China’s extraordinary efforts to improve its biodiversity have been noticed in Hungary, and there is great potential for both countries to work together on the cause of sustainability, the Hungarian ambassador to China said.
Mate Pesti said that China, as one of the world’s mega-biodiverse countries, has over the years used targeted legislation and action plans to make strides in biodiversity protection.
“The carefully orchestrated measures resulted in the creation of thousands of protected areas, botanical gardens and arboreta, zoos, long- and medium-term banks, marine reserves, which now conserve tens of thousands of species, and through its rigorous reforestation efforts, forest cover now accounts for more than 20 percent of its total land area,” the ambassador said.
Pesti also cited China’s role in hosting the first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference, also known as COP 15, which wrapped up in Kunming last month.
The ambassador said the world can now look forward to the Planet Budapest 2021 Sustainability Expo and Summit, the largest international event of its kind to be held in Central Europe. It opens on Nov 29 in the Hungarian capital.
He said that Hungary played a role in establishing the world’s first five-sided biosphere, the Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. The opening of the UNESCO-backed project marks a milestone in efforts to conserve Central Europe’s largest river system and its wildlife.
“By the shared vision and rigorous conservation efforts of our countries, there is plenty of room for international cooperation in the fields of biodiversity know-how and peer-to-peer exchanges,” he said.
He said Hungary’s climate and ecological protection plan puts a major emphasis on sustainability. It includes the electrification of transport, a ban on single-use plastic products, large renewable energy plants, the elimination of illegal waste dumping, and the issuance of government-backed green bonds along with increased reforestation.
“These steps, along with the general vision and efforts of the government for the digitalization of the economy and society, ensure that Hungary will tackle the adverse effects of human activity, promote our goals of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, and walk the path of sustainability in the post-2020 world,” he said.
He said that even under optimistic forecasts, human population and consumption are going to grow dramatically in the coming decades. But there has been a growing understanding that human activity in its current state is unsustainable, and immediate steps are needed to ensure the well-being of the planet and secure the future of humanity, the ambassador said.
The Budapest sustainability expo and summit was conceived with these ideas in mind, with the objective of offering innovative solutions to the challenges of sustainability, Pesti said.
He said that Hungary has always maintained excellent relations with China, with bilateral cooperation extending into many fields.
The ambassador highlighted how Chinese companies have been leading developers of 5G mobile technologies, which have the potential to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint and contribute to the idea of a global ecological civilization.
Europe’s first smart railway hub was established recently in Hungary, in a project undertaken by Hungary’s East-West Intermodal Logistics, Huawei Hungary, and Vodafone Hungary.
“The hub will use cutting-edge 5G technologies for its top-to-bottom operational functions, which further reduces its ecological footprint, in the most ecologically sustainable forms of intercontinental transportation, railway transport,” Pesti said.
There are also quite a few successful examples of Chinese companies developing projects in the field of renewable and clean energy, such as solar power, in Hungary, he added. Furthermore, the supply chain for lithium batteries is also an important driver for sustainability.
The many different trade and aid policies being pursued by China globally have been heavily criticised but can developing countries become more independent or will China’s policy reform?