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The World’s first International Mangrove Center has officially settled in Shenzhen!

Release time:2023 - 09 - 07 Views:623

The World’s first International Mangrove Center has officially settled in Shenzhen!

On September 6th, at 15:23 local time in Geneva, the 62nd meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention approved the regional motion proposal submitted by China to establish the International Mangrove Center in Shenzhen, marking the official establishment of the International Mangrove Center.

 

The establishment of the International Mangrove Center in Shenzhen is a strategic measure for China to promote mangrove conservation.

 

At the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention held last year, China announced its commitment to strengthen international cooperation in wetland conservation and establish the International Mangrove Center in Shenzhen. Over the past year, China has worked together with relevant contracting parties and the secretariat of the convention to submit a proposal for the construction of the Mangrove Center to the 62nd session of the Standing Committee of the Convention. This proposal has been recognized and approved by the Standing Committee. The approval of motion proposal is beneficial for China to engage in international cooperation and dialogue on mangrove conservation and restoration through the convention platform with various contracting parties. It will effectively promote global mangrove conservation, restoration, and sustainable utilization, continuously expanding the central influence.

 

The establishment of the International Mangrove Center in Shenzhen is a recognition of China's achievements in mangrove conservation.

 

In recent years, the Chinese government has attached high attention to the mangrove conservation. In the “Wetland Protection Law of the People's Republic of China”, a specific provision for mangroves is included. The “Special Action Plan for Mangrove Protection and Restoration (2020-2025)” has been implemented, establishing a diversified funding model with the government as the main source. More than 10 technical documents, including afforestation and ecological restoration, have been issued. Through efforts, the area of China’s mangroves has increased by more than 7,200 hectares since the beginning of this century, completely reversing the trend of decreasing area, which indicates that it enters a new stage of high-quality development.

The establishment of the International Mangrove Center in Shenzhen sets even higher requirements for Shenzhen's pioneering demonstration.

 

The world's first “International Mangrove Center” has settled in Shenzhen, which plays a significant role in Shenzhen’s efforts to perform as a more globally influential economic center and modern international metropolis, as well as in promoting the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature in modern development. Shenzhen City will also take this opportunity to vigorously strengthen the regulatory system, engineering planning, investigation and monitoring, international cooperation, and other basic work for wetland conservation. Additionally, integrating the national territorial space, creating an international wetland city, continuously enhancing Shenzhen’s international influence in the field of ecological protection, creating more ecological well-being for global wetlands and mangrove conservation, and promoting the building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Looking back, what ‘s Shenzhen’s experience in protecting the mangroves while maintaining rapid economic development in the city? 

 

  1. Traffic detours create a winding path, making ecology to be a wealth.

Shenzhen has a land area of 1997.4 square kilometers and a maritime area of 2030 square kilometer. Over 20 million people and more than 30,000 species coexist here. The vibrant Futian Mangrove Wetland, known as the “International important wetland of only urban central native ecology” in the world, and the neighboring Mai Po Marshes-Deep Bay Wetland in Hong Kong, together serve as warm stopovers for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds along the East Asia-Australasia Flyway.

 

During the early stages of Shenzhen’s establishment, the rapid urban development also had an impact on some mangrove wetlands. With the popularization of concepts such as “Ecological civilization construction” “,sustainable development”, “Green mountains and rivers are as valuable as mountains of gold and silver”, and “Harmonious coexistence between humans and nature”, Shenzhen has introduced a series of policies and regulations to effectively protect a number of important wetland resources, establish a wetland conservation management system, accelerate the ecological environment governance of river bays, and carry out a number of wetland and mangrove ecological restoration projects, achieving remarkable outcomes.

For example, in 1984, the Guangdong Neilingding Island-Futian National Nature Reserve was established. The Binhai Avenue, which opened in 1999, was designed to avoid the nature reserve by taking a detour with additional investment, which has also left behind ecological wealth for today's urban development. In 2005, Shenzhen took the lead in China by delineating a basic ecological control line of 974.5 square kilometers, establishing the fundamental pattern of urban ecological space. In 2007, the mangrove was established as the “city tree” and became a cultural symbol of the “Shenzhen spirit”. In 2014, Shenzhen Bay established a comprehensive fishing ban zone, resolving the conflict between humans and birds competing for food.

 

Nowadays, placing equal importance on ecological environment protection and economic and social development has been integrated into the fourth version of the overall urban planning of Shenzhen, engraving it into the city's spirit and core. For example, when planning and designing the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, careful consideration was given to the need for ecological preservation. In this “city of the future”, three migratory bird corridors were incorporated into the overall design, one of which runs through the north-south axis of the area - the Central Green Axis is one of them. In addition, bird habitats are being constructed through zoning, and measures such as implementing dark night protection lighting plans have been taken to transform the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base into a bird-friendly “paradise of lives”.

 

Exploring the “Green Model” with Active Participation from All

Shenzhen has pioneered a management model in China that emphasizes “government leadership, corporate management, and public participation”. It actively encourages the involvement of social organizations in ecological conservation and environmental education, gaining widespread international recognition.

 

The Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Conservation Foundation, the first local environmental public fundraising foundation initiated by the private sector in China, was established in Shenzhen in July 2012. In 2015, this foundation successfully managed the Futian Mangrove Ecological Park, becoming the first environmental non-profit organization in China to manage an urban ecological park. In the same year, they, in collaboration with the Guangdong Nielingding Island-Futian National Nature Reserve Administration, restored traditional fish ponds into habitats for migratory waterbirds, implementing a coastal mangrove restoration project. This effort was honored as one of the first “Top Ten Examples of Ecological Restoration in Land Space” in Guangdong in 2019 and was selected as one of the “Top Ten Ecological Restoration Case Studies with Chinese Characteristics” by the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2021. In April 2020, it became the first mainland Chinese member organization of the Global Mangrove Alliance. In 2022, it became the 39th official partner of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), and the Futian Mangrove Ecological Park received the inaugural “Wetland Education Center Star Award” from the Ramsar Convention.

Looking ahead, what new initiatives can Shenzhen undertake to benefit Shenzhen, China, even the world?

 

1.Shenzhen will create a model city showcasing mangrove wetland ecosystem protection capabilities.

Shenzhen is actively exploring new paths for ecological protection and restoration in high-density super-large cities, vigorously promoting modern development that fosters harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. In legal system development, Shenzhen will enact the “Shenzhen Economic Special Zone Wetland Protection Regulations” and supporting regulations to bring wetland protection into a legal, institutional, and standardized track. Regarding planning leadership, high-quality preparations for the “Shenzhen Wetland Protection Plan (2021-2035)” and the “Shenzhen Mangrove Protection and Restoration Action Detailed Plan” will be made to establish a top-level design for wetland protection. In terms of protection forms, a wetland protection system will be constructed for important wetlands, natural protected areas for wetland types, wetland parks, wetland protected communities, and micro wetlands to enhance wetland ecological protection efficiency. In terms of city positioning, various measures will be taken to increase the wetland protection rate, strive for recognition as an “International Wetland City”, create a “Global Ocean Center City” and build a model city showcasing mangrove wetland ecosystem protection capabilities. In terms of human, financial, and material resources, talent development space will be optimized to attract outstanding talents worldwide, promoting international two-way exchanges in mangrove wetland protection and sustainable development. Channels for social capital and resources will be broadened, coordinating fiscal funds and social capital for involvement in wetland ecological protection. Efforts will be made to create the Mangrove Wetland Museum and the Secretariat Project of the International Mangrove Center (Shenzhen), incorporating elements of public welfare and market-oriented operation.

 

2.Shenzhen will become an “Active Participant” in building the Earth's Community of Life.

Shenzhen will establish the “International Mangrove Center”, organizing regional mangrove wetland conservation summits and high-level forums, promoting global mangrove knowledge sharing and scientific research collaboration, developing a comprehensive mangrove natural education system, and enhancing the international educational training public service level for mangroves. Through the establishment of an open, inclusive, co-building, co-sharing, and win-win cooperation mechanism for international mangrove and coastal blue carbon ecosystems, Shenzhen will promote international cooperation and joint action in mangrove protection, restoration, and sustainable use, as well as contribute to the compliance with multilateral environmental conventions such as the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and support the achievement of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, global climate goals, and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Shenzhen will become a “Beneficial Contributor” to global environmental governance.

 

In line with China's overall development, Shenzhen will promote the construction of the “International Mangrove Center” with high standards and high quality. Using this as an opportunity, Shenzhen will establish an international cooperation and exchange platform, building an open, inclusive, co-building, co-sharing, and win-win cooperation mechanism for international mangrove and coastal blue carbon ecosystems, which will make Shenzhen to advocate for global action in addressing climate change, constructing natural ecological barriers for tropical and subtropical coastal zones, and contributing the “Shenzhen Voice”.

 

Shenzhen will actively respond to the global concerns about ecological protection and the practical issues related to social and economic development. It will proactively explore a development path where economic growth and ecological livability go hand in hand. Shenzhen aims to provide a model for modern development that fosters harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, offering the “Shenzhen Case”. This initiative will support the global acceleration of green production methods and lifestyles, contributing to enhancing China's international standing and influence in the fields of ecological environmental protection and sustainable development.

 

Furthermore, Shenzhen will strengthen the exchange of technology for mangrove protection, restoration, and sustainable use. It will enhance the capacity for mangrove protection, restoration, and sustainable use, and showcase a “Chinese Approach” to wetland conservation to the world. This will make a positive contribution to the construction of a beautiful “Global Village”.

Wetlands, mangroves, biodiversity - these elements form the shining features of the “Green and Beautiful Shenzhen”, a new hallmark for the city. Entering the forests, wetlands, and parks, planting greenery, admiring flowers, bird-watching, camping, recreation, getting close to water, healing – these are becoming the daily life of Shenzhen's citizens.

 

In the next steps, the International Mangrove Center will, through the establishment of an open, inclusive, mutually beneficial international cooperation mechanism for mangrove and coastal blue carbon ecosystems, drive international cooperation and joint action for mangrove protection, restoration, and sustainable use, contributing to global sustainable development.

 

Look forward to the establishment of the International Mangrove Center in Shenzhen, which will introduce more innovative measures for ecological protection. These measures will not only create a better ecological environment for the people living here but also enable the replication of these experiences across China and the world, benefiting all of humanity.