The Ambassadors for Nature Initiative

Welcome to “Ambassadors for Nature”, comprising an informal group of diplomatic missions in Beijing, each of which is endeavouring to manage its embassy premises and grounds in a wildlife-friendly, biodiversity-enhancing way. The initiative was launched at an Ambassadors’ Roundtable hosted at the New Zealand Embassy in July 2022. The aim is to work to align the participating diplomatic missions with the new Global Biodiversity Framework, agreed by more than 190 countries at the 15th meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in Montreal in December 2022 under China’s presidency.

On this page can be found: our Pledge for Nature, resources, a list of members and latest news.  If you are a representative of a diplomatic mission in Beijing not yet part of the initiative, or indeed from anywhere in the world, why not join us?  

Our Pledge for Nature

Embassies and their grounds can be important refuges for urban wildlife. In recognition of the global biodiversity crisis, the Global Biodiversity Framework agreed at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) COP15 in 2022, and the importance of contributions from all sectors of society we, as ambassadors in Beijing, intend to support nature. Our Embassies will make choices that advance biodiversity. For example, we will seek to:

  • Undertake an audit of the wildlife in the grounds of the embassy and other diplomatic premises at least once in each season of the year 
  • Keep records of wildlife sightings 
  • When planting, choose native species of tree, shrubs and other plants. We will also assess the plant species already on the embassy grounds and, where practical, over time remove non-native species
  • Take at least two of the following measures to support wildlife:
    • Reduce and, as far as possible, eliminate the use of pesticides.
    • Allocate an area (for example, 10% of the overall area) that can be kept ‘wild’ with minimal management and erect signage explaining this to residents and visitors;
    • Make and erect nest boxes for birds and/or insect hotels;
    • Help to reduce the risk of bird collisions with glass by using bird-safe glass, ultraviolet patterns or other mitigation measures.
    • Promote awareness among diplomatic staff about biodiversity, including information about urban wildlife that can be found in Beijing, and the actions the embassy is taking to support nature.
  • Nominate a point of contact responsible for this initiative who can report to the network on the actions of the embassy, arrange the audits and report records of wildlife.

 

Resources

A list of native plant species

A guide to the most common urban wildlife in Beijing

A guide to making and erecting nest boxes for birds in Beijing

Recommendations for embassy gardeners

 

List of Members

Founding members: New Zealand, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Peru, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, UK and the United Nations (UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP),  UNICEF.

Additional members: Brunei, Denmark, EU,  France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Malaysia, Sweden, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.

Partners and Advisors: Dr Wang Xiaoping of the Beijing Forest and Parks Bureau, Professor Lu Zhi of Peking University, ShanShui Conservation Center, Professor Yolanda Van Heezik of Otago University and Terry Townshend of Wild Beijing.

 

Latest News

30 May 2023

Irish Ambassador, Dr. Ann Derwin, presents the Ambassadors for Nature initiative in the opening high-level session of a symposium on “Cities and Nature” in Shenzhen, organised in partnership with the Mayor of Shenzhen, the Shenzhen Center for International Exchange and Cooperation and Paulson Institute.

22 May 2023

To celebrate World Biodiversity Day, the French Ambassador to China, Bertrand Lortholary, formally joined the Ambassadors for Nature initiative, becoming the 31st member.  Watch his video message below.

Bienvenue, Bertrand!

5 May 2023

ShanShui Conservation Center carried out an audit of the Danish Embassy premises with a view to presenting suggestions on how to manage the compound in a more nature-friendly way.

28 April 2023

The first Ambassadors for Nature field trip took place on Friday 28th April.  The trip was hosted by the Miyun District government and arranged by the Irish Ambassador to China, Ann Derwin, and her team.  The group visited the Qingshui River, one of the rivers that drains into Miyun Reservoir, Beijing’s most important drinking water reservoir and a hotspot for migratory waterbirds.  As well as a two-hour birding walk, the group heard a presentation from Zhang Dehuai of the Miyun Reservoir Forest and Parks Bureau about ongoing efforts to manage the area for wildlife, including a new project to try to create more habitat for migratory cranes.  In addition, Tan Lingdi from ShanShui Conservation Center briefed on the local NGO’s urban conservation work and the results of, and recommendations from, a recent ‘wildlife audit’ of the German Embassy compound.

The group consisted of ambassadors and senior diplomats from Ireland, Denmark, Japan, Latvia, United Nations and United States of America, and there was no doubt about the most popular bird sighting – two roosting Oriental Scops Owls (Otus sunia 红角鸮 Hóng jiǎo xiāo) close to the path.

Huge thanks to the Miyun Foreign Affairs Bureau for hosting the group, to Ambassador Ann Derwin, Republic of Ireland Ambassador to China, and her team, especially Fergus Scott and Meng Li, to Tan Lingdi from ShanShui Conservation Center and to all the participants for joining.  

20 April 2023

Following a meeting with the Danish Embassy, the Danish Ambassador to China, Ambassador Thomas Østrup Møller, has joined the Ambassadors for Nature initiative. Welcome!

23 March 2023

The visiting New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, was presented with a copy of the “Birds of Beijjng” by Professor Lv Zhi of Peking University.

7 December 2022

US Ambassador, Nicholas Burns, is the newest member of the Ambassadors for Nature.  Here he is receiving a copy of the recently published “Birds of Beijing”.  Nicholas and his wife are avid birders and bee-keepers and are looking forward to playing an active role in the group.

2 December 2022

Alenka Suhadolnik, the Slovenian Ambassador to China, hosted a “honey breakfast” to celebrate bees and other pollinators.  The breakfast included a short presentation (see slides below this post) from Professor Chen Lihong of the Apicultural Science Association of China (ASAC) covering the value of bees, showcasing the most important native pollen and nectar trees and plants in Beijing.  Discussions are underway about the ASAC supporting embassies to host bee hives in their compounds as part of the Ambassadors for Nature initiative.  Huge thanks to Alenka and her team for hosting the event.

Native+H+&+P+Plants-+Biodiversity–草稿02

 

25 November 2022

The UN Development Programme, led by Resident Representative Beate Trankmann, hosted the latest Ambassadors for Nature meeting at the UN compound in Liangmaqiao.  Despite the challenging Covid-related restrictions, the meeting was joined by representatives from France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Slovenia and the US.  The meeting was an opportunity to thank Clare Fearnley, outgoing New Zealand Ambassador, for her vision, leadership and energy in setting up the group, to hear about UNDP’s actions so far to manage their compound in a more low carbon and nature-friendly way, and to participate in a screening of a documentary on the Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey, followed by a Q&A with Chinese wildlife photographer, Xi Zhinong.

29 October 2022

A seminar on the birds of Beijing, including how to identify the most likely species to be seen in the centre of the city, was held at the New Zealand Embassy on Saturday 29 October.  More than 20 representatives from diplomatic missions in Beijing participated.  

A PDF of the lecture (without the videos and sounds) can be found here:

Bird Identification Workshop for Ambassadors for Nature

 

29 September 2022

A seminar for diplomatic gardeners, hosted by the Belgian Embassy, to discuss wildlife-friendly gardening and to share experience and ideas.

See the recommendations here, following discussion with ShanShui Conservation Center.

7 July 2022

The Ambassadors for Nature initiative was launched at the New Zealand Embassy involving 14 missions.

 

For inquiries, please contact us using the form below.

This page is hosted by Wild Beijing on behalf of the Ambassadors for Nature initiative.

Header image: Ambassadors and representatives from diplomatic missions at the launch of the “Ambassadors for Nature” initiative at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing, July 2022