Capacity-building project on framework development for national park and water management in Ya'an area, Sichuan province

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On 20 April 2013, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitudes and amongst the most severe earthquakes in modern history, hit Ya'an city,. The earthquake had serious impacts on citizens, vegetation, habitats, and species in Ya'an. There are also other pressures to the area including mining, hydropower, agriculture, infrastructure development and harvesting of wild plants. The area is included as one of 34 biodiversity hot spots worlds, and has often been referred to as "China's South West Mountainous hot spot". Importantly, it is the home of the famous Giant Panda.

As a response to the earthquake, a pre-phase project was initiated. After a successful pre-phase, Norway and the Peoples Republic of China signed an Agreement to initiate a main project: "Post-earthquake ecological restoration and capacity building on national park framework and water management in Ya'an area, Sichuan Province, P.R China" in 2014.  Central national partners are China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) and the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA).

The project is divided into two sub-projects. One is related to the development of a management framework of a national park, whereas the other one is related to the development of a water and ecological management framework of the Baoxing river basin. There is also an overarching part project, which binds the two sub-projects together. This focuses on ecosystem services from restoration.

After the main project was started, the central government of China has in its latest policies decided to support the creation of one large Giant Panda national park that covers the major panda habitats in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi Provinces. This means that the national park of the earthquake project is one of four pilots in a large national park. The Baoxing river basin is located in the core region of the panda park. The area is going to be developed into an area for eco-tourism. The river is famous for its good water quality and rich biodiversity with endangered fish species, and is an integrated and important part of the national park. To build a scientific watershed and ecological management system is very important for the area.

The main objectives of the project is to achieve an integrated management contributing to the sustainable development, as well as biodiversity restoration and conservation in the earthquake stricken area. The main achievements from this project could potentially be transferred to other areas in China. The project aims to be finalised by the end of 2018.

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