China to Establish Protected Natural Area System with National Parks as the Main Body
In June 2019, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council released the Guiding Opinions Concerning the Establishment of the Protected Natural Area System with National Parks as the Main Body, along with a notice requiring thorough implementation of the Opinions by all departments in different places of the country in combination with their practical conditions.
The Opinions requires establishing a protected natural area system with national parks as the main body and highlighting Chinese characteristics. According to the Opinions, by 2020, a general planning of the layout and development of national parks and various protected natural areas should be formulated, pilots for the national park system should be finished, and a group of national parks should be set up. By 2025, the national park system should be further improved. By 2035, the protected natural area system with Chinese characteristics should be fully established, and the scope of protected area should occupy over 18% of the total land territory. To achieve these goals, four measures were stipulated. Firstly, a scientific and rational protected area system should be set up. In this system, the functional orientation of protected areas should be clarified, the categories of protected areas should be made clear, the main body position of national parks should be set up, the planning for protected areas should be compiled, the overlapping protected areas should be cleared up, and the peripheral protected areas should be integrated and optimized. Secondly, a unified and standardized management system should be formed. The protected areas should be under unified management, related management responsibilities should be practiced at classified levels, the scope of protected areas should be rationally adjusted and land marks should be established, related rights of natural resource assets should be clarified and registered, and a differentiated management and control of protected areas should be applied. Thirdly, the protected area construction and development mechanism should be innovated. The construction of protected areas should be further enhanced, the historical problems should be classified and addressed in order, the system related to using natural resources should be innovated, and a sharing mechanism for all people should be explored. Finally, the monitor and assessment of the ecological environment in protected areas should be strengthened. The most rigid ecological environment protection measures should be put into force, and efforts should be put into monitoring, assessing, examining, law-enforcing, and inspection of protected areas, so as to form a completed system for the inspection and management of the protected areas.