China to host 11th World Wilderness Congress
Beijing, China (January 20, 2018) – At a media event in Beijing organized by the Global Times and People’s Daily, China announced it will host the 11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11) in late 2019.As China comes to terms with the high ecological cost of rapid industrialization, people around the world are also waking up to the fact that we are in the midst of an ecological crisis, the sixth great extinction. At this singular moment in Chinese and world history, China’s commitment to strengthen international leadership for the protection of wild nature through the WILD11 process promises groundbreaking opportunities for East-West and global coordination on conservation challenges.
Joining the WILD Foundation as “Co-hosts” for WILD11 are the Global Times (of the People’s Daily, the largest media group in China) and the China Institute of Strategy and Management. “Co-conveners” of the program are Wilderness Foundation Global (Cape Town), the Paulson Institute (China and USA), and Ecoforum Global (China).
“WILD and Wilderness Foundation Global are very enthused and honored that the Chinese government sees the opportunity provided by the World Wilderness Congress process,” said Vance Martin, President of the WILD Foundation. “They cited our on-going emphasis on practical results through global collaboration -- across boundaries, barriers, and cultures -- as an important aspect of their decision to work through WILD11 to demonstrate their commitment to a new era they call Ecocivilization.”Joining Chinese organizations in the WILD11 process are dozens of international experts who have committed to the programme and to achieving practical conservation outcomes through this process. These include: the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA); the UN Convention on Biodiversity; Worldwide Fund for Nature (China and the Netherlands); Wild Wonders of China (WILD11 Conservation Photography Partner), Indigenous leaders from numerous cultures across the globe; Rewilding Europe; Tsinghuas University (Beijing); Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Center; Sanctuary Asia (India); and many others.
Established in 1977, the World Wilderness Congress has a reputation for inclusivity and practical results as it advances international coordination on the protection of wilderness that also meets the needs of human communities. As the world’s longest-running, public, global environmental project and forum, it has convened on 10 previous occasions, most recently in Spain (WILD10, 2013, Patron Queen Sofia) and in Mexico (WILD9, 2009, Honorary Host President Felipe Calderon).
As the Chinese and international Secretariats are created, details will be formulated on both the lead-up events and the exact dates, goals and programme of WILD11 itself. Preliminary information and the channel to become involved is available at www.wild11.org.“This global conservation event has it’s roots in South Africa where we held the first WWC in 1977. Our philosophy has always been around positive engagement on complex environmental issues and this is why from the 1st congress in South Africa to the 11th now taking place in China, we always work in partnership with the people on the ground in the host countries to ensure that wilderness is equally seen as part of the solution for the multi-faceted environmental challenges that we are facing today.
Katherine Jenkins Performs for RhinoFor a country that represents 20% of the world population and a sizeable portion of land surface, we cannot come up with an environmental solution without China’s active involvement. With that in mind, we are delighted to be working with China on finding these solutions” says Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Global.
On Saturday, 10 June, Katherine Jenkins OBE, world renowned classical singer, performed at a private Jaguar Land Rover event in aid of Wilderness Foundation Global, of whom she is an ambassador.
Katherine Jenkins and her artist/film maker husband, Andrew Levitas, were announced as ambassadors of Wilderness Foundation Global in April 2015 after spending time in South Africa being exposed to the rhino poaching crisis and taking part in a rhino notching exercise. WFG is the only international conservation organisation born out of and operating in Africa, which is dedicated explicitly to wilderness awareness and protection through their three focus areas of Species, Spaces and People.
During her performance, she said: “Through the Wilderness Foundation, in early 2015, when I was 3 months pregnant, my husband and I had the incredible experience of darting a rhino at the Shamwari Game reserve near Port Elizabeth. It's hard to talk about this without getting emotional. I stroked and comforted the four-year-old calf whilst we helped with performing the necessary tests. I held her in my arms and felt her breath on my face and her heartbeat in my hands. The take away for me was this – I was carrying a child that may never see a rhino in the wild and I cannot and will not stand back and let that happen.”
Due to her passion for wildlife and the protection of endangered species, specifically the rhino, Katherine Jenkins has donated her fee for the event – held at the Rosewood London Hotel for Jaguar Land Rover's top UK Retailers – to Wilderness Foundation Global. This generous donation will be utilised for the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, which focuses on the protection of this dwindling species in South Africa.