21 September 2023|News
During September 8th to 10th, 2023, Ms. Susan Gardner (Director of Ecosystems Division, UNEP) and Ms. Linxiu Zhang (Director of the UNEP - IEMP) paid a visit to the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Yunnan Province, China. During this visit, a fruitful seminar on "Biodiversity Conservation Efforts towards the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework" was held, where Ms. Susan Gardner expressed her purpose in exploring the endeavors of the XTBG in the realms of biodiversity conservation, ecological monitoring, and restoration. The event offered a platform for the XTBG to present their progress in various fields, including research on human-elephant conflicts, collaboration project between the National Nature Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and UNEP, ecological monitoring at field stations, scientific research activities, and environmental education initiatives. Both Ms. Susan Gardner and Ms. Linxiu Zhang lauded the remarkable research accomplishments achieved over the years by the XTBG in the fields of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. They further encouraged researchers to seamlessly integrate research and practical applications in biodiversity conservation. This integration, they believed, could serve as a valuable scientific reference for sustainable utilization of regional land resources, the enhancement of community livelihoods, and the promotion of regional socio-economic development. At the same time, the participants engaged in in-depth discussions on how to promote biodiversity conservation and restoration under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The Venue for the Seminar Apart from that, Ms. Susan Gardner and Ms. Linxiu Zhang also conducted on-site inspections of specialized botanical zones, scientific outreach facilities, and the Xishuangbanna Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem Research Station. All of these demonstrate the ecological preservation and restoration efforts within the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture. This visit signifies the importance of international collaboration in addressing critical ecological challenges that could support on science for policy for UNEP in fostering partnerships for a sustainable and biodiverse future.
28 August 2023|News
From August 18 to 21, 2023, the China Agricultural and Forestry Economics and Management Annual Conference was successfully held in Yangling, Shaanxi Province. With the theme of "Building a Strong Agricultural Country and Realizing Comprehensive Rural Revitalization", the conference invited nearly 600 experts and scholars at home and abroad to give keynote speeches and reports on academic frontiers, and arranged various forms of academic exchanges, such as the Forum for Agricultural Entrepreneurs, the World Forum on Agricultural Economics, organized symposium, and selected sections. Six members of UNEP-IEMP were invited to participate in this conference. In the afternoon of August 19, Dr. Yunli Bai organized a symposium titled "Rural Human Capital and Employment" and invited Professor Min Liu of Lanzhou University and Associate Professor Dingde Xu of Sichuan Agricultural University as discussants. There were 4 papers presented in this session and they were presented by Prof. Yu Bai from Minzu University of China, Xinrong Li, from China Agricultural University, and Jiaojiao Wu, as well as Yutong Qiu from UNEP-IEMP. Jiaojiao Wu presented the paper titled "The Evolution of Employment Quality and Occupation Types: Evidence from Rural China", which provided an empirical analysis of the differences in the employment quality of rural labor force among different occupations. Yutong Qiu gave a presentation on "The impact of Human Capital on the Employment Choice of Rural Laborers", which estimated the impact of education attainment on the formal and informal employment of rural labor. Dr. Xiangbo Xu gave a presentation titled "Land operational scale and carbon emissions from cultivation: An analysis based on national rural fixed observation data". This study identified a U-shaped relationship between land operational scale and carbon emissions from crop cultivation, and analyzed the evolutionary pattern of optimal land operation scale. Xuanye Zeng gave a presentation on "Off-farm Employment, Agricultural Production Activities and Household Dietary Diversity: Evidence from Environmentally and Economically Vulnerable Regions in Asia". This study investigated the role of off-farm employment in improving household dietary diversity through the substitution, complementarity and income effects of agricultural production activities. Dr. Bai Yunli and Dr. Xu were invited to serve as discussants for the sessions on "Human Capital" and "Ecology Governance", respectively. With above activities, UNEP-IEMP members had in-depth exchanges with scholars from Peking University, Zhejiang University, Renmin University of China, Minzu University of China, China Agricultural University, and other universities and institutes. All their research perspectives were broadened, academic researches and exchange abilities were improved. The conference laid the foundation of cooperation between UNEP-IEMP and other institutions and universities.
24 August 2023|News
The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Agricultural and Applied Economics (AAEA) was held in Washington, DC during July 23-25, 2023. The AAEA Annual Meeting is one of the most authoritative conferences in the fields of agricultural economics, development economics and resource economics. The purpose of the China Section is to promote cooperation between AAEA members and other researchers in the fields of agriculture and applied economics related to China, to disseminate knowledge and mentor young scholars interested in these field, and to serve as an academic bridge between AAEA and other scholars around the world who are interested in China's agriculture, development, and resource economics. More than 140 papers were submitted to the China Section of this annual meeting, and 32 papers were selected for the annual meeting report. Dr. Yunli Bai from the UNEP-IEMP research unit was invited to attend the China Section. Dr. Bai chaired the session on the theme "Public Policy and Inclusive Development in Rural China" and gave the oral presentation entitled "Off-Farm Employment, Agriculture Production Activities, and Household Dietary Diversity: Evidence from Five Developing Countries in Asia". This paper built a conceptual framework based on the household decision model. Based on the data collected by the UNEP-IEMP at the level of farmers and their family members in typical environment-economic fragile zones in five countries of East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the paper estimated the impact of off-farm employment on the household dietary diversity and analyzed the role of the crop diversity and livestock and poultry raising from income effect, the substitution effect and the complementary effect between agricultural and off-farm activities. After the assessment of experts, this paper won the 2023 AAEA China Section "Excellent paper Award", one of the two awarded papers. Dr. Yunli Bai was awarded the 2023 AAEA China Section "Excellent paper Award" In addition, Dr. Bai also participated 3 keynote presentations and 6 session presentations, as well as had interactive discussions with scholars from many universities in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. She said that her research perspective was broadened, research method was improved, and established contacts with young scholars from many universities, laying a foundation for further exchanges and cooperation in the future.
24 August 2023|News
From 22-23 August 2023, the 1st Youth Innovation Forum on Digital Earth was successfully held in Beijing. With the theme of "Digital Earth in Support of Global Sustainable Development", the Forum aims to promote academic exchanges among young scientists in the field of Digital Earth and related disciplines and contribute their ideas and strength to global sustainable development. The Forum was hosted by the International Society for Digital Earth, the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals, and the Aerospace Information Research Institute Chinese Academy of Sciences, and organized by the International Society for Digital Earth - Young Scientist Innovation Network (ISDE-YSIN) and Nanjing Normal University. The Forum included 1 distinguished lecture, 6 keynote speeches and 13 sessions. A total of 90 oral presentations were conducted, attracting more than 150 attendees on site. Dr. Chao Fu from the UNEP-IEMP’s Research Unit was invited to attend the session of "Excellent Paper Award" at this Forum and made a presentation on a research paper titled with "Women's intra-household decision-making and household dietary diversity in environmentally and economically vulnerable areas of Asia: The role of crop diversity". In this paper, the UNEP-IEMP research team analyzed data collected through face-to-face interviews with more than 1,100 farmers in typical vulnerable areas of five Asian countries, including Nepal and Cambodia, and found that women’s intra-household decision-making on crop choice was highly associated with the household dietary diversity score. The finding implies that women’s intra-household decision-making on crop choice can enhance both agrobiodiversity conservation and food security. The paper was reviewed by experts and announced to be one of the four winners of the "Excellent Paper Award" at the closing ceremony of the Forum. Participants of the session themed by "Regional Sustainable Development and Strategy Analysis" In addition, Dr. Chao Fu attended sessions such as that themed by "Regional Sustainable Development and Strategy Analysis" and had interactive discussions with the speakers. He expressed that the Forum broadened his research perspectives and help establish contacts with young scholars from ISDE-YSIN and various universities and research institutions, laying the foundation for further exchanges and cooperation in the future.
23 August 2023|News
The United Nations Environment Programme-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) successfully held its 7th Climate-Ecosystems-Livelihoods seminar titled "Climate change and low-carbon transition pathways" in the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences on 22 August 2023. The seminar was given by Dr. Jing Meng, Professor of University College London, research fellow of Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance in Cambridge University, and facilitated by Mingxing Sun, senior researcher of UNEP-IEMP. Under the background of pursuing sustainable development, Prof. Meng shared the current research results from three aspects. Firstly, based on the inventory analysis research, the impact of economic globalization and trade on carbon emissions is modeled. The reduction pressure and unfairness of carbon emissions caused by increased demand are calculated from the demand side, and the impact of multinational corporations on carbon emissions in the industrial chain is concerned from the company scale. Secondly, from the perspective of policy, the socio-economic factors affecting carbon emissions are discussed. Taking emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region as an example, the heterogeneous roles of different energy policies in energy transition are compared. Finally, to explore how to achieve coordinated emission reduction of carbon and other pollutants, Prof. Meng pointed out that emission reduction requires the efforts of various industries, among which the path of emission reduction is more important. Emission reduction depends on technological progress. However, the current prediction model is difficult to accurately describe the development of technology. In the future, it is necessary to incorporate the uncertainty of technological development into the model and pay attention to developing countries. During the interactive session, Prof. Meng answered questions about the effects of emission reduction policies in different countries and the embodied carbon emissions in the industry, and fully discussed with the participants on topics such as technology forecasting and policy formulation. Low-carbon transformation is the way to promote sustainable development and achieve economic and environmental decoupling. It is closely related to the goal of UNEP-IEMP's Flagship Programme on Climate, Ecosystems, and Livelihoods (CEL) to adopt integrated approaches to achieve win-win of ecosystem protection and livelihood improvement. The seminar increases the understanding and thinking on how to achieve low-carbon transformation under the current social and economic background, builds a platform for interdisciplinary academic exchanges, and further strengthens the communication and exchange between the center and domestic and foreign scientific research institutions and universities.
18 July 2023|News
On June 10-11,2023, the Third Taklimakan Desert Forum and the Second African Green Great Wall Capacity Building Workshop were successfully organized in Korla city of Xinjiang, China, with over 180 participants from China and 14 developing countries. Ms. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, was invited to givea keynote presentation on "Ecosystem Restoration with Nexus Approaches: Actions, Impacts and Implications". Ms. Linxiu Zhang emphasized the importance and progress of promoting nexus approach for sustainable development, and introduced some UNEP-IEMP actions, impacts and implications of nexus approach. Through the cases of building ecological green belt in Mauritania and empowering women on climate smart-agriculture in Ningxia, China, they well reflected the required efforts for multidisciplinary and cross-sector coordination, traditional wisdom and community participation, action-research to enhance science-policy interface, and women empowerment. Ms. Zhang elaborated on the important global opportunities and linkages towards the United Nations Decade of Ecological Restoration, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the UN Food System Transformation. Director Linxiu Zhang gave a keynote presentation The Forum was jointly organized by the Bureau of International Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Association for Science and Technology of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Alliance of International Science Organizations and the Secretariat of the Pan-African Green Great Wall. The conference aims to share China's desertification control technologies and experiences, promote cooperation and exchanges between China and other countries in the field of land degradation and desertification control, and contribute to these goals like land degradation neutrality by 2030 and reduce degraded land by 50% by 2040. During this conference, UNEP-IEMP also had discussion with different teams from Africa, Central Asia and China on the cooperation opportunities. For more, please go to Chinese, African experts call for collaboration against desertification-Xinhua (; Interview: China's anti-desertification experience conducive to global green development, UN official says-Xinhua (
17 July 2023|News
8-9 July 2023, the Eco Forum Global Guiyang 2023 was successfully held in Guiyang International Ecological Conference Center. The sub-forum on "Lucid Waters and Lush Mountains are Invaluable Assets: Innovations in Practice" hosted by the Guizhou Provincial People's Government, organized by the China Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and the Guizhou Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment, and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the China Environmental Protection Foundation was held in the afternoon of July 8. The sub-forum focuses on the practical innovation of the "Green is Gold" concept and is organized around two topics: "Ecological Civilization and Modernization of Harmonious Coexistence between Humanity and Nature" and "Practicing the Idea of 'Green is Gold' and Promoting Green and Low Carbon Development". In total, the Eco Forum Global Guiyang attracted more than 3,200 delegates from 42 countries and regions around the world. Director Zhang Linxiu was invited to host the first dialogue "Ecological Civilization and Modernization of Harmonious Coexistence between Humanity and Nature". In the second dialogue "Practicing the Idea of 'Green is Gold' and Promoting Green and Low Carbon Development", she introduced the UNEP The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) agri-food system assessment in the national "Green is Gold" practice innovation base Tengchong City, Yunnan Province. Director Zhang Linxiu began by emphasizing that TEEB's work in Tengchong is part of UNEP's efforts to support its member countries in their green transformation and achieving the SDGs. By conducting an economic assessment of different policy pathways in Tengchong’s agriculture and food systems, both visible and invisible costs and benefits are revealed to support the development and improvement of sustainable agriculture policies for agri-food system transformation. Five key messages from the TEEB Tengchong assessment were shared with the audience: 1. Tengchong City is rich in the values of ecosystem regulation services such as water regulation and purification, soil conservation, and carbon sequestration, and they are insensitive to different agricultural development pathways. This indicates that the ecosystems in Tengchong City are resilient enough to resist exogenous disturbances. Natural capital is one of the foundations of local economic and social development. For years, the forest cover in Tengchong has been maintained above 75%, which is related to the long-term protection of natural ecosystems by national and local policies. 2. Tengchong City's forest system has a strong natural carbon sink function, with carbon sequestration of 37.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2020. In contrast, the greenhouse gas emissions from Tengchong City's agricultural system are relatively small: in 2020 agriculture GHG emissions account for about 2.67% of its annual carbon sequestration; by 2050, the proportion is expected to be around 5%. Different agricultural development paths will not change the fact that Tengchong functions as a carbon sink. 3. Nitrogen and phosphorus emissions from water pollution in agricultural systems need to be taken seriously. The nitrogen consumed by the water purification function of the natural ecosystem accounts for less than 7% of the total nitrogen discharge, and the phosphorus consumed accounts for less than 25% of the total phosphorus discharge. This indicates that the water pollution caused by the agro-food system far exceeds the purification capacity of the natural ecosystem itself. Therefore, the management of manure wastewater from beef cattle breeding should be strengthened, and the leaching of fertilizers should be further reduced. 4. Comparing the different agricultural development paths, it is found that the total net value of the natural, economic, and social effects of the "positive" development path is higher than that of the "baseline" and the "negative" paths. For example, in the 2050 simulation scenario, the total net value of the "positive" pathway is 7% higher than that of the "baseline" scenario and 10% higher than that of the "negative" scenario. From a health point of view (spillover effect), the "positive" development path leads to fewer negative impacts on human health, especially in the long term. 5. Analyzing the decision-making of farmers, who are the main actors in the transformation of the agrifood system, it was found that choosing a more ecologically friendly way of farming does not entail more economic pressure than other ways of farming when only considering farming expenditures and revenues; and that in the long run, their net income can still increase by a small amount. Director Zhang Linxiu introducing the UNEP TEEB Agri-food system assessment in the national "Green is Gold" practice innovation base Tengchong City, Yunnan Province At the end of the sharing, Ms. Zhang Linxiu conveyed the expectation of Mr. Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China and President of COP15, on the work of TEEB in China: to further enrich the application in specific fields and scenarios, to make the socio-economic activities more biodiversity friendly. This was raised during the TEEB side event held last year in Montreal during the second phase of CBD COP15.
07 July 2023|News
During June 26-27, 2023, the "3rd Conference on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL) -- Addressing the Nexus Issues on Food Security & Food System Resilience in Africa" was organized successfully and fruitfully at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference was organized by UNEP-IEMP and AGRA- Sustainably Growing Africa's Food Systems, with support from UNEP, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). With an overall aim to promote the coordination and integration of the cooperation mechanisms between partners to address issues and challenges on sustainable development, especially on food security and food system resilience through nexus approach in Africa, the conference brought approximately 100 participants from 35 institutions of the Global South - governments, non-governmental organizations,academic institutions, as well as regional, international and sister UN agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). At the opening session, Ms. Susan Gardner (Director of Ecosystems Division, UNEP) stressed the significance of food security and resilience in relation to the triple planetary crisis of climate,nature,andpollution, and that the collective actions are needed. She also encouraged the scientists and stakeholders from China, Africa and beyond to work together to deliver powerful science for policy and towards expediting practical solutions to addressing the SDGs. Ms. Aggie Konde (representing Ms. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President) emphasized the urgency from testing to scaling up the actions to address the food challenges in Africa under the changing climate while also protecting ecosystems. She also expressed her appreciation that this conference was also to materialize the cooperation of AGRA-UNEP with everyone as part of the journey. Likewise, Mr. Yan Zhuang (Director of Division of International Organization Programs, CAS) encouraged everyone to join hands to overcome global issues and gave relevant examples of international cooperation under CAS, including UNEP-IEMP (jointly established between CAS and UNEP) and Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (between CAS and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya). During the course of the conference, more than 40 presentations were made around the issues of food security in Africa. These include Africa study findings from 15 ongoing UNEP-Africa-China cooperation projects, global or UN level initiatives actions to address cross linkages and nexus issues. There were discussions on challenges, gaps and opportunities facing Africa on food security, including sustainable food production and consumption, sustainable land and natural resources management along with livelihood security, food system vulnerabilities and resilience. Importantly, key areas for cooperation were also defined, including capacity building programme for systems thinking, inter-regional and regional peer learning and collaboration (including China-Africa cooperation), empowering to farmers and bottom up approach on technology transfer, technology research cooperation and integrated land use planning and management. At the end of the conference, Ms. Linxiu Zhang (Director of UNEP-IEMP) delivered her closing speech that the conference was a real feast of scientific knowledge exchange from all the disciplines and encouraged everyone to further enrich knowledge and expand network. UNEP-IEMP would be happy to continuously play the convening role when there is a need. Ms. Linxiu Zhang delivering a closing speech This CEL Africa conference is part of the continued effort of UNEP’s flagship programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL), launched in 2016 and implementation led by UNEP-IEMP, to assist countries in the Global South to improve livelihoods through ecosystem restoration and conservation in the context of climate change. South-South Cooperation is a key feature of the CEL implementation and Africa is one of the CEL’s focal geographical areas. Expertise from China has been mobilized by UNEP-IEMP to enhance partnership on science, technology and policy related to CEL topics together with the African partners and other international experts. Group photo of all participants This conference was well reported by media, please see below links. Chinese, African scientists call for climate-resilient food systems to beat hunger The 3rd Conference on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Africa, focusing on Africa food security
16 June 2023|News
From 2 to 12 June 2023, Dr. Fu Chao and Dr. Li Li from the UNEP-IEMP Research Unite traveled to Uganda and Kenya and conducted field research and exchange activities on sustainable water resource utilization strategies in the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB). These activities were supported by an international cooperation project on "Sustainable Water Resources Utilisation and Integrated Lake Basin Management in the Great Lakes Basin of East Africa" under the National Key Research and Development Programme of China. The team presented and exchanged the project's preliminary research results and actively communicated with local researchers and managers, with the aim of formulating key strategies and policy recommendations for enhancing the multiple benefits of water resource utilization in the LVB. The team first tripped to Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda and met with other project members to discuss water use and sustainable agricultural development in the LVB. During the trip, they visited the Uganda Aquatic Research and Development Centre (China-Uganda Friendship Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center) nearby Kampala, where they witnessed the innovative initiatives undertaken by the China-FAO-Uganda South-South cooperation project (Phase III) to enhance sustainable agricultural practices. From Uganda, the team traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to attend a project workshop at the Sino-African Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC) located at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The workshop brought together researchers from project participating institutions such as the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology (NIGLAS), Wuhan University, and Nanjing University, and project collaborators such as the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI) of Uganda, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI), JKUAT and Kenyatta University. The participants presented their research work, focusing on the themes of water resources monitoring data and watershed management techniques and policies in the East African Great Lakes region. Discussions ensued on effectively integrating scientific research with regional policies. Dr. Fu Chao presented case studies on household livelihoods and water use in the Mwanza region of Tanzania, highlighting the key role of integrated water resources management in promoting sustainable development in the region. After the workshop, the UNEP-IEMP team alongside other project team members, continued to Kisumu, Kenya, where they visited the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and the KMFRI Kisumu Centre. They briefed the institution representatives and researchers on the project's overall status and research priorities and to explore possible ways of aligning the research findings with their institutional mission and ongoing project activities. In addition, the project team visited local fishing communities and their fishing cooperatives to learn about the characteristics of the cage-fishery technologies they have been developing in recent years and to provide preliminary recommendations on related issues. Through this visit, UNEP-IEMP and the entire project team deepened their understanding of water resources management challenges and opportunities in the LVB. They strengthened the links and communication channels with local institutions and researchers, laying a good foundation for further work in the region. The project team will continue contributing to resource and environmental management and prosperity in the region and beyond through collaborative research, knowledge sharing, and stakeholder engagement.