Congratulations! Changde Won a “Golden Signboard” as An International Wetland City

    Date:2018-11-06 Source:Changde Official Web Portal Fonts:[ large medium small ]

         Ramsar Conference of the Parties (COP13) has taken place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from October 21 to 29, 2018. The theme for the conference is “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future”, marking the importance of urban wetlands for providing drinking water, livelihoods, recreation, flood absorption, holding temperature rise, and filtering waste.

         On October 25, 2018, the COP 13 has announced and awarded the first batch of international wetland cities. Eighteen cities around the world have won this award, six out of which are from China including Changde, Haikou, Harbin, Changshu, Yinchuan, Dongying.

         Before the conference, Changde had successfully passed the inspection implemented by the experts from Performance Office of China Convention on International Wetlands and was listed as a candidate city to apply for International Wetland City. Changde ranked the second in the six nominated domestic cities. 

         In recent years, Changde has been trying to create a new image of green city. With its aim to create an International Wetland City, Changde has initiated wetland restoration project and taken effective measures to improve the environment conditions. As a result, wetland resources and biodiversity are effectively protected.

         For Changde city, International Wetland City is not only a “golden signboard”, but also a kind of recognition of its hard work in wetland protection. It represents a major step forward for Changde to go nationwide and worldwide.

         In the promotional activity of the COP 13, the director of the Global Freshwater Policy in World Wildlife Fund (WWF) commented that, “Changde’s progress in wetland protection is notable with its protection rate reaching 70%, which can compete with any place in the world. I hope that more cities in the world can value the protection of wetland as much as Changde.”

         Zhou Derui, the Secretary of the Changde Municipal Party Committee, said, “It can be said that Changde’s application for the International Wetland City is result-oriented because Changde wishes to win the “golden signboard” as an International Wetland City, while on the other hand, it is not result-oriented because Changde also hopes that, during the applying process, all levels of government can value more about wetlands, further promote wetlands, improve wetland protection outcome, and boost local socio-economic development.”

    A “Golden Signboard” of Ecological Protection

         Wetlands, forests and oceans are known as the three major ecosystems of the earth and are known as the “kidney of the earth”.

         International Wetland Cities are nominated by government of each country and accredited by the Performance Office of Convention on International Wetlands, an agency of the United Nations. It is an international ecological signboard that enjoys international reputation and represents the highest achievement of urban wetland protection.

         There is a set of strict assessment process and evaluation criteria during the application started from July 2017. For example, the candidate city must have at least one international or national wetland park within its borders, and the wetland area should not be less than 10% of the total land area.

         The existing wetland area in Changde city occupies 190,100 hectares, accounting for 10.44% of the city’s territory. The protected wetland area reaches 133,300 hectares with a wetland protection rate of 70.15%, which basically forms a wetland community with Changde characteristics that is beneficial to ecology, people’s well-being and economy. With 8 national wetland parks, Changde possesses the most wetland parks in Hunan province. These wetland parks form a national wetland park system covering all counties and districts. Besides, Changde also possesses three National Nature Reserves including Huping Mountain National Nature Reserve, Wuyunjie National Nature Reserve and West Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve.

         In addition, as an internationally important wetland, West Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve is an important place for global migratory birds to winter, stop over and breed and is recognized by WWF as one of the world’s 200 ecological zones that are blessed with prioritized protection. The experience in terms of the restoration, reconstruction, community management and comprehensive law enforcement in Xingdongting International Wetland has been promoted throughout the country.

         With excellent “moisturizing” ability and strong determination, Changde successfully earned its place in the 6 candidate cities nominated by China in 2017. Among the 6 cities, Changde ranked the second in the comprehensive evaluation results.

     West Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve

         In 1998, the project of West Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve was approved by the Hunan Provincial People’s Government. In 2002, it was enrolled in the List of Wetlands of International Importance and has become one of the 57 internationally important wetlands in China. On December 25, 2013, West Dongting Lake Lake was upgraded to a National Nature Reserve with the approval of the State Council.

         It took a long time to protect and manage West Dongting Lake, and the project was always connected with problems concerning financial outcomes, people’s well-being, and environmental protection. However, it was such situation that enabled Changde to gradually form its own wetland protection model and theory.

         Since 2011, the Xingdongting National Nature Reserve Administration has gradually established and improved the “six-in-one” management model that features the leadership of government, coordination of departments, assistance from counties and villages, joint construction with communities, guidance from associations, and participation of the whole society. 

         The demonstration area of ecological restoration in West Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve has reached over 30,000 mu since 2011. The number of bird species has increased by 12, fish species by 2 (zander and Acipenser schrencki) and wetland vegetation by 5. Biodiversity of West Dongting Lake Lake Wetland has been effectively protected.

    Wetland Parks

         In addition to having at least one national important wetland, the construction of wetland parks has also been taken into consideration to evaluate a wetland city as a reference standard.

         There are 8 national wetland parks in Changde, including Maoli Lake National Wetland Park, Yuan River National Wetland Park, Shuyuan Islet National Wetland Park, Cenhuai National Wetland Park, Xianyang Lake National Wetland Park, Niao’er Islet National Wetland Park, Xifeng Lake National Wetland Park, Daoshui River National Wetland Park.

         Located in Jinshi of Changde, Maoli Lake is the largest lake of stream in Hunan Province and the first officially recognized national wetland park in Changde. Maoli Lake is mainly made up of wetland, fed by 99 streams, covering an area of 6250 hectares with annual water storage of 138 million m3. It has been long reputed as “the home to fishes, the heaven to birds and the kingdom to plants”, with 403 types of wetland plants and 262 types of wetland animals. 

         In March 2011, Maoli Lake was approved as a Pilot of National Wetland Parks by National Forestry Ministry. Five years later, Maoli Lake Wetland Park gained official approval as a National Wetland Park in August 2016. The construction of wetland reserves and parks not only exert great effects on ecological benefit but also on the remarkable increase of economic and social benefits.

         The protection and restoration of wetlands can promote the wetland tourism market. Changde has successfully constructed a series of scenic spots and created new tourist destinations, including Changde Poem Wall, Changde River Street, Liuye Lake Landscape Belt, Chuanzi River Scenery Belt, German Town and Old West Gate, providing attractive tourism cards for Changde to go nationwide and worldwide.

         As estimated, Changde has invested 20.07 billion yuan to wetland projects, including wetland water supplement, wetland pollution control, wetland restoration and comprehensive improvement, fundamental service facilities and sustainable use demonstration. Through River-Lake Connecting Project, the self-purification capacity of wetlands has been significantly improved. The continuous improvement has been made on the environment of drinking water resource with 86 enterprises and 877 aquatic farms shut down. Fertilizers and chemicals are strictly prohibited at the same time.

         The aforementioned measures have created favorable conditions for Changde to protect wetlands.

    To Be a City in Taohuayuan

         Besides, Changde has established and improved the regulation and legal system for wetland protection.

         Wetland ecological red lines are scientifically designed to regard wetland protection and restoration as major tasks in Beautiful Changde Construction during the period of the 13th Five-Year Plan. A safety network of wetland protection is created among districts and counties. Duty Certificate is signed among all levels of government to include wetland protection in annual performance appraisal. The effectiveness of wetland protection is strictly evaluated from perspectives of wetland area, wetland protection rate and wetland ecological condition, by which the implementation of wetland protection measures is effectively promoted.

         With the legislative power approved in 2016, Changde enacted the first local legislation to protect the environment of drinking water resource in Changde. Wetland legislative procedure was officially initiated in 2017, providing legitimate basis for wetland protection and management.

         Wetland Protection Committee has been established on the municipal and county levels. Wetland Protection Management Office has also been set up in municipal and county forestry departments to handle the daily work of wetland protection and management. Specialized protection management institutions have been founded in different nature reserves and wetland parks with professional staff in charge of the management.

         To protect wetlands not only requires the efforts of government but also needs the publicity and education system of wetland protection to make more and more citizens aware of the significance of wetlands.

         To this end, Changde education department compiles and prints textbooks on wetland protection for primary and secondary school students as well as develops courses of wetland protection for popularization of wetlands.

         Changde City Planning Exhibition Hall specially sets up sections for citizens to experience wetland environment. West Dongting Lake Wetland Publicity and Education Center in Hanshou, Maoli Lake National Wetland Park Publicity and Education Hall in Jinshi and Yuan River National Wetland Park Publicity and Education Hall in Taoyuan all increase the awareness of wetlands protection.

         Annually, on World Wetland Day and during Bird-loving week, Changde would organize and hold a variety of activities for publicity and education, including theme painting and calligraphy exhibition, photographic exhibition and knowledge contest. It would edit and release publicity materials like Scenery of West Dongting Lake Wetland, Getting to Know Wetlands and Basic Knowledge of Wetlands and Wetland Protection, as well as play publicity videos. Additionally, the sense of responsibility of citizens is promoted by voluntarily cleaning river courses, protecting birds and participating in publicity activities.

         Zhou Derui, Secretary of the Changde Municipal Party Committee, stated that the whole city should attach great importance to wetland protection and construction: “Everyone should spare no efforts to make Changde a city in Taohuayuan by further improving the ecological level.”

         Li Yan, deputy director of Performance Office of China Convention on International Wetlands, pointed out that Changde should further strengthen legislation, publicity and education of wetlands, consolidate the governing bodies of wetlands, and especially improve the protection of wetland resources. By means of these international institutions, Changde is expected to not only introduce advanced experience but also promote the experience of Changde in order to make wetlands benefit mankind.



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