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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Wetlands Cooperation


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A. OUTCOMES

Building on 20 years of cooperation in the field of nature conservation, China and the United States have agreed to enhance their cooperation on wetland conservation and management focusing in particular on:

  • Comparative study of the laws, regulations and policies of wetlands in China and the US, with the development of related proposals for both countries.
  • Initiating and designing wetlands ecological monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programs in China, and developing the M&E guidelines/criteria/standards for China.
  • Enhancing management capacity, staff and information exchange, and scientific understanding.
  • Expanding collaboration on wetlands research programs on climate change, biodiversity conservation, freshwater resources protection wetland conservation, and restoration of different types of wetlands.
  • Fostering protected area networks related to wetland species and ecosystems.


B. ELEMENTS OF THE ACTION PLAN

To achieve the above outcomes, China and the United States will work cooperatively as follows:

1. Expand information sharing and technical expert exchanges.


  • Share information on wetlands-related legislation, regulations, programs and action plans and develop proposals for improving China’s policies for wetlands conservation.
  • Develop interdisciplinary and multi-agency scientific and technical exchanges on the state of wetlands science and on wetlands ecology, management, restoration and enhancement.
  • Share U.S. experiences on wetland restoration and preservation incentives, including for example the use of public funds to purchase conservation easements, make rental payments, and provide financial assistance for wetland restoration.
  • Build bilateral institutional links across Chinese and U.S. agencies with responsibilities for wetlands

2. Initiate projects to demonstrate the techniques of wetlands conservation restoration, monitoring and evaluation, including through evaluation of on-going projects


  • Conduct an analysis of the status of representative wetland sites in China and the United States, with a view to developing conceptual models and, ultimately, computer simulation models that reveal how primary stresses (e.g. climate change, hydrologic modifications, invasive species, pollutants) will affect wetland ecosystems.
  • Develop demonstration projects on estuarine restoration and management in Zhangjiangkou estuary in Fujian province and Louisiana estuaries in the U.S.

3. Conduct joint scientific research on wetland ecosystems

  • Establish a joint China-U.S. scientific committee to identify wetland research needs and priorities in each country, identify primary threats and prepare a “state of the science” report based on this information.
  • Conduct joint research between China and the U.S. on functions and processes in different types of wetlands to assess the factors that determine their location, structure and ecological function and, on this basis, develop a joint research project on climate change impacts on wetlands (selecting one wetland type or one geographic region).
  • Conduct joint research on the ecosystem services provided by wetlands (e.g. clean water, flood retention, carbon sequestration, fisheries support, biodiversity).

4. Establish cooperative relationships between US and China.

Establish cooperative relationships between U.S. and Chinese research institutes for wetland conservation, restoration, and management on technology.

Establish cooperative relationships between wetland sites (including Ramsar sites and nature reserves) in the two countries.

5. Disseminate experiences and best practices.

  • Disseminate experiences related to the implementation of this Action Plan based on principles of best practice.
  • Undertake joint field assessments of selected wetlands in China and the U.S. in order to design best management practices.
  • Convene a joint interdisciplinary symposium or workshop on adaptive management in wetland systems.
  • Explore and study development of a journal of Chinese wetland ecology, in English and Chinese; pursue opportunities for a symposium on wetland ecology, functions and services.
  • Develop a training module on the principles of wetland ecology, conservation and management

C. TIMELINE

The Ten-Year Action Plan will be divided into three phases. The effectiveness of the Action plan will be evaluated at 5-year intervals.

Phase I (Years 1-3):

Collaborate on policy development, capacity building, and information and personnel exchanges on wetland conservation.

  • Initiate Cooperative Wetlands (site to site) and Cooperative Research Institute programs.
  • Share information on wetlands legislation, regulations, programs and action plans and develop proposals for improving China’s laws and policies for wetlands conservation.
  • Develop interdisciplinary and multi-agency scientific and technical exchanges.
  • Share U.S. and China experiences on wetlands conservation and restoration.
  • Create joint scientific committees to identify threats and research needs on different types of wetlands.
  • Develop a training module on principles of wetlands conservation and management.
  • Convene a joint resources managers’ symposium or workshop on adaptive management
  • in wetland systems.
  • Select wetland type(s) or geographic region(s) for research on climate change impacts and develop research approaches.
  • Analyze status and trends of representative wetland types in China and the U.S.
  • Initiate joint research on primary/priority wetland types.
  • Initiate joint research on wetlands ecosystem services.

Phase II: Years 4-7

Select projects from diverse regions and ecosystems to demonstrate the techniques of wetlands conservation, restoration, monitor and evaluation. Evaluate project effectiveness. Collaborate at the river-basin scale to enhance the restoration of ecological services of wetlands.

  • Develop and implement Cooperative Site and Cooperative Institute cooperation programs.
  • Continue technical and scientific exchanges and information sharing.
  • Conduct joint research on primary/priority wetland types.
  • Conduct joint research on wetlands ecosystem services.
  • Develop demonstration projects in Zhangjiangkou Estuaries in FujianProvince in China and Louisiana estuaries in the United States.
  • Conduct an analysis of stressors and drivers of change that modify function, condition or extent of representative wetland sites.
  • Conduct wetlands field assessments in China and the U.S. to design best management practices.
  • Develop a conceptual model on how primary stressors impact representative wetland types in China and the U.S.
  • Initiate joint research project on climate change impacts on wetlands.


Phase III: Years 7-10

Both China and the United States will, through enhancing legislation and institutional development, work closely with each other on expanding experiences and best practices gained from demonstration activities in the Zhangjiangkou and Louisiana estuaries (see Phase II) and on other wetland conservation projects in both countries.

  • Develop computer simulation models on how primary stressors impact representative wetland types in China and the U.S.
  • Evaluate findings to date of joint research project on climate change impacts on wetlands.
  • Evaluate results of joint research on primary/priority wetland types.
  • Evaluate results of joint research on wetlands ecosystem services.


D. RELEVANT CHINESE AND U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

CHINA

State Forestry Administration (SFA)

UNITED STATES

Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Forest Service (USFS)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)

Department of Commerce (DOC)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA/NOS)

Department of Interior (DOI)

US Geological Survey (USGS)

US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Department of State (DOS)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


ANNEX

INITIAL ACTIVITES

September-December 2008


  • Review “Protocol on Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Conservation of Nature between the Department of the Interior of the United States of America and the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China” of 1986, in particular Annex 10 2008-2010, to implement them and then identify opportunities to enhance cooperation on wetlands. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: DOI/FWS
  • Review other existing bilateral agreements/arrangements to determine if they provide a framework for increased cooperation on wetlands. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: DOS
  • Exchange information on respective wetlands laws, regulations and policies, as well as on the wetlands-related mandates and programs of government agencies. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: DOI/FWS
  • Initiate development of a training module on the principles of wetlands ecology, conservation and management. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: USGS
  • Complete development of a proposal, with input from local agencies and UNDP, on ecological management in the Zhangjiangkou Estuary (FujianProvince) for submission to GEF and/or other international organizations for financing. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: USGS
  • Set dates and develop itinerary for anticipated visit to U.S. of high-level Chinese delegation focused on public education and outreach, incorporating wetlands in the field itinerary, and as well as meetings with the range of USG agencies and non-government organizations with wetlands-related programs and responsibilities. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: DOS
  • Initiate discussions on developing an inventory of completed and/or on-going wetlands conservation and management projects in China and the U.S. to identifying lessons learned and assist in the identification of new projects. China lead: SFA. U.S. lead: DOI/FWS

 



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