Opinions on Fully Implementing the Forest Chief System

Photo Credit: GIZ

The State Council of China released the “Opinions on Fully Implementing the Forest Chief System” on January 15, 2021. The guideline describes policies to promote the new system, in which top party or government officials at provincial, city, district or commune level take on the role of “Forest Chief” in their administrative area. Forest chiefs at all levels will be charged with the protection and development of forest and grassland resources and must come up with targets in aspects such as forest coverage, forest stock volume and treatment of land desertification.

The guideline mapped out key tasks in six aspects, including steps to boost the protection of forest and grassland resources and to ramp up ecological restoration. Forests and grasslands are important natural ecosystems, which play a fundamental and strategic role in maintaining national ecological security and promoting the ecological civilization. China’s decision to enable the nationwide implementation of a forest chief mechanism will support the long-term protection of forest and grassland resources and ensure that the nation’s boundaries of environmental security will not be violated.

China started implementing the forest chief system on a trial basis in 2017 and aims for full implementation by June 2022. So far, 23 provincial regions have already carried out the trial program, providing the foundation for nationwide implementation. The system is similar to the already proven River Chief System.

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Sino-German Environmental Partnership II

Project country
Political Partners
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China (MEE)
Implementation Partners
International Environmental Cooperation Office (IECO), MEE; China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED)
09/2017 – 10/2021

Since 2013, the Sino-German Environmental Partnership has supported bilateral environmental policy dialogue through the exchange of experience and advice on various specialist topics. Thereby, the project enhances institutional and individual capacities through training, the exchange of personnel, and knowledge transfer, to best prepare China for its future as a transformed “Ecological Civilization” and its path towards a “Beautiful China”. The partnership is overseen by the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of the People’s Republic of China. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is responsible for implementing the Sino-German Environmental Partnership, which is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of BMU. In September 2017, the Sino-German Environmental Partnership entered into its second phase, which will continue until 2021. Through its activities, the Sino-German Environmental Partnership supports its Chinese project partners in transforming the existing environmental management system into a holistic environmental governance system which involves actors from science, industry and civil society. The planned activities lead to an intensification of the German-Chinese strategic environmental dialogue. An enhanced exchange such as this will continue to positively impact China’s proactive ownership of global environmental and climate change responsibilities. This will support the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.