The 2023 Erhai Forum on Global Ecological Civilization Construction is convened in southwest China’s Yunnan province on May 28, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Erhai Forum Secretariat]
The 2023 Erhai Forum on Global Ecological Civilization Construction, named after the renowned Erhai Lake in Dali city, gathered close to 400 representatives from government bodies, international organizations, businesses, academia, and media to discuss how to facilitate harmony between humanity and nature along the path to modernization.
Du Zhanyuan, a member of the Standing Committee of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee and president of China International Communications Group (CICG), emphasized that the ecology is crucial to human survival and development. He pointed out that Chinese modernization is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature, as articulated in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Du called for genuine multilateralism, expressing his hope that nations could exchange experiences and technologies concerning climate change, energy conservation, and emission reduction, so as to foster a global ecological and environmental governance system characterized by fairness, rationality and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Wang Xiangang, deputy secretary of the CPC Leadership Group of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province, spotlighted the abundant natural and ecological resources in Yunnan, as well as its improved environment, as illustrated by the local government’s efforts to rejuvenate the previously polluted Erhai Lake.
A 129-kilometer-long “ecological corridor” now encircles the lake. This project involved more than 790 hectares of ecological restoration, wetland development, and the construction of an extensive sewage pipeline network.
Sergio Cabrera, the Colombian ambassador to China, noted that biodiversity is essential to ecological conservation. He mentioned that China and Colombia both possess great biodiversity and plan to expand their exploration and cooperation in biodiversity conservation.
Hans Lambers, a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Australian Academy of Science, shared his insights on plant functional traits related to phosphorus nutrition in biodiversity hotspots. He also spoke about his cooperation with China Agricultural University.
In addition to government and academic efforts, corporations also have a role in promoting low-carbon development. Shi Jiaqi, vice president and general legal counsel of PepsiCo Greater China Region, highlighted that PepsiCo is developing a more sustainable, renewable, and inclusive food and beverage system to help address climate change.
The company aims to replenish 100% of the water it uses in manufacturing operations in water-scarce areas by 2025. Shi noted that a Beijing-based factory of PepsiCo currently uses 80% of the water consumed to replenish nearby wetland parks after treatment.
The Erhai Initiative is released at the 2023 Erhai Forum on Global Ecological Civilization Construction on May 28, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Erhai Forum Secretariat]
The Erhai Initiative was launched at the event, with a focus on building a cleaner world. The five pillars of the initiative include facilitating harmony between humanity and nature, recognizing lucid waters and lush mountains as invaluable assets, conserving mountain, water, forest, farmland, grassland, and desert ecosystems holistically, accelerating the green transition of development modes and lifestyles, and encouraging global efforts towards ecological civilization.
Co-hosted by CICG, the People’s Government of Yunnan Province, and the China Public Relations Association, the forum included five parallel forums. The themes encompassed building the ecological economy, the role of ecology in the Chinese path to modernization, enterprises’ contribution to low-carbon development, urban ecological product values, and biodiversity improvement.