Archive for the ‘Ministry of Land and Environment Conservation’ Category

Comprehensive agricultural management method being introduced to each region

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-6-27

Since 2003, a comprehensive agricultural management method was piloted in Suan County of North Hwanghae Province. From last year, this method was introduced in other regions to be administered nationwide.

An official from DPRK’s Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection gave an interview with the KCNA on June 17 and “from this year a comprehensive agricultural management method is being introduced in many regions and until now 100,000 jungbo or 991,735,537 square meters of forest area has increased,” he said.

Comprehensive agricultural management method is explained as “a new forestry management method to improve the ecological environment and protection of land as well as cultivate various species of trees in forests and crops, herbs, and grass that combine farming and livestock raising to increase production of lumber, crops, livestock, and mountain fruits.”

In the past, majority of forests were destroyed during the time of extreme food and firewood shortage food. To repair the damage, planting crops in forests became an urgent matter and from 2003, comprehensive agricultural management method was adopted in Suan County of North Hwanghae Province and other areas that had favorable conditions that were environmentally safe and socially beneficial.

According to the Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection, “the survival and growth rate of trees improved drastically as people began to use forest lands more efficiently. In this regard, a national policy for comprehensive agricultural management method was introduced across the country from last year.” Various local organizations were established on the city, state, and county levels of people’s committees as they learned to administer the new comprehensive management method.

A seminar was held in Pyongyang on July 29, 2008 on the topic of comprehensive agricultural management method. This was funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). Swiss government at the time was transferring know-how and technology for raising cabbage, corn, and other crops as well as pest control, crop rotation, slope farming, and other related skills.

The KCNA reported that at this event, “various national, regional and global environmental problems were addressed and specific actions were being taken to protect food security and ensure the improvement of people’s lives,” said Choe Sang-ho, director of the Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection.

The news elaborated on the notion and practical necessity for the comprehensive agricultural management method and state policy to promote research and education to develop the slope farming and disseminate the comprehensive agricultural management method and technology development in this area.

The participants at this seminar discussed the need to expand international exchanges to cooperation to strengthen and distribute comprehensive farming management by eco-regions and also visited the pilot unit in Suan County.

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New Pyongyang – Phyongsong Road

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Naenara offers news of a rare DPRK international public tender:

Invitation for International Public Tender

The Ministry of Land and Environment Protection of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea plans to build a new road between Pyongyang and Phyongsong in order to facilitate public transportation in the western region of the country, including Pyongyang.

To this end, the ministry is going to purchase equipment and materials necessary for the project through international public tender. It also intends to employ international consultation services for technical assistance.

The international consultancy services will include road design, building operations and technical supervision (land fill, sand and gravel bedding, cement stability, paving, bridge construction, construction of small structures and protective guard and installation of road signs) and use of equipment and machines for road construction.

The equipment and materials to be purchased are as follows:

Hydraulic excavator, cement truck, self-propelled road liner, measuring equipment, bus, bulldozer, fuel truck, concrete cutter, geological testing equipment, cement, grader, trailer, voltage regulator, examination equipment, round steel, loader, sprinkler, water pumping equipment, drilling equipment, angle iron, Macadam roller, crane truck, dredger, printer, steel pipe, Dandem roller, stone crushing plant, horizontal vehicle for bridge construction, plotter, iron sheet, composite roller, mobile compressor, guniting machine, laptops, timber, tired roller, hammer drill, welder, laser surveyor’s rod (LEICA TCA 2003), asphalt, concrete paver (with the framed rails), rock-driller, electric generator, digital theodolite (SOKKIA DT 610S), fuel, concrete mixing station, asphaltic emulsion truck, pressure pump, automatic leveling instrument (SOKKIA C32II), aluminum sheet, asphalt mixing station, automatic truck, vibratory pile hammer, fork-lifter, luminous paper, mixture truck, asphalt paver, pressure pump, light reflection sign, and car.

Letters of tender invitation will be issued early in July 2013.

For more details, please contact:
International Implementing Office for Road Construction Project
Add: Pothonggang-dong No.1, Pothonggang District, Pyongyang, DPR Korea
Fax: 850-2-381-4416/4410

UPDATE 1 (2013-6-22): The Institute for Far Eastern Studies wrote about this tender:

North Korea to Acquire Road Equipment and Materials via International Auction
2013-6-22

North Korea has revealed plans to acquire equipment and materials for new road construction through an international auction.

In the May 29 economic news section of ‘Naenara,’ a website run by North Korea, it was reported that a new road is being built between Pyongyang and Pyungsung, South Pyongan Province. It announced that “with regards to the construction, the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection will purchase the necessary equipment and material through an internationally competitive auction.”

Naenara speculates that the ministry will purchase hydraulic excavators, buses, cement, and transformers, among fifty other items, with the auction invitation to be issued this July.  Naenara also announced that the construction and technological management of the roads will receive voluntary international consulting.

It is uncommon for North Korean media to publicize plans for receiving goods via an international auction. Whereas North Korea has usually made direct contact with foreign companies based in China, it has recently diversified its reception of foreign capital.

As the international society’s trust in North Korea is low, North Korea is pursuing changes in its methods of acquiring capital through avenues like international auctions. This can be interpreted as an intentional effort to show that North Korean liberalization and development policies are following international norms. Furthermore, in addition to adopting the law on economic development zones, North Korea is starting to focus more on developing a ‘special zone’, with construction of the ‘Sinuiju Special Zone’ scheduled to start soon.

At first, the ‘Sinuiju Special Zone’ was intended to develop by sections, receiving capital from not only Chinese companies but also Korean companies. However, due to faltering relations between the North and South, China has emerged as the sole partner of North Korea to co-develop the special zone.

Also, following the 12.1 Policy from last year, an umbrella organization will be set up to comprehensively manage the economic development zones pursued by the thirteen cities and provinces, and the two hundred twenty districts. While the North Korean Joint Venture Committee (Chaired by Lee Kwang-keun) was in charge of securing foreign investments for the development of the special zones, the new organization will manage not only all the specialized zones but also all the development zones.

Furthermore, there are plans to link Sinuiju, Pyongyang, and Kaesong via highway and high speed rail, an investment which is expected to cost 14.1 trillion KRW. The highway is expected to cost 4.7 trillion won and the high speed rail carries an anticipated price tag of 9.4 trillion won. In order to secure funding, North Korea plans to sell underground resources and secure sources of private investment. In terms of financing procurement methods, North Korea is considering BOT (build-own-transfer), BTL (build-transfer-lease), resources development rights as collateral, etc.

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DPRK seeks advice on environmental improvement

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

According to the International Business Times (2012-4-3):

Last month, North Korea invited 14 scientists from eight different countries — five alone from the U.S. — to attend a conference with 75 North Korean scientists, and provide their expertise on restoring the country’s environment and securing domestic food supplies. Dr. Margaret Palmer, executive director of Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland and one of the scientists who appeared at the conference, recently spoke with the New York Times about her assessment of North Korea’s ecological crisis and its government’s capability to deal with it.

“It’s a depressing landscape, especially this time of year,” Palmer told the Times. “Everything is just mud and everything is being farmed, or attempted to be farmed. But their ability to produce food is being dramatically compromised by a cascade of effects caused by deforestation.”

North Korea’s environmental crisis started in the 1950s during the Korean War, which resulted in massive forest fires and widespread deforestation. The situation was exacerbated during the 1990s when droughts and floods destroyed crops and caused a major famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Recovering forests were raided by desperate villagers for food and fuel, many surviving by eating grass and tree bark.

Although the major environmental problems were clear to Palmer, she expressed doubts about the North Korean scientists’ approach to them.

“The presentations were almost exclusively about how to promote agriculture … It felt like [the North Korean scientists] had a sense of the direction of the scientific community in the rest of the world but that they lacked the technology and understanding to implement any of it,” Palmer said.

In contrast, Peter Raven, president emeritus of Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, offered praise for North Korea’s efforts to reforest through planting crops alongside trees.

“They had a fine understanding of agroforestry principles and were applying them in a very understanding way to reforestation,” Raven told Science Magazine.

Norman Neuriter, director at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who selected the American experts for the conference, said the gathering was heavily monitored and restricted, and expressed disappointment with the limited communication between the advisory team and North Korean scientists.

“One would like to have had more individual interaction, one-on-one or two-on-two, but that wasn’t possible,” Neureiter told the Atlantic Wire.

“We weren’t allowed to talk informally with the scientists,” Palmer told the Times. “We were escorted to separate rooms during coffee breaks and there was no time to casually chat and ask questions.”

Despite the restrictive atmosphere of the conference, the scientists are hoping to move forward with environmental restoration projects, though it is not yet clear how political tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program will impact future collaboration efforts. It is clear that the government must mobilize quickly if it is to avoid another disaster like it experienced during the 1990s.

Further resources below:
1. Q. and A.: North Korea’s Choked Environment

2. Seeking Cures to North Korea’s Environmental Ills

3. The Environment Is So Bad in North Korea, They’ll Even Let Americans Help

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The Environmental Protection Law amended — environmental certification system to be newly introduced

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2011-8-31

According to the KCNA, North Korea amended its environmental protection law on August 18, adding development of energy and environmental certification system into the revised act.

The environmental protection law is comprised of four sections and 50 articles, in which articles 38, 39, and 40 were added recently. These contain laws related to the development and usage of renewable energy resources, recycling technology, and implementation of environmental certification system. In addition, articles 44 and 48 were also supplemented in Section 4. They include plans for setting up environmental economic indicators.

According to the KCNA, “Based on this law, each agencies, companies and organizations are reducing fossil energy consumption to protect the environment and promote continuous economic growth. In its place, renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy are currently being explored.”

North Korea has registered eight hydroelectric plants with the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to receive carbon credits which can be sold to earn hard currency. Receiving accreditation toward the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) will allow developing countries to earn tradable carbon credits for emissions reductions from clean-energy projects.

Currently, Ryesonggang Hydropower Plant No. 3, 4, 5 and Wonsangunmin Hydropower Plant No. 1 reached the validation phase while the other four plants are at the prior consideration phase.

On July 26, the KCNA explained the environmental protection law was revised “to beautify our homeland, protect the health and wellbeing of our people, and provide culturally hygienic environment with favorable working conditions.” Accordingly, the environmental protection law passed in 1999 is now ineffective.

In recent years, North Korea seems to be paying keen attention to environmental protection issues. From May 16 to June 10, ten senior officials from the DPRK Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection and National Science and Technology Commission were invited to a training course at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.

The program was implemented by the United Nations Economicand Social Commission for Asiaand the Pacific (ESCAP) as a part of the project “Promoting Regional and Economic Cooperation in Northeast Asia.” The four-week training program provided highly specialized training on integrated watershed management and reforestation.

Additional Information: You can read more about the DPRK’s CDM efforts here, here, and here.

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Agroforestry a success in DPRK

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

According to Medical News Today:

In a country where good news is scarce, a pioneering agroforestry project in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is restoring heavily degraded landscapes and providing much-needed food for communities living on the sloping lands.

Jianchu Xu, East-Asia Coordinator for the World Agroforestry Centre, which has been providing technical expertise and training for the project since 2008, said agroforestry – in this case the growing of trees on sloping land – is uniquely suited to DPR Korea for addressing food security and protecting the environment.

“What we have managed to achieve so far has had a dramatic impact on people’s lives and the local environment,” Jianchu explains.

“Previously malnourished communities are now producing their own trees and growing chestnut, walnut, peaches, pears and other fruits and berries as well as medicinal bushes,” Jianchu explains. “They have more food and vitamins and are earning income through trading”.

Following the collapse of the socialist bloc in 1989 and a lack of subsidies for agriculture in DPR Korea, famine and malnutrition became widespread in rural areas.

DPR Korea is a harsh mountainous country where only 16% of the land area is suitable for cultivation. In desperation in the 1990s, people turned to the marginal sloping lands but this had a price: deforestation for cropping land and fuelwood left entire landscapes denuded and depleted of nutrients.

In an effort to reverse the situation, an innovative and pioneering project began in 2002 involving the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Korea’s Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection. The World Agroforestry Centre was later brought in to provide technical advice.

Suan County has since expanded to 65 user groups in seven counties, with several hundred hectares of sloping land now under sustainable management. And the project is still growing.

A system of establishing user groups with one representative from each family has enabled demonstration plots to be set up and a large number of households to benefit from knowledge about growing multi-purpose trees. Such trees can improve and stabilize soils as well as provide fertilizer, fodder or fruits.

Most of the people farming the sloping lands are pension workers with little agricultural experience. The agroforestry systems they are now implementing and the techniques they have learnt are significantly increasing tree cover on the slopes as well giving them a diversity of crops.

Several of the user groups have started their own nurseries so that they can be self-sufficient and produce their own planting materials.

Initially a European consultant was engaged to provide advice on sloping land management, but in 2008 SDC brought the World Agroforestry Centre’s China office into the project.

“With similar experiences and history, our Chinese staff were well-placed to work in DPR Korea,” explains Jianchu. “It was important to have people with an understanding of the technical, institutional and socio-political context.”

There are very few international organizations operating in DPR Korea, and most of these are providing emergency relief. “With our strong focus on capacity development, we have established a good reputation,” adds Jianchu. So much so that the Centre is now negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the government and there are plans to establish an office in the country.

According to Jianchu, one of the most important aspects to ensuring the project is sustained is capacity development at all levels.

“As well as the user groups, we are providing training to multi-disciplinary working groups comprising representatives from the national academy, agricultural universities, forestry research and planning institutes, and staff of the Ministry.”

“There is an enormous need to improve knowledge and skills in DPR Korea in the area of natural resource management and to nurture young scientists,” says Jianchu. SDC is now investing in this area. Each year over the past few years, a handful of students from DPR Korea have undertaken studies with the Center for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, jointly run by the World Agroforestry Centre and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and hosted by the Kunming Institute of Botany in China. Some could be considered for a doctoral program in the future.

To further support the up-skilling of DPR Korea scientists and the up-scaling of agroforestry, the Centre will soon publish an agroforestry manual. Work is also underway on an agroforestry policy for sloping lands management and an agroforestry inventory.

Read the full story here:
Agroforestry A Success In North Korea
Medical News Today
Kate Langford
8/31/2010

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DPRK promotes environemntal efforts

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

According to Reuters:

There are no private cars in North Korea and countless factory chimneys have not belched smoke in years, but state media said on Tuesday scientists were inventing new ways to cut air pollution and protect the environment.

The country “has directed a great effort” to research environmental protection, the state news agency KCNA reported.

“Researchers have developed a new material for removing exhaust fumes from automobiles so as to cut the greenhouse gas emissions and reduce air pollution 35-40 percent,” it said, without elaborating.

It also said “units” in the capital, Pyongyang, that caused pollution had been registered, suggesting that dirty industries were under pressure to get clean.

“They are now developing a gas and dust arrester necessary in production processes and new materials needed to secure environmental safety of products,” it said.

The isolated communist country’s state-run media periodically boasts revolutionary innovations in science and technology, despite a moribund economy and chronic food shortages.

Perhaps the most visible in recent years have been related to the relatively well-funded — and well-fed — military. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests since 2006 and several missile launches, upsetting its neighbours.

North Korean scientists also invented a device using “locally available materials” to incinerate hospital waste, KCNA said, and the Environmental Protection Institute of the Ministry of Land and Environmental Conservation had intensified research into pollution-free vegetable production.

Here is the original KCNA story:

Scientific Achievements of Environmental Protection
 
Pyongyang, June 22 (KCNA) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has directed a great effort to scientific researches for environmental protection.

Researchers have developed a new material for removing exhaust fumes from automobiles so as to cut the greenhouse gas emissions and reduce air pollution 35-40 percent.

They have also put the environmental management of industrial establishments on IT basis.

Meanwhile, they have registered units causing environmental pollution in Pyongyang and confirmed methods and procedures for preventing pollution. They are now developing a gas and dust arrester necessary in production processes and new materials needed to secure environmental safety of products.

Besides, they have invented a new device to destroy by fire such wastes from hospitals as contaminated injector and bandage with locally available materials.

Scientists of the Environmental Protection Institute of the Ministry of Land and Environmental Conservation have intensified a research in pollution-free vegetable production.

Read the full Reuters story here:
N.Korea says puts “great effort” into environment
Reuters
6/22/2010

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International Crane Foundation

Friday, February 27th, 2009

On my last visit to North Korea in 2005, fellow Atlanta native Ted Turner was also in Pyongyang (not at the Yangakdo unfortunatley, but the centrally-located Koryo Hotel) working to secure the DMZ as a crane reserve.  It turns out that this effort is fairly well organizaed and funded.  Below, I have attached some articles, names, and organizations involved in this movement:

The International Crane Foundation

Since 1974, ICF has been involved in conservation efforts for the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the three mile wide strip of land between the divided neighbors that provides a home during migration or winter for half of the world’s White-naped Cranes and a quarter of the world’s Red-crowned Cranes.

Conservation in Korea

“For more than three decades, I have been coming to Korea to see the cranes that spend the winter along the DMZ. About one-third of the world’s 2,500 Red-crowned Cranes depend on the DMZ and the nearby Civilian Controlled Zone (CCZ) as their only remaining sanctuary on the peninsula. The Cheorwon Basin in the central highlands has the greatest numbers of cranes, while smaller flocks live in the Yuen Cheon valley, the lower reaches of the Imjin River, and the tidal flats around Kangwha Island.

The Red-crowned Crane is an auspicious symbol of good luck and long life throughout the Orient and cranes worldwide are a symbol of peace. Now perhaps the Red-crowned Crane can be a flagship for the conservation of the DMZ.

I have always tried to help my Korean colleagues in their efforts to save that priceless strip of land that’s carpeted by a grasslands, wetlands, and forests restored by the creative forces of nature over more that a half-century. Although it has been exciting to see modernization sweep it’s magic wand over Korea, it is alarming that humans now have such power to transform landscapes so quickly.

If the remaining natural landscapes of the DMZ and the CCZ are to be saved for nature, Korean conservationists from all walks of life must join together in a united front to negotiate with those more interested in development. This is now possible through a movement started in 1996 by two Korean Americans, Dr. Ke Chung Kim (a scholar) and Mr. Seung-ho Lee (a businessman).

To promote the conservation of the DMZ, they created a non-governmental organization called the DMZ Forum. I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors.

Under the leadership of Mr. Hall Healy (an environmental planner), the DMZ has created a Coalition for the Conservation of the DMZ. Although this Coalition had its birth in the USA, its operation will be “Koreanized” with leadership from an effective and prestigious Korean citizen and supported by a coalition of individuals and organizations primarily from Korea, but also from other nations. Only through the power of partnership, can these treasures of nature from “The Land of the Morning Calm” be saved.”

Recently, ICF held an event.  Here is the email they sent out (h/t Mike):

For years, hundreds of the magnificent Red-crowned Cranes wintered in lowland wetlands and organically-maintained agricultural fields in the DPRK.  With the rise of chemical fertilization after the Korean War through its alliance with the USSR, crops were plentiful in the DPRK, and the field gleanings provided sustenance for the cranes.  With the collapse of the USSR, the cheap source of fertilizer dried up, and after two decades of chemical dependence the organic farming methods had been lost.  Hungry humans foraged for food where the cranes had once wintered.  The cranes moved south, in and around the DMZ and the Civilian Controlled Zone (CCZ).  These two zones, however, have been targeted by developers as potential sites for future cities.  The plan for the re-introduction of wintering cranes in the DPRK addresses teaching the local people organic farming methods anew and relies on using captive cranes to attract wild cranes during their autumn migration.

Through collaboration among colleagues of the Korean University in Tokyo, the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), BirdLife International, the International Crane Foundation, and Pisan Cooperative Farm of the DPRK, work is underway to restore the Red-crowned Cranes as winter visitors on the Anbyon Plain located in DPRK.  The project began in the spring and summer of 2008, and it is hoped that it will lead to communication between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea on the conservation of red-crowned Cranes in both nations.

From the event’s web page:

Through collaboration among colleagues of the Korean University in Tokyo, the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), BirdLife International, the International Crane Foundation, and Pisan Cooperative Farm of the DPRK, work is underway to restore the Red-crowned Cranes as winter visitors on the Anbyon Plain located in DPRK.  The project began in the spring and summer of 2008, and it is hoped that it will lead to communication between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea on the conservation of red-crowned Cranes in both nations.

For years, hundreds of the magnificent Red-crowned Cranes wintered in lowland wetlands and organically-maintained agricultural fields in the DPRK.  With the rise of chemical fertilization after the Korean War through its alliance with the USSR, crops were plentiful in the DPRK, and the field gleanings provided sustenance for the cranes.  With the collapse of the USSR, the cheap source of fertilizer dried up, and after two decades of chemical dependence the organic farming methods had been lost.  Hungry humans foraged for food where the cranes had once wintered.  The cranes moved south, in and around the DMZ and the Civilian Controlled Zone (CCZ).  These two zones, however, have been targeted by developers as potential sites for future cities.  The plan for the re-introduction of wintering cranes in the DPRK addresses teaching the local people organic faming methods anew and relies on using captive cranes to attract wild cranes during their autumn migration.

More links:
The DMZ Forum web page

DMZ Coalition

Media hits

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International Day of Biodiversity Observed in DPRK

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

KCNA
5/22/2007

May 22 is the International Day of Biodiversity.

The global ecosystem has been seriously destroyed, rapidly decreasing the bio-resources needed for the life of the people. The actuality has risen as an urgent problem to protect the biodiversity in recent years.

According to the data released by the World Conservation Union, biological species which have been extinguished total over 1,000 and those on the brink of extermination far exceed 10,000.

The DPRK is abundant in biodiversity compared with the size of its territory. Under the correct nature preservation policy of the government, the work for protecting ecological diversity have been undertaken as an affair of the state and all people from long ago.

Lots of nature reserves including the Mt. Oga nature reserve, natural parks including Mt. Myohyang and Mt. Kumgang, reserves for native animals, plants and birds and their habitation, reserves for natural products and reserves for natural resources have been set to protect ecological diversity.

The Paektusan biosphere reserve has been preserved and managed amid the special concern of the Korean people from long ago. It was registered as an international biosphere reserve in April Juche 78 (1989).

The biological resources have been protected and increased by various methods including recovery of ecosystem and enhancement of biological function outside the reserves.

The production units such as forestry, agriculture and fishing industry are protecting the biodiversity through development and application of new science and technologies and, at the same time, are taking measures to ensure their sustainable utilization.

The relevant units including the Ministry of Land and Environment Conservation and the DPRK Natural Conservation Union have worked out strategies and action programs for biodiversity and are directing primary efforts to protecting and propagating indigenous species, those in a crisis and rare ones.

The state is pushing ahead with the protection of biodiversity through the institution of laws and regulations and the establishment of administrative and technical management systems. And it does not stint investment to the development of management technologies for analyzing, removing or minimizing the threat to the biodiversity.

And the state is turning the protection of biodiversity into the work of popular masses through the education and propaganda.

It is also taking positive measures for strengthening the international exchange and cooperation as an important part of the international efforts to ease the ecological crisis.

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