[Documents menu] Documents menu

China Loses 54 Billion Yuan through Desertification Every Year

Xinhua, 6 June 2001

BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The overall desert area in China is 2.622 million square kilometers, occupying 27.3 percent of the country's total land territory.

China is one of the countries most severely affected by desertification, causing annual direct economic losses valued at 54 billion yuan.

During a meeting on combating desertification Wednesday, Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Forestry Administration, said the central government has laid out plans to tackle the problem.

He said that by 2010, China will basically curb the expansion of deserts and by 2050, China will balance the development of economy, society and the environment.

China began in 1978 to implement a forest shelterbelt development program in its northern, northwestern and northeastern parts and initiated a nationwide campaign to fight against desertification in 1991.

China was one of the first countries to take action. Combating desertification is a global challenge, requiring cooperation between governments, international organizations and societies, said Hama AlbaDirllo, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

More than 50 delegates from 11 countries attended the meeting.