Paulson Institute Announces New Partnerships to Launch Conservation Projects around China’s Coastal Wetlands

Beijing, ChinaThe Paulson Institute today announced the launch of three inaugural wetlands projects under its Conservation program, focused on preservation of natural resources in China. The Paulson Institute also established a partnership with the Lao Niu Foundation today, accepting a $1 million grant presented by foundation chairman Niu Gensheng to support the implementation of these conservation projects.

The Paulson Institute will oversee and provide technical guidance on the three coastal wetlands projects, implemented by local government and nonprofit partners including The Convention on Wetlands Management Office, P.R. China hosted by the State Forestry Administration, the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the East-West Center.

“As a lifelong conservationist, I see the unmatched value of China’s wetlands on our global ecosystems—particularly since China and the US share many ecological links.  I am delighted that our countries are working together to protect them through these partnerships and grateful for the Lao Niu Foundation’s generous support.  As our demands on the environment increase?for food production, water consumption and land development?we need to ensure that we preserve these critical and delicate life-supporting ecosystems,” Paulson Institute Chairman Henry M. Paulson, Jr. said.

Mr. Paulson was joined by Director General of the State Forestry Administration’s Convention on Wetlands Management Ma Guangren, International Crane Foundation Research Associate Su Liying, and Vice President Zhou Chenghu and Professor Yu Xiubo from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research to sign letters of agreement to formally launch the Coastal Wetland Conservation Blueprint Project, the Wetland Conservation Training and Networking Project and Poyang Lake Pilot Project. Two of these projects will focus on building a national strategy for coastal wetland conservation as well as developing best practices for the management of the coastal wetlands. The third project will focus on implementing advanced conservation approaches and piloting adaptive management procedures for the water and fishery resources in the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve.  These partnerships and projects to protect China’s critical ecosystems complement broader efforts to build a more Beautiful China.

Additionally, to formalize the grant that will support the implementation of these projects possible, Paulson Institute Executive Director Cynthia Zeltwanger and Lao Niu Foundation Secretary General Lei Yongsheng signed a letter of agreement, joined by East-West Center Director Carol Fox and China Philanthropy Research Institute Dean Wang Zhenyao.

Following the presentation of the grant, Niu Gensheng said, “Our foundation is pleased to partner with Mr. Paulson and the Paulson Institute in support of these conservation projects. Wetlands around the world face ecological destruction, and together we are taking an important step toward necessary preservation.”

China’s coastal wetlands are life-supporting habitats that sustain irreplaceable biodiversity, including millions of migratory water birds at the top of the food chain, along with many unique species of plants and other animals. They are a critical ecological link between China and the United States. For example, migratory shorebirds like the bar tailed godwit call both China’s coastal wetlands and America’s Alaskan tundra home. Among their many essential functions, coastal wetlands also sustain commercially important fisheries, protect coastal communities from extreme weather events and can be important sources of carbon dioxide.

More about the projects:

  • Coastal Wetland Conservation Blueprint Project: In partnership with The Office of Wetlands Conservation and Management under the State Forestry Administration and the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, this project will produce a comprehensive set of policy recommendations in order to lay a solid foundation for developing a well-informed national strategy for coastal wetland conservation.
  • Wetland Conservation Training and Networking Project: The Paulson Institute and its partners at the East-West Center will conduct a training and networking project to help ensure that wetland managers and relevant government officials have the knowledge and tools they need in their work to preserve critical wetlands and surrounding areas. The project will also help to establish a network of managers from coastal wetland nature reserves and facilitate ongoing coordination and the sharing of best practices.
  • Poyang Lake Pilot Project: Poyang Lake — the largest freshwater lake in China – is the most important wintering habitat for huge populations of water birds in East Asia, including almost all the global population of the critically endangered Siberian Crane, most of the endangered Oriental Storks, and five species of wild geese. In this project, PI will work with International Crane Foundation and many other partners to explore advanced conservation approaches and international best practices, while piloting adaptive management procedures for the water birds, water and fishery resources in the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve.