In early October, UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office and Toutiao Search jointly launched the “Search for Beautiful China” campaign, with the support of People’s Daily. This campaign aims to promote the natural and cultural resources of Biosphere Reserves in China and promote how Biosphere Reserves support the sustainable development of their local communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted Biosphere Reserves and their surrounding local communities, socially and especially economically. It has so far caused a drastic reduction of tourist activities due to the closure of sites and related infrastructures. The sites, and especially their surrounding local communities, are now suffering from related losses in agriculture, handicraft and other tourism-related activities. For these reasons, UNESCO established collaboration with Toutiao Search for promotion of Biosphere Reserves and stimulation of tourism and local economic recovery at the sites.
Sustainable tourism is a powerful tool to raise awareness on biodiversity and to protect it for present and future generations. Based on shared vision and goals, UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office joined forces with Toutiao Search for a cooperation on “Search for Beautiful China”, within the overall context of post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.
The joint campaign will last about two months and create a platform for users to fully understand the natural and cultural tourist attractions of UNESCO designated sites. Six exceptional Chinese testimonials will be involved in this campaign: Duan Yihong, Peng Yuchang, Li Yugang, Qi Wei, Yang Rong and Han Dongjun. They will accompany the public in the discovery of six UNESCO Biosphere Reserves of China and record videos to speak out for these scenic spots and China’s work to protect the biosphere. This campaign will also have the purpose of promoting natural and cultural tourism at those sites and, thus, improving social welfare of their local communities. Besides, many top Chinese Key Opinion Leaders will recommend the beauty of their hometown through video and promote the beautiful China on the Douyin platform (https://www.douyin.com/), in order to popularize China’s natural and cultural heritage.
Furthermore, UNESCO will cooperate with Toutiao to conduct training sessions at Biosphere Reserves with the aim of building the capacity of local communities in territorial branding and the use of e-commerce tools that could help them to increase their income, so as to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the local socio-economic development and support the sustainable development of those areas.
In the following year, UNESCO and Toutiao will also work together to promote the work of Biosphere Reserves in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development within the framework of the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), which will be held in Kunming, China, in May 2021. On that occasion, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – a “New Deal for Nature” – is expected to be adopted.