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Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui Attends Online Seminar on Ecological Environment Protection of Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation

2021/02/03

On February 2, 2021, Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the Online Seminar on Ecological Environment Protection of Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation hosted by the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee Wu Yingjie made welcome remarks and Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Qizhala delivered a keynote speech. The opening ceremony was also attended and addressed by Special Adviser for Climate Change Affairs of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment Xie Zhenhua, former United Nations Secretary-General and Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia Ban Ki-moon, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Michael Rudd, Chairman of the Pakistan Senate's Defense and Defense Production Committee Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Vice President and Corporate Secretary of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Danny Alexander, founder of India's Forum for a New South Asia Sudheendra Kulkarni, CEO of the Energy Foundation Hal Harvey, Canadian Senator Victor Oh and others. Representatives from 16 countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, ROK, Thailand, Mongolia, France, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia and 3 international organizations such as the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, as well as domestic and foreign officers and scholars from the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and others also attended the meeting.

Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui said in his speech that while this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Cold War, non-traditional security challenges have grown in number and frequency. From the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the September 11 attacks in 2001, to the international financial crisis in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic that is still raging the world, all show that emerging non-traditional security challenges pose great threats to the survival, security and development of humanity. They also show that addressing those transnational security challenges needs transnational cooperation and no country can detach itself from it. Climate change is one of the most important and urgent non-traditional security challenges faced by the humanity.

Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui shared his four-point views with all participants.

First, transnational issues need transnational cooperation. We are happy to notice the increased political will and enhanced consensus on cooperation to jointly combat climate change by the international community. In recent months, we have witnessed the successful convening of the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, Climate Ambition Summit, One Planet Summit, and Climate Adaptation Summit. This year, in the sphere of global governance of climate change, two major events, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will be hosted by China and the UK respectively. We are also glad to see the U.S. government's announcement of its return to the Paris Agreement.

Second, China plays a leading role in global governance of climate change. It was solemnly announced by President Xi Jinping that China will scale up its national determined contributions and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. President Xi Jinping further declared concrete measures to implement these objectives, which demonstrated China's ambition to combat climate change and its determination to pursue green and low-carbon development, and boosted the confidence in global climate governance.

Third, China has achieved remarkable progress in combating climate change. Ecological progress has become an important aspect of China's five-sphere integrated plan. It is underscored in Xi Jinping's Thought on Ecological Civilization to pursue harmonious co-existence between man and nature, and uphold the principles of "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets" and "mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands are a life community". We advocate green, low-carbon, recycling and sustainable way of life and production, promote nature-based solutions, and focus on green Belt and Road international cooperation. Important results have been achieved: since 2000, one fourth of additional green spaces around the world have come from China; China's installed capacity of renewable energy now accounts for 30 percent of the world's total, and China has over half of the world's new energy vehicles.

Tibet is one of the areas with the best air quality of the world, with its water and atmosphere barely polluted till now. Tibet's ecological protection red area covers 50 percent of the region's total area. These hard-won achievements have played an important role in promoting ecological civilization in China, and contributing wisdom and strength to the global ecological governance.

Fourth, we need to elevate cooperation in the trans-Himalaya region to a new level. The Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation, which was founded in the Tibet Autonomous Region under the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018, has held two track 1.5 meetings in Nyingchi, Tibet up to now. With a large population, a vast market, closely related historical and cultural background, rich energy resources, and complimentary economies in the countries of the trans-Himalaya region, there are broad space and promising prospects for friendly exchanges and practical cooperation. Adhering to the principle of openness, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results, and official and private construction, the Trans-Himalaya Forum has provided a new platform for regional connectivity and development cooperation and secured positive outcomes. We hope all countries, especially those having close economic, trade, cultural and historical ties with the trans-Himalaya region, would pay more attention and contribute more input to the forum, explore extensive cooperation in such areas as ecological governance, discover more featured areas of cooperation and expand more opportunities for cooperation and development. China hopes to take this online event as a starting point and host ecology seminars of the Trans-Himalaya Forum on a regular basis.

Participating representatives, experts and scholars from various countries shared their views on three topics, which are useful experience and successful examples of highland ecological environment protection, suggestions about promoting international cooperation on climate change, and new thoughts on green, low-carbon and sustainable development. They highly appreciated the solemn commitments made by President Xi Jinping to combating climate change and pursuing green and low-carbon development, fully acknowledged China's remarkable results in environmental governance, ecological civilization and sustainable development, and made positive comments on China's responsibility as a major country in promoting global climate governance.

All participants believe that this seminar hosted by China amid the ravaging pandemic is of guiding value. All countries need to join hands to respond to the great challenge of climate change, take more concrete and effective measures, promote "green recovery" and sustainable development of the world economy after the pandemic, and make new progress in promoting harmonious co-existence between human and nature, economic development and environmental protection.

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