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China to champion wildlife, ecological conservation in Kenya: envoy

01 March 2016, 17:14

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government will proactively engage with Kenyan institutions and local communities to strengthen conservation of wildlife and other ecological treasures, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said on Monday.

Liu, in a commentary published by a local daily, the Daily Nation, said China will honor its earlier pledges to help Kenya and other African allies conserve their iconic wildlife species.

"Like Kenya, China places a high premium on eco-environmental and wildlife protection. Chinese philosophy and cultural traditions emphasize that nature and humanity are linked," Liu said.

He added that Beijing is currently working on its 13th five-year plan that roots for pursuit of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.

China is signatory to international instruments that seek to promote conservation of wildlife species currently facing the threat of illegal hunting and climate change induced vagaries.

Liu noted that China has also enacted sweeping legislation to preserve rare and endangered species.

"We acceded to CITES in 1981 and has signed agreements with Kenya and other countries on wildlife protection," said the ambassador, adding that China recently supported a comprehensive crackdown on illicit wildlife trade in the east and central African region.

As a responsible member of the global community, China has backed strategic initiatives to help eliminate the menace of wildlife crimes in Africa. Liu said Beijing has intensified awareness campaigns on wildlife protection targeting ordinary citizens.

"Last year saw two temporary bans imposed on the importation of carved African ivory and ivory products acquired as hunting trophies. The authorities also destroyed large quantities of confiscated ivory," he said.

The ambassador disclosed that China has established an international fund for elephant conservation to help African countries strengthen the protection of the iconic mammal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping in his address to the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Johannesburg in December last year pledged additional support to promote wildlife and ecological conservation in the continent.

Liu noted that lately, China and Kenya have fast-tracked the implementation of joint programs to boost wildlife protection.

"The last couple of years have seen closer cooperation between China and Kenya through joint law enforcement, capacity building and public education to promote the cause of wildlife protection," said Liu.

He noted that in 2014, Chinese and Kenyan law enforcement agencies busted a criminal gang that was smuggling ivory to the Asian giant.

Chinese businesses and expatriates based in Kenya are part of an ambitious initiative to promote wildlife conservation and friendship with the host communities.

Liu said China funded infrastructure projects have also advanced ecological protection in the Kenyan hinterland.

"Chinese companies pay great attention to wildlife protection as far as construction of projects is concerned," he added.

- Xinhua


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