the water quality of rivers, lakes and the ecological environment. The country’s forests, grasslands, wetlands, fertile soils, and biodiversity and the valuable services that they provide are under enormous pressure. Their sustainability under risk also represents a huge threat to economic activities and human well-being.
Recommendations from the webinar have been submitted by the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) special policy study (SPS) on ecological and green development for the Yangtze River economic belt initative and Yellow River in the PRC. They cover the climate and mitigation measures to be adopted across natural resource management, call for incentive-based mechanisms to enhance resilience of marine ecosystems, and for more use of natural capital accounting, eco-compensation policy mechanisms and green finance innovation in the two river basins. They also call for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15), planned for Kunming, PRC, in 2021, to be used as a forum to promote multilateral cooperation and leverage policy dialogue on natural resource management.
Mr. Saeed said the Natural Capital Lab is an important initiative that will help support implementation of integrated innovative approaches, the building of partnerships and testing of innovative financing mechanisms that blend private and public finance to leverage and increase the impact of natural capital investments. The lab is an umbrella initiative to develop innovative approaches and partnerships with the aim of mobilizing public and private investments in nature conservation and green development. As a living and virtual knowledge sharing platform, the lab will nurture the development of knowledge and pilot the design of innovative green funds for watershed protection, sustainable resilient agriculture, and green business development. ADB plans to launch the lab at the Kunming COP next year.
Taking part in the event, jointly organized with the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, were leading environmental experts, including the SPS international team members, academics from the University of Oxford, China Green Finance Committee, CCICED chief advisor, Stanford University, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and The Nature Conservation.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.