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China study tour: Thai NGOs play important role in ecosystem management

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Written by Administrator

Thursday, 10 December 2009 10:07


Dr Guangchun Lei is one of the architects of Integrated River Basin Management, a framework that has now been adopted in seven river basins in China. Still, he wondered what he would find on a recent study tour to the mangroves of Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand’s south.

Both countries have adopted a system of river basin administration – but the extent of community involvement is different.

- We learned that NGO involvement in natural resources management is very popular here in Thailand, and the problems faced here are very similar to ours, said Dr Lei, who is currently heading up a major study on ecosystems services for the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).

SEI is partnering with the China Council on this study, supported by the Canadian government with funding of USD 350,000.

Reduces tension
As part of the joint study, 15 Chinese scientists visited Thailand in November for a meeting with partners and a field trip. SEI has been working with local NGOs in Nakhon Si Thammarat on mangrove restoration and community management, and the visit was an opportunity to demonstrate joint government-community responses to environmental degradation in their area.

Dr Ming Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was interested to see the use of watergates to prevent salinity intrusion.

- Local people have come up with a number of solutions to the problems of acidity and salinity in that area. Projects like this reduce tension caused by natural resource conflicts, he said.

- We saw how important local NGOs are as a bridge between local communities and the government.

Valuing Chinese ecosystems
SEI and the China Council’s Task Force on Ecosystems Services and Management are developing scenarios for the valuation of ecosystem services in China.

The taskforce is to assess the current status of ecosystems services in China and to analyze the potential contribution of ecosystems services management to the future development.

Different scenarios are projected with a particular focus on the role of forests, wetlands, grasslands and croplands. Building on these analytical products, the task force aims to enhance the understanding of senior policy makers on the relationship between ecosystems services management and national sustainable development, and to identify appropriate policies and actions for the management of forests, wetlands and grasslands to sustain and enhance ecosystems services flows.

The project will present its final report in September 2010.

The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) is an advisory body established in 1992 by the Chinese Government. In the past fifteen years, the Council has advised Chinese decision-makers on the links between environmental protection and economic development.

CCICED is chaired by Mr. Li Keqiang, Deputy Prime Minister of China, Mr. ZHOU Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection and Ms. Margaret Biggs, President of Canadian International Development Agency.

Its members include officers from different Chinese Ministries and well-recognised international and national academics, researchers and experts on environment and development.

For more information, contact SEI Asia Scientific Director John Soussan.
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