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Cultivating the future: nature based solutions for sustainability - 28 October 2021

Please note that this event has passed.


On 28 October we hosted an online panel session examining nature-based solutions for sustainability. On this page you can find the link to the event recording.

Topic summary

The natural environment is facing an unprecedented threat. Human interventions in the ecosystem, including rapid agricultural production; natural resource extraction; overfishing; pollution and the destruction of wildlife habitats, has led to devastating biodiversity loss over the past few decades. On our current global warming trajectory, it’s estimated that in the next 80 years, up to 50% of species will not be able to adapt.

While typically biodiversity protection and climate change policies have been treated as two separate sets of challenges, it is increasingly recognised that the two are inextricably intertwined. In June 2021, the United Nations announced it now aims to tackle biodiversity and climate change together – looking at the social impacts of both.

China is home to 14% of the world’s animals and 10% of plant species and as it continues to advance its economy, along with other countries, it wrestles with the balance of cultivating its economic, and environmental, future.

As the host of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in Kunming to be held in early 2022, China is taking a global leadership role to explore how governments, the private sector, e-NGOs and communities can work together to put a stop to devastating destruction of the natural world.

This event explored China’s goals for COP15, how biodiversity and climate change were tackled at COP26 and how nature can provide solutions for sustainability.

About the speakers

Dr Sam Geall, CEO, China Dialogue

Sam Geall is Executive Director of China Dialogue and associate faculty at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on climate policy and politics, energy transition, and environmental governance in China, as well as the impact of Chinese investment through the Belt and Road Initiative. He edited China and the Environment: The Green Revolution (Zed Books, 2013). Sam’s writing has appeared in many leading publications, including The Guardian, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Index on Censorship, and Nikkei Asian Review. He has been interviewed extensively by media outlets including the BBC, PRI, Al Jazeera, and Monocle 24.

Dr Li Guo, Lau China Institute, King's College London

Li Guo is a Research Associate at the Lau China Institute, King's College London. She is a specialist on Chinese environmental politics. Her research focuses on biodiversity protection, genetically modified food policies, and national parks regulation. She has examined different modes of public participation and contestation at the interface between environmental conservation and economic interests in China.

Dr Jinfeng Zhou, Secretary-General, CBCGDF

Dr Jinfeng Zhou is the Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), a leading independent environmental NGO based in China.

Dr. Zhou is also an Executive Committee Member of the Club of Rome, a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) of IUCN, and an expert of the Global Pact for the Environment, and a researcher at the Theoretical Research Base of Environmental Justice of the Supreme People's Court of China.

Believing public participation is the key to effective conservation with maximum efficiency, the public fundraiser has financed hundreds of grassroots ENGOs and community-level projects over the past five years. He innovatively pioneered a new type of protected area - the Community Conservation Area (CCAfa) system in 2016 - to explore other effective measures in biodiversity conservation. CBCGDF has supported the establishment of more than 150 CCAfa's in over 30 provinces throughout China, whose various protection objectives include biodiversity, natural landscape, natural resources and cultural heritage, and fighting against wildlife crimes.

Chair: Vincent Ni, China Affairs Correspondent, The Guardian

Vincent is currently the China Affairs correspondent for The Guardian in London, covering the world's most populous nation and its evolving place in Asia and in the world.

Prior to the Guardian, Vincent was a Senior Journalist at the BBC between April 2014 and April 2021. Whilst at the BBC, he also launched BBC Asia Brief, an internal forum that broadens conversations about East and Southeast Asia and their relationship with the rest of the world for BBC editors and reporters. His work has appeared on the BBC’s flagship programs such as Newshour, Dateline London, and From Our Own Correspondent.

Vincent is a graduate of Oxford University. In 2018, he was selected as one of the 16 Yale World Fellows. In June 2021, he presented the hour-long BBC world service radio documentary When Kisssinger went to China. In 2019, he launched the Asia Matters podcast.


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