by Wang Xiangjiang
WINDHOEK, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- China has been successful in combating desertification in a sustainable way after years of unremitting efforts which focused on combining the resources of both the public and private sectors, said the head of the special UN body on anti-desertification.
Speaking to Xinhua in an interview here, Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said what he saw during his field trips to China's desert control areas has been "impressive."
The Chinese approach to combating desertification has been improved so much over the years, he said. "Today, the public policies are quite successful in bringing all stake holders to the fight against desertification."
China is a country severely affected by expanding deserts, with a desertification area of 2.62 million square km, which accounts for 27 percent of the country's total land area. After decades of joint efforts by the Chinese government and people, desertification in China has been initially reversed.
"I have been in areas where private sector, public sector and elders are working together in combating desertification," said Gnacadja, recalling his visits.
Gnacadja said that the Chinese public policies are successful because they are providing two things -- the conducive environment and the incentives related to it, and a framework of accountability.
The UNCCD chief was here attending the ongoing 11th session of the Conference of Parties (COP11) to the UN anti-desertification convention, where over 2,000 delegates from around the world met over ways to counter the threat of expanding deserts across the globe.
During the UNCCD conference, Chinese delegates shared with colleagues from around the world China's theoretical concepts in controlling desertification, which can be summarized into three aspects -- the integration of desert prevention, control and utilization; the joint efforts by the government, businesses and the people with the government playing the leading role; formulating relevant laws and policies and promoting exemplary models.
"Government should be providing incentives and putting in place the monitoring framework to ensure that those who do well are rewarded and those not doing the right thing are kept on check," he said. "That is what we need."
Gnacadja, who has been leading UNCCD for the past six years, added that China has done it right by making huge investment in forestry and sustainable land management in recent years.
COP11 is Gacadja's third and last COP as the executive secretary of the UNCCD, the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils.
Last year's Rio+20 summit constitutes a major milestone for the convention as world leaders committed to gear the planet towards a land-degradation neutral world. This was achieved under Gnacadja's tenure.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Monique Barbut of France as the next UNCCD head for a three-year term, taking effect as of Oct. 1, 2013.