Coastal Wetlands Conservation Network Annual Conference Advances Wetlands Protection

The Paulson Institute and its partners hosted the 2019 Training Workshop and Annual Conference of the Coastal Wetlands Conservation Network today in Haikou, Hainan province. Nearly 200 participants attended the meeting, including representatives from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) and from the 11 coastal provinces of China, as well as prominent Chinese and international experts. Participants discussed priorities for the conservation and restoration of coastal wetlands, including the sustainable management of wetland ecosystems and shared coastal wetland restoration case studies from China and abroad.

“Over the past two years, the Chinese government has attached increasing importance to the conservation of coastal wetlands,” said Jerry Yu, Chief Representative of the Paulson Institute Beijing Representative Office, in his opening remarks. With this recent shift in focus, China has seen rapid progress on coastal wetlands conservation, including the recent inscription of important wetlands (Yancheng Yellow Sea Coastal Wetlands) as a World Heritage Site.

“Wetlands management authorities at all levels in China recognize that coastal wetlands conservation and restoration as important elements of Xi Jinping’s past proclamations on ecological civilization,” said Wu Zhimin, Director-General of NFGA’s Wetland Management Department. “Authorities are working to protect coastal wetlands and mangroves, and have achieved significant progress on institutional development, project implementation, and the optimization of actions to support coastal wetland conservation and restoration,” said Mr. Wu.

China’s total coastal wetland area amounts to 5.7959 million hectares, accounting for nearly 11% of China’s total wetland area. The wetlands in China’s coastal provinces are critical to millions of migratory water birds that migrate from the Arctic Circle to the southern hemisphere along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. China’s 11 coastal provinces are home to 17 globally important wetlands, 52 wetland nature reserves, and 216 national wetland parks. Although China has made considerable achievements in coastal wetland conservation, these critical sites remain under threat, primarily from population growth and economic development.

The Paulson Institute, as one of the founding operators of the Coastal Wetlands Conservation Network, will continue to work with its partners, including the NFGA’s Wetland Management Department, to support the Network’s development. Furthermore, the Institute will continue to play a bridging role for Chinese and American organizations to conduct exchanges and cooperation in the realm of coastal wetland conservation, contributing to the conservation of coastal wetlands in China and striving to develop a global ecological civilization.

About The China Coastal Wetlands Conservation Network

The China Coastal Wetlands Conservation Network was jointly launched and established by the Paulson Institute and the former Wetland Conservation Management Center of the State Forestry Administration of China (now the NFGA’s Wetland Management Department) in June 2015. It is comprised of 82 member institutions, including the wetland management authorities of the 11 coastal provinces of China, globally important wetland conservation areas, wetland nature reserves, national wetland parks, and concerned social organizations. With support from Lao Niu Foundation and Heren Charitable Foundation, the network aims to forge a long-standing platform of cooperation and communication for coastal provinces and to promote well-orchestrated conservation actions among its members through information sharing and experience exchanges. It is China’s third national wetland conservation network, following the Yangtze River and Yellow River wetland conservation networks.