Promoting International Cooperation in Wild Life Protection
--Remarks by H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, at the 60th anniversary of East Africa Wild Life Society
(February 7th, 2017)
Honorable Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Prof. Judi Wakhungu,
Honorable Dr. István Mikola, Secretary of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Government of Hungary,
Chairman and board members of the East Africa Wild Life Society,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning! It is my great pleasure to attend the Celebration ceremony to mark the 60th Anniversary of East Africa Wildlife Society. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, I extend warm congratulations to the East Africa Wildlife Society.
Throughout the last 60 years, the EAWLS has been committed to protecting endangered species of fauna and flora as well as a whole array of environmental resources. This has made contributed immensely to conservation efforts in East Africa and the rest of the continent. Today, protection of wildlife protection enjoys greater affirmation and positive recognition from people of all walks of life. I therefore most sincerely wish the EAWLS good tidings in the future.
The year 2017 is the year of the Rooster. In Chinese culture, rooster stands for auspiciousness, endeavor and effulgence. There is an idiom in the Chinese language "Wen Ji Qi Wu", meaning to encourage people to embrace every new day with hard work and another idiom “Jin Ji Bao Xiao” indicates that the year of the rooster will shine with great splendor. Today is the eleventh day of the Chinese New Year, therefore, I wish you and your family all have a happy and prosperous year of the Rooster.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The wildlife protection needs a guiding philosophy.
Last month, H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the United Nations Office in Geneva，in which he called for the building of community of common destiny. In his address, President Xi urged nations to press towards the achievement of shared ideals in order to record win-win development. He observed that this was possible even amid growing challenges and risks that hold the promise for better days ahead. President Xi advised “We must not exhaust all the resources passed on to us by previous generations and leave nothing to our children；or pursue development in a destructive way. Clear waters and green mountains are as good as mountains of gold and silver. We must maintain harmony between man and nature，and pursue sustainable development.” Way back around 3,000 BC, China set up the official position known as “YU”，aiming at protecting natural resources and wildlife. For thousands of years, cherished resources, protection of the environment and pursuit of greater harmony of mankind with nature has become the wealth of the ultimate Oriental wisdom and the source of power the Chinese civilization has endured through 5,000 years. We are keen to work and share experiences with international society, especially African countries in order to jointly promote wildlife protection and conservation.
Wildlife protection calls for determination and firm resolve.
As a sincere friend and reliable partner, China will focus on wildlife protection as one of the key areas of China-Africa cooperation. During the China-Africa Cooperation summit (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, December 2015, President Xi Jinping announced that China would implement China-Africa green development plan as one of the 10 major cooperation programs to boost cooperation with Africa. This will entail bolstering Africa’s capacity for green, low-carbon and sustainable development. It will also include support to Africa in launching 100 projects geared towards developing clean energy and wildlife protection.
In April 2016, H.E. President Xi Jinping wrote an official letter to H.E. President Kenyatta specially for the “Giants Club” summit, in which he emphasized that China will continuously enhance cooperation with Kenya and the international society in wildlife protection. And also during China’s Premier Li Keqiang’s visit in May 2014 to Nairobi National Park Burning Ivory site, he announced that China would extend 10 million US dollars towards wildlife protection in Africa. Over years, China has kept her promise and displayed positive, pragmatic and open attitude towards endeavours aimed at enhancing wildlife protection.
Back home in July 2016, China amended the “Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife”. This law has been taken effect since January 1st this year and will deeply infused vital and realistic significance with implications on wildlife protection, maintenance of biological diversity and ecological balance as well as the promotion of ecological civilization. A few weeks ago, China announced a phased schedule to ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017. We are so proud that this historical measure is considered by international community as the most important and far-reaching decision in wildlife protection, which also clearly affirmed China’s resolute, steady and continuous progress in this important arena.
The wild life protection calls for common action.
In order to protect the resources of wild life in Africa, my government has donated millions of dollars and provided hundreds of training opportunities to strengthen technology, cooperation and experience sharing. China, together with other countries, launched ‘Operation Cobra’ and on many occasions swung into action against illegal trade of ivory and other wildlife products. The Sino-Africa Joint Research Center in Kenya established last September, addresses issues concerning Africa’s biodiversity protection, desertification control, and modern agriculture among other critical matters, so as to strengthen Sino-Africa cooperation in the fields of eco-environment protection. Many books like “Common Plants in Kenya” were newly published and a big number of talents were trained in the program.
Our Embassy in Nairobi also pays great attention to cooperation in wildlife protection. In 2014, we assisted the law-enforcing outfits from both China and Kenya to destroy a huge ivory smuggling criminal gang. Later we held a joint seminar on wildlife protection with many renowned NGOs. In 2015, the Embassy donated wildlife protection equipment and materials to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) .Together with East Africa Wildlife Society we published Chinese/English bilingual version of SWARA Magazine. In February 2016, the Embassy encouraged more that two thousands Chinese based in Kenya to participate in a Joint Initiative dubbed “Building a good image and promoting win-win cooperation”. During this event compliance pact was signed.
With collective efforts, more and more Chinese companies have increasingly supported wildlife and environment protection. For example, under the strong guidance of Ministry of Environment, the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR is specially designed to accommodate animal passages culverts as well as bridges for animals. The SGR design also has a protective fence to animals out of harm’s way. In the course of building the SGR, Chinese personnel have been involved in assisting KWS in rescuing elephants stuck in the mud. Meanwhile, volunteers from many Chinese universities recently accompanied their counterpart from Kenya an expedition inside the great Maasai Mara National Park, again to enhance wildlife protection. Indeed, these are lots of examples in joint China-Kenya wildlife protection endeavors.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the last five decades, the global wild life protection scored many positive achievements, but still facing huge challenges such as poaching, smuggling and trafficking. The wild life protection still has a long way to go and must be strengthening international cooperation. The role of Governments, enterprises and NGOs should be well played. China has an old saying积力之所举，则无不胜也；众智之所为，则无不成也（Victory is ensured when people pool their strength; success is secured when people put their heads together.）,which has a similar one in Kiswahili “Kinga na kinga ndipo moto uwakapo”. I believe that as long as we roll up our sleeves and work harder together to deepen our cooperation in wildlife protection, to enrich our cooperation, we will definitely achieve more fruitful results, and leave a precious heritage for future generations.
I wish all of you and your family a healthy and prosperous year of the Rooster. Thank you! Asanteni Sana!