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Analysis of State Policies on Desertification Control

In 2006, the State Council issued the "Decision of State Council on further strengthening the anti-desertification work" (hereinafter referred to as the "Decision"). The conditions of the support policies on desertification control in the Decision clarified the need to establish a stable investment mechanism, implement tax concessions, provide credit support while protecting the legitimate interests of the governed, rationally develop and utilize resources available in the sandy lands and also support various social subjects to be involved in anti-desertification activities. 

In terms of investment, the nation leads the way and Governments at all levels should continue to increase funding for desertification control.  In the arranging of bond funds and infrastructure funds from the central budget, the government has the opportunity to make desertification control a top priority while arranging funds for the construction of conservation areas in the desert lands.  At the same time, the government should actively guide social capital utilization and expand the use of foreign capital.

In regards to revenue, any unit or person who invests in desertification control should be exempt from all taxes in the investment phase.  After receiving certain benefits, they can be exempted from tax or enjoy a relevant tax deduction.  Currently the state is working on developing specific provisions on exemption or reduction of tax for desertification control.

In terms of credit, the state continues to give a financial discount on anti-desertification loans in accordance with the relevant provisions. It appropriately relaxes the restrictions on desertification control loans, as well as expanding micro-credit loans and joint-guarantee loans to support sand control to increase people’s economic standings.  Meanwhile, the state will reform the current desertification control investment and management guidelines in order to create a fair and competitive environment for a variety of social subjects involved in desertification control activities. The state also gives appropriate grant funds and financial compensation for those anti-desertification activities that comply with the relevant requirements. The one who governs should protect the land utilization, inheritance, transfer and other legitimate rights and interests according to the law.

The state will relax the policy on the barren sand, hills and wasteland forestation project. Individuals and various economic organizations can enjoy state subsidies and will be issued with forest warrants according to the law.  This will help to encourage the community to participate in the project while accelerating the construction of desert land governance and the forestation of barren hills.

The non-governmental ecological construction in sand control in our country is playing an increasingly important role today.  But because there are no national measures in place to implement the investment policy, the real benefits of investing in the ecological construction of sand forestation are difficult to enjoy.  In 2003, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council promulgated the "Regulations on Accelerating the Development of Forestry" which clearly encourages private investment on ecological construction and gives equal treatment. However, due to lacking of relevant implementation details and the exploiting of anti-poverty funds, some organizations or people who contributed to desertification control did not receive a penny from the country.

Undertaking desertification control through the planting of desert scrubland also has the added benefit of providing a sand energy forest development.  This not only provides desertification control but also has the added effect of CO2 reduction.  To decrease the rate of climate change, the “Kyoto Protocol” was passed by representatives from 149 countries and regions in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan.  This protocol came into effect on the 16 February, 2005 and it formed an international “carbon emissions trading system” (referred to as carbon sinks).  While vigorously combating desertification, there is also an opportunity to develop carbon sinks resulting in a win-win situation for the nation.  To promote the effective implementation of CDM project, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a project operation management approach on clean development mechanisms which regulates the basic principles about CDM project management on 12 October, 2005. The State Forestry Bureau also established the Management of Carbon Sink Office which is specifically responsible for the coordination and management of the carbon sink in the forestry industry at the end of 2003.

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