Wetland protection and restoration system

China Daily, January 14, 2017
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The State Council, China's Cabinet, recently issued a plan for the protection and restoration of wetlands. It stipulates that with joint efforts from central and local governments, the total area of wetlands should be preserved, with the water quality in over 80 percent of rivers and lakes higher than the required standard.

According to the plan, by 2020 the overall area of wetlands across the nation should be no less than 800 million mu (53.3 million hectares), and the area of natural wetlands should not be less than 700 million mu.

The wetlands will be classified into national, local, and common wetlands according to the location, ecological function and biodiversity, and they will be strictly managed and monitored by governments at various levels. National parks, nature reserves and special marine preservation zones should be established to strengthen protection.

The plan calls for clear separation of fiscal and spending rights between central and local governments on management of different types of wetlands.

Meanwhile, a reward and punishment system should be established, with lifelong accountability for major government officials in wetlands protection. Those who destroy wetlands should repair the area and be put behind bars if they commit crimes.

The plan also urges more legal, financial, and scientific support to protect and increase wetland areas, and strengthen supervision to maintain wetlands recovery and hold those responsible for any illegal actions accountable.