Great news! The Environment Protection and Resources Conservation (EPRC) Committee of the National Peoples Congress (the lawmaking body in China) has pledged to protect Jankowski’s Bunting under a new law it is developing on biodiversity.
Last week I co-organised a conference in Beijing involving 35 countries to share experiences on climate change laws, at which the National Peoples Congress gave an update on the progress with China’s national climate change legislation. In the margins I met with the key staff of the EPRC and discussed their current work programme which, in addition to the climate law, includes a new law on biodiversity. The staff had heard about my campaign to help save Jankowski’s Bunting from extinction and wanted to find out more… Of course, I was only too happy to oblige and after showing them pictures and video, playing sound recordings of the bird and explaining about the perilous status of the population and my recent visit to Inner Mongolia and Jilin to survey the bird, they were enthused about helping… After about an hour of conversation, they pledged to ensure that Jankowski’s Bunting was given special protection under the new law and even went so far as to say that they should set a target to double the population…
Details are still to be worked out, and it’s likely to be some time before the law is complete and approved, but extra legal protection for this bird will certainly help to ensure the local authorities prioritise the conservation of this species and will hopefully help them to secure the necessary resources from central government to implement conservation measures.
I took the opportunity to brief the Committee staff on two other birds in desperate trouble – Baer’s Pochard and Streaked Reed Warbler – and I will follow up with another meeting soon to explain more about the plight of these birds.
Watch this space!