Review of the Kubuqi Ecological Restoration Project: A Desert Green Economy Pilot Initiative

United Nations Environment Programme (2015)

A key element of the Rio+20 declaration was the agreement of countries to consider green economy as one of the important tools available for achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty. Deserts perhaps pose one of the most challenging situations for implementing a green economy approach, due to the harsh, unpredictable environmental conditions, fragile ecosystem equilibrium, inherently low production potential, and limited infrastructure. Despite these challenges, from 1988 Elion Resources Group (Elion) took up restoration1 of part of the Kubuqi Desert, located in Hangjin Qi, within the Ordos City prefecture in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, which later developed into an example of desert green economy. The achievements to date have been remarkable and have attracted much international attention. However what were the factors that led to the success of the project and to what extent could the principles be applied to other dryland areas? The objective of this review was to provide a scientific assessment of the Kubuqi Pilot Site2 with respect to the project’s ecological economic and social sustainability with a focus on private-public-community partnerships.