With the official designation of China's first group of national parks Tuesday, a national parks system is taking shape in the world's most populous country as its latest effort to promote human-nature harmony and biodiversity conservation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the official designation of the country's first group of national parks when delivering a keynote speech Tuesday via video link at the leaders' summit of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Totaling 230,000 square kilometers, these parks -- the Sanjiangyuan National Park, the Giant Panda National Park, the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park and the Wuyishan National Park -- cover nearly 30 percent of the key terrestrial wildlife species found in China.
They are not parks in a recreational sense, but are envisaged as homes for wildlife where no human-dominated development is permitted and the sustainability of wildlife is ensured.
These parks were given their national designations following strict assessment, and each represents a typical ecological function.
The Sanjiangyuan National Park, for example, is focused on the ecological conservation of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, while the national parks in Hainan and Wuyishan are tasked with preserving tropical and subtropical forests.
The remaining two are reserved for the protection of endangered wild animals including giant pandas, Siberian tigers and leopards.
Unlike ordinary national parks, these ones are part of the country's "red line" strategy for ecological conservation and subject to the strictest possible protection measures.
An important institutional innovation in its land-use planning and eco-environmental reform, China's proposal of "Drawing a 'Red Line' for Ecological Protection to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change" has been selected by the United Nations as one of the 15 best Nature-based Solutions around the globe.
As the overuse of natural resources by humans has left ecological scars on the planet, the world needs solid efforts now more than ever before to bend the curve of biodiversity loss.
The parks' official designations mark a solid step China has taken toward a sound national parks system that will include areas of the greatest importance to the national ecosystem, and with the most unique natural landscapes, the most valuable natural heritage and the greatest biodiversity.
Their designations are also indicative of the country's greater ambition to pursue a future where all beings can live in harmony and flourish through a protected areas system with national parks as the mainstay.
As President Xi Jinping noted at Tuesday's summit, "Biodiversity makes Earth full of vigor and vitality, and lays the foundation for human survival and development."
With national parks serving their due functions, the current generation will be able to fulfill their stewardship of the lucid waters and lush mountains, and leave a legacy future generations can rely on for sustainable development.