The Belt & Road International Forum for Public Cooperation on Ecological Remediation brought altogether over 180 participants from governments, private sectors and CSOs of 16 countries in Wuwei city of Gansu province in northwest China from Sept. 11 to 14, to discuss public cooperation to mitigate environmental degradation – in particular desertification and drought issues.
The forum was organized by the China Green Foundation, China NGO Network for International Exchanges, International Forestry Cooperation Center of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, with an aim at setting up a new platform for international public cooperation on ecological cooperation, and giving a fresh impetus to regional ecological cooperation and sharing.
Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNCCD, pointed out in his opening remarks: Public cooperation will be key to addressing these challenges – in all regions. He called for effective alliances and strong partnerships between governments, international organizations, academic institutions, NGOs, CSOs and entrepreneurs to promote active actions that tackle land degradation, poverty and water scarcity.
Octavio Pérez Pardo from CIASE Argentina, UNCCD CSO panel member, spoke on behalf of over 500 CSOs accredited with the convention, highlights land rights and land tenure actually are the driven force to achieve LDN.
During the keynote speech part, the director of UNCCD country focal point China commented positively about CSOs work on ground in China, who have been actively engaging the public on the issue of desertification control.
CSO representatives also attended the panel discussions, whose topics include: Ecological restoration and shared ecological system; Poverty Alleviation and regional development. They exchanged their ideas not only with their COS peers from Asia, Africa and Latin America, but also the local government officials, experts and private sectors. The voice of CSO community were heard from the beginning to the very end of the forum.
On Sept. 13 night, Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNCCD had a meeting with the 16 CSOs, most of whom are UNCCD accredited. Issues like how UNCCD Secretariat to better support CSOs participants on UNCCCD events (COP and CRITC), to strengthen the communication about this Convention among the public, especially the youth, and to support CSOs to have more powerful interaction with their national focal points, for instance, to include the CSO work in the national report. CSO representatives from Argentina, Togo, India, Russia and China raised questions to the DES respectively.
As the three expected outcomes of the forum :
1. Minqin Initiative for strengthening CSO partnership at the regional level was issued;
2. Belt and Road CSO partnership on Ecological Restoration was created and the Resolution for the partnership was also made;
3. International Special Fund for Ecological Restoration along the Belt and Road was launched.