Funds fundamental for key ecological functional zones
Flowers blossom at Sangke Grassland in Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Gansu, on July 16, 2016. [Photo/IC]
IN ORDER TO BETTER PROTECT its important ecological areas, China introduced a list of national key ecological functional zones in 2013. By September last year, the number of zones on the list was 676. However, many of the national key ecological functional zones are in poorer counties that need more financial assistance to manage and protect the zones. Beijing News on Tuesday commented:
The national list of key ecological functional zones shows the central government's firm determination to protect key ecological areas.
However, it should also be noted that even after their inclusion on the list some counties have not received any additional funds to protect and manage these areas. Some of these counties are quite poor, and without additional funding and support from the higher authorities it is rather difficult for them to manage and protect the ecological functional zones as they are supposed to.
Therefore, although a county has to meet higher standards of ecological protection when put on the list, in reality, the higher standards are illusory because many counties lack the necessary financial capabilities to meet the standards.
In order to solve that, higher authorities must better coordinate and increase the funds provided to the counties for the protection of key ecological functional zones.
More important, provincial-level governments need to make more detailed plans for the lower levels of government and mobilize the resources needed for them to meet the standards.
At the State level, various ministries must recognize that maintaining the health of the ecological functional zones is not the job of the Ministry of Environmental Protection alone. Merely listing counties with ecologically important areas is not enough. What is needed is money and other resources.
All these call for the co-working of multiple ministries instead of one. Only with the efforts of all will the list of national key ecological functional zones be more than just a list of places.