Xinjiang Government Applies for 700 Million Yuan to Protect Wetlands

March 1, 2005

The government of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region reported February 21 that it is "vigorously applying for funds" to implement a plan to protect nine wetland reserves and implement 20 wetland reclamation projects. The Xinjiang Net article reports that overpopulation, agricultural policy, and the overuse of water resources have cut the total land area of Xinjiang’s wetlands in half since the early 1950s, leaving only 1.48 million hectares today. Xinjiang authorities will announce in early spring a more inclusive 30-year plan to protect all the region’s wetlands, despite the central PRC government not yet having approved funding for the 2004-2010 Wetlands Project.

According to the Regional Autonomy Law, the autonomous areas are responsible for developing plans to protect their natural resources. Several supplemental policies mandate that the central government will assist minority regions financially if they encounter budget deficits. The Xinjiang report does not provide total cost estimates for the 30-year plan.