Over 30 representatives from China’s governmental departments, research institutions, and NGOs attended the Workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration and Metropolitan Water Source Protection Partnerships on 3 September, in Beijing.
The workshop was organized by Beijing Forestry Society and co-organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) China Office. Discussed was how Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) can be used to protect watersheds supplying China’s biggest cities with drinking water.
Water supply is critical to the socioeconomic development of the cities in China and the well-being of their citizens. Yet many of Chinese cities are faced with water shortages. The water challenges are caused by both increased water demand for economic development, urbanization and population growth, and the undermining water supply due to deterioration and degradation of ecosystems and forest landscapes.
The rapid urbanization and city development call for greater efforts to protect water sources and catchments of major Chinese cities and metropolitans. The workshop’s intention was, through technical presentations and group discussions, to explore the forest landscape restoration, water source protection and partnership building that are instrumental to the water source protection of the cities in China.
Specifically, the workshop performed the following roles:
- Strengthened the dialogue between stakeholders of the Miyun project
- Increased the participants’ understanding of FLR and water source protection
- Outlined objectives for the Miyun project over the next three years
- Explored the opportunities for an international cities partnership on watershed protection through landscape restoration
Stewart Maginnis, the IUCN’s Global Director of Nature Based Solutions, began the workshop’s presentations by discussing case studies, experiences and trends in Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). What can be learned from water management in the IUCN Water Programme was explained by James Dalton, Coordinator Global Water Initiatives of IUCN. His presentation was followed by presentations from NGO representatives working on forest issues in China.
In the afternoon the participants discussed in groups possible outcomes within the next three years for the Miyun Watershed Forest Landscape Restoration project. It was agreed to develop a Miyun model; to work towards the implementation of the zoning system; and to gather detailed monitoring data of three to five demonstration sites on the ground. In the following plenary discussion the focus was on how to establish a cities partnership on watershed protection through landscape restoration. “Do not concentrate too much on the bureaucracy”, Mr. Maginnis pointed out, “It is not the partnership that’s important, it is the issue!”
Overall, the delegates to the workshop all agreed that the Miyun Watershed Forest Landscape Restoration Project’s success so far gives hope for future endeavors to broaden the approach to other watersheds providing mega cities with water all over China and even abroad. IUCN China, Beijing Forestry Society and Forest Trends will closely work together to build a cities partnership for watershed protection in China.