Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech via video link at the leaders' summit of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) held in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Oct. 12, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday announced China's initiative to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund and take the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan (about 233 million U.S. dollars) to the fund.

The fund will be used to support biodiversity protection in developing countries, Xi said while addressing the leaders' summit of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity via video link in Beijing.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a shadow over global development and compounded challenges to the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Xi said developing countries in the face of the dual tasks of economic recovery and environmental protection "need help and support all the more."

China calls on and welcomes all parties to make contributions to the fund, Xi said.

"We need to strengthen solidarity to overcome difficulties and let people across countries benefit more and in a fairer way from development outcomes and a sound environment, so as to build a homeland of common development of all countries," he said.

China has made remarkable progress in building an ecological civilization, including wildlife protection, said Xi, citing the recent adventure of the wandering elephants across southwest China's Yunnan Province.

The country is moving faster to establish a protected areas system with national parks as the mainstay, Xi said, adding that areas with the greatest importance to the natural ecosystem, and with the most unique natural landscapes, the most valuable natural heritage and the greatest biodiversity reserve will be included in the system.

With a protected land area of 230,000 square kilometers, China's first batch of national parks is home to nearly 30 percent of the key terrestrial wildlife species found in the country, Xi said.

The country has also started building a system of national botanical gardens in places like Beijing and Guangzhou, he said.

"China will continue to advance ecological progress, stay committed to implementing the new development philosophy emphasizing innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all, and build a beautiful China," he said.

"We are living in an era both fraught with challenges and full of hopes," Xi said. "As long as we press ahead with perseverance, a bright future will beckon."

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