On the morning of 17 August 2020, the kick-off meeting of the project on “Assessment and Adaptive Management of Habitats for Siberian Cranes in the Yellow River Delta” was held in Dongying City, Shandong Province of China. As part of the Pilot Project on Green Economy in Dongying (Phase IV) initiated by the Foreign Affairs Office of Dongying Municipal Peoples’ Government, the project is a 3.5-month study to be performed by UNEP-IEMP during August to mid-November 2020. Dr. Linxiu Zhang, UNEP-IEMP Director, and three members of the project team at UNEP-IEMP participated in the project kick-off meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Chao Fu, Head of UNEP-IEMP Research, introduced the project objective and research plan for comments by a panel of water bird and wetland conservation experts from research institutes of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Chinese Academy of Forestry Sciences, Beijing Normal University, and Beijing Forestry University. A technical officer from the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve Management Committee also participated in the meeting and shared information about the reserve, where more than 2400 Siberian Cranes were observed in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

A glance of the project kick-off meeting

Dongying is located at the Yellow River Delta and has an increasing area of new-born wetlands. It is also an important ‘transit station’, breeding habitat, and wintering habitat for birds in inland northeast Asia and around the western Pacific Ocean. So far, about 384 species of birds have been observed in the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve, including the species of Siberian Cranes (Grus leucogeranus), a critically endangered migratory bird on the IUCN Red List. Observations have shown an increasing trend in the population of Siberian Cranes that winter or rest in the Yellow River Delta, an important habitat second only to the Poyang Lake in middle reach of Yangtze River.

In June 2020, Dongying Municipal People’s Government and UNEP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate collaboration in regard to ecological conservation and green and high-quality development in the Yellow River Delta. The Siberian Crane project implemented by UNEP-IEMP is deemed as the first major effort under this MoU.

Linxiu Zhang’s Meeting with Ruiguo Gao, Director of Dongying Municipal Foreign Affairs Office

After the project kick-off meeting, accompanied by Ruiguo Gao, Director of Dongying Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, Dr. Linxiu Zhang and her team visited the Yellow River Delta Modern Agricultural Engineering Laboratory and the Yellow River Delta Coastal Wetland Ecological Experimental Station of CAS, as well as the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve. All the partners agreed to enhance their engagement in international cooperation initiatives on green development, especially through the South-South cooperation knowledge sharing platform facilitated by UNEP-IEMP since its inception.

Visiting the Yellow River Delta Modern Agricultural Engineering Laboratory of CAS

Visiting the Yellow River Delta Coastal Wetland Ecological Experimental Station of CAS

Visiting the Bird Museum of the Yellow River Delta