ORDOS, China, Aug. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fifth Kubuqi International Desert Forum has been held at the Kubuqi Desert in Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region from July 28 to 29.
Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang joined former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, former African Union chairman John Kufuor and China's Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang at the opening ceremony of the forum with the theme combating desertification and re-building the Silk Road.
"We should protect the environment like we protect our eyes and treat the environment like it is our lives. We should firmly establish the idea of respecting nature, conforming to nature and protecting nature and insist that green landscapes and clean water are true treasures," said Wang, quoting President Xi Jinping's instructions on ecological civilization construction.
The forum covered key points of ecological construction and environmental protection, pushing ahead international cooperation and strong practical pertinence.
"The Chinese government published a comment on accelerating advancing ecological civilization construction in April, which fully deployed the ecological civilization construction at present and for the future," said Wang.
"Tasks to accomplish desertification control of 10 million hectares between 2016 and 2020 and establishing an ecological safety system in desert areas based on forage vegetation are proposed."
Wang also stressed that in order to realize the development target, greater attention will be paid to scientific management, social force participation, institutional improvement and international cooperation.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a letter to the forum which read: "Today, we are losing approximately 12 million hectares of productive land every year. This is contributing to food shortages and water scarcity, and undermining resilience to climate change. Under the Green Land Partnership Programme, the Government of the People's Republic of China is working with the private sector to combat desertification, reduce the sand storms that emanate from Inner Mongolia and lift people from poverty. The changes taking place in China, and the Kubuqi Desert in particular, are notable."
Desertification is not only an environmental problem but also an economic and social one and may even become a political or a security issue. Although there is little desertification in Europe there are pressures of illegal immigration due to environment, poverty and armed conflict from African countries, said former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
There should be a solution for desertification control and the Kubuqi model is one successful case that countries in regions such as Africa should use for reference, he said.
Barroso also talked about the climate polices of China and the European Union which are gradually integrating. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Xi is a response to environmental protection, and green Silk Roads are needed to assist green development, Barroso added.
Kufuor spoke highly of the desertification control of the Kubuqi Desert. "The Kubuqi model is suggestive because it helps us to establish the balance between people and nature and it also shows the willpower of human beings to make the desertification under control," he said.
"African countries are in urgent need for introducing and popularizing the Kubuqi model on desertification control".
Wang Wenbiao, Elion Resources Group's founder and chairman, said: "We are taking action to practice the Belt and Road Initiative and ecological civilization strategies proposed by President Xi and accelerate desertification control by mechanism innovation, technological innovation and industry innovation".
He also appealed to establish the Global Desert Ecological Economy Union, which centers on desertification control and an ecological economy to gather global talent, capital, technologies and information to establish a "green era."
The proposal received active responses from Barroso, Kufuor, Executive Secretary-general of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Monique Barbut and representatives from the scientific community and business circles.