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“Technology-empowered Desert Control for the Benefit of Mankind” - The ninth Kubuqi International Desert Forum (KIDF)

2023-09-27 | Xinhua


Photo taken on August 24 shows a photovoltaic base in Ordos, China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where the 9th Kubuqi International Desert Forum is held from August 25 to 27. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

The 9th Kubuqi International Desert Forum concluded on August 27, 2023. The 9th Kubuqi International Desert Forum Consensus released at the closing ceremony proposes: The international community should work together to implement the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), conduct policy dialogue and information sharing, jointly address desertification, drought and the disastrous dusty wind weather caused by them, lead desertification control with science and technology, promote sustainable development, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind, let the desert benefit mankind.

During the Forum, around 300 politicians, businessmen, experts and scholars from home and abroad shared and exchanged the latest achievements of global desertification control technologies and models, and discussed how to strengthen the supply of scientific and technological innovation in desertification control.

Technology-empowered desert control, Kubuqi desertification control method has attracted attention again 

The theme of this forum is " Technology-empowered desert control for the benefit of mankind". Kubuqi desertification control model has become a major focus of the forum.

In the hinterland of the Kubuqi Desert, located in the Hangjin Banner of Ordos City, the sand control workers showed the participants the minimally invasive airstream planting technology: A small hole with a diameter of several centimeters and a depth of one meter is punched out in the sand by using a pressurized water jet, and then the saplings are quickly planted in, which takes only 10 seconds to complete the planting. "It only takes three liters of water to plant each tree, and the survival rate of seedlings can reach more than 90%." Tian Wang, a desertification control engineer at ELION Resources Group, said.

Compared with the manual control of desertification, mechanized control of desertification has more advantages. In recent years, the sand control machinery developed in China has played a vital role in desertification control. Mechanized equipment such as polyethylene mesh sand barrier laying machine, plant-based sand fixing agent spraying machine, and plant-based sand barrier planting machine have improved the speed and efficiency of desertification control. Tian Wang introduced that with the continuous application of technological innovation achievements, the cost of desertification control in the Kubuqi Desert has been reduced from 1,500 yuan per mu to 500 yuan per mu.

In the forum, the desert big data analysis technology, germplasm resource technology, minimally invasive planting technology, UAV seeding technology, and photovoltaic sand control technology, etc. applied to the governance of the Kubuqi Desert have received high attention from the participants.

"I had the privilege to visit the extraordinary landscapes of the Ordos region. I witnessed firsthand the remarkable, socioeconomic and ecological restoration, an inspiring example for the regions around the world, struggling against land, degrading desiccation and decimation," said Amina Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a video speech at the opening ceremony of the forum.


Photo taken on August 24 shows the Dalat Photovoltaic Base in Ordos City (Drone photo)

Using roads to control sand and extend green to the depths of the desert

At the opening ceremony of the forum, a set of "present and past comparison pictures " of the Kubuqi Desert attracted all audience’s vision. Satellite remote sensing monitoring shows that from 1988 to 2022, yellow patches in the Kubuqi Desert have been steadily pushed back by green. After years of governance, the vegetation coverage here has reached 53%.

Looking down at the Kubuqi Desert, it is not difficult to find that where the sand-crossing road is built, the green will be paved. “If roads are not built, it will be difficult for people, machinery, seedlings, etc. that are necessary for sand control to enter the desert. "Wang Wenbiao, Chairman of at ELION Resources Group and Secretary General of the Kubuqi International Desert Forum, said that the construction of sand control roads can cut the sand into several ecological control areas from the outside to the inside, which can be governed separately.

Since the first sand-crossing road was built in 1999, the mileage of sand-crossing roads in Hangjin Banner has reached 930 kilometers, and these sand-crossing roads formed a "four vertical and five horizontal" desert road network, like "green arteries" stretching in the desert. They not only brought convenience to farmers and herdsmen who had difficulty in traveling in the past, but also laid a solid foundation for the implementation of the national key projects for sand prevention and control, as well as the industrial investment of enterprises.

In the forum, the concept of "build roads first if you want to be green" has been recognized by many experts and scholars. At present, the experience of using roads to control sand has also been applied to the governance of other desert and sandy land in China. In the ongoing battle to eliminate the two major sandy lands in Chifeng City, the road control method has become a key breakthrough point. "We plan to build five new sand-crossing roads with a total mileage of 120 kilometers, and complete the governance of 700,000 mu of sandy land on both sides of the road, "said Chagan Bateer, Deputy Banner Commander of Ongniud Banner in Chifeng City.


Photo taken on Aug. 24 shows the Yinkensha project area in the hinterland of the Kubuqi Desert (Drone photo)

Working together to contribute science and technology to global desertification prevention and control

"The Kubuqi Desertification Control Model is a very practical example, showing that we can reverse land degradation while creating wealth, green opportunities, and other socio-economic benefits, " said Andrea Meza Murillo, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in her opening speech.

In practice, the exploration of Kubuqi Desertification Control Model has formed the experience of "policy support of the Party committee and government, industrial investment of enterprises, market-oriented participation of society and farmers and herdsmen, continuous technological innovation, and open sharing of achievements", which provides references for the systematic and sustainable governance of global desertification. 

At the forum’s opening ceremony, the China-Arab International Research Center for Drought, Desertification and Land Degradation was established. The National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Secretariat of the League of Arab States jointly signed the memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the China-Arab International Research Center for Drought, Desertification and Land Degradation.

The forum focused on the topics of "Desert Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Resources Utilization", " Combating Sand and Dust Storms and Controlling Sand Scientifically", "Systematic Governance of Mountains, Rivers, Forests, Fields, Lakes, Grass and Sand", "Innovation-Transfer-Sharing, Promoting Ecological Restoration with Knowledge and Technology", and reached a consensus: to effectively play the role of the United Nations and various international and regional organizations and alliances, publicize, mobilize and strengthen international cooperation through the International Day of Combating Sand and Dust Storms, and strengthen cross-border and trans-regional joint prevention and control. The international community should work together to strengthen experience sharing and jointly study and explore advanced technologies and practical methods for desertification control.

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Translated by Li Tian