Third national desertification control and prevention plan released
China is one of the countries which most seriously threatened by desertification. 168.7823 million hectares of land, or 17.58% of the national territory, is directly affected by it. On September 2023, China released its third dedicated plan – The National Plan of Prevention and Control of Desertification (2021-2030) -, to further refine its regulatory framework and technical guidance for desertification management. The new plan sets a number of key objectives, including that, by 2025, 6.7952 million-hectare of desertification areas should be under management, with 2 million-hectares of enclosed and forbidden reserves; and that by 2030, China 12.3982-million-hectares of desertification areas should be under management with 6 million-hectare of enclosed and forbidden reserves. This would amount to having 67% of China’s manageable desertification areas under dedicated management by 2030.
Compared with the previous 2010-2020 plan, the 2021-2030 plan pinpoints climate change as an important challenge to China’s desertification control and prevention. Meanwhile, the lack of financial investment challenge is removed. The new plan also puts more emphasis on ensuring the livelihood of local farmers and herdsmen, when previous plans that focused on resettlement have been found to impoverish them.