Enhancing conservation of globally significant biodiversity through protected area system strengthening in Gansu (China-Protected Areas System Reform – CPAR2)

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From January 31, 2019 to January 31, 2024

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  2. 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction
  3. 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use

Project ID: 5689

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Strengthening conservation areas
  • Mainstreaming biodiversity


  • Wildlife conservation


  • Forests


  • Montane forests

Transformed sector(s)

  • Forestry and other land use

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Institutional mechanism and system building


  • Governance
  • Management operation
  • Law regulation


  • Institutional framework
  • Inter-sectoral coordination
  • Adaptive governance
  • Sustainable land management
  • Conserved areas/ protected areas management
  • Wildlife and habitat conservation
  • Development planning
  • Standards/ Labeling/ Guideline
  • Laws enforcement/ Regulation

Social inclusion

  • Local community/CSOs
  • Women

Gender equality

  • Women's access to and control over resources
  • Women decision making

Gender result effectiveness scale



  • People pathway
  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  • 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction
  • 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use

Conventions and protocols

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs)

Private sector(s)


Hot topic

  • Structural/system transformation
  • Nature-based solution

Project description

Gansu Province is located in north western China with a total land area of 425,800 km2. About 70% of its territory is hilly or mountainous and 75% suffers from drought. It is geographically and climatically diverse, including an eastern monsoon region, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and the northwest arid zone. It is in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and Yellow River basins with inland rivers in the west, experiencing both subtropical and temperate climates with annual rainfall ranging from 40mm to more than 1000mm. The elevation lies between 1500m and 3000m in the main. These unique geographical conditions have given birth to its highly diversified flora and fauna - Gansu Province has more than 4,000 species of higher plants and 834 species of wild animals. The West Qinling Mountains-Minshan Mountains landscape is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot, both within China and worldwide . It is located in the Bailongjiang basin in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The West Qinling Mountains form part of the Qinling Mountains, a geographical divide between the south and north of China. The biome in this region is characterized by a south-north transitional feature with extremely rich biodiversity. The Minshan Mountains are listed as one of the WWF Global 200 Ecoregions, a biodiversity hotspot of global significance, and included in the 25 biodiversity hotspot areas defined by Conservation International. Many Chinese endemic species are distributed in the Bailongjiang area. Surveys and incomplete statistics indicate that Over 100 species in the IUCN Red List (87 animal and 15 plant species) occur in the West Qinling Mountains-Minshan Mountains landscape (including giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Vulnerable), golden snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus roxellana (Endangered), takin Budorcas taxicolor (Vulnerable), Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus (Critically Endangered), Forest musk deer Moschus berezovskii (Endangered) and Tibetan Black Bear Ursus thibetanus (Vulnerable). Other threatened species occur in different landscapes in Gansu Province, including the snow leopard Panthera uncia (Vulnerable) in the Qilian Mountains, Bactrian Camel Camelus bactrianus (Critically Endangered) and Przewalski's horse Equus ferus przewalskii (Endangered) in the Tengger Desert. The last two species as well as Saiga antelope Saiga tatarica (Critically Endangered) are being reintroduced to Gansu. The integrity and connectivity of Gansu's forested landscapes is threatened by both infrastructure development and unsustainable land management, while lack of sufficient PA management capacity and systemic weaknesses in the PA system relating to the legal and regulatory framework, inadequate safeguards for sectoral development planning, land tenure and management jurisdiction, limited PA categories, community engagement and provision of local benefits, and sustainable financing for management have constrained the effectiveness of conservation efforts. There is currently a lack of awareness and knowledge of the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) approach to spatial conservation efforts and inadequate attention to representation of KBAs in the provincial PA system. Although Gansu is home to a range of endangered and endemic species, there are no provincial level conservation and restoration plans to guide effective species conservation efforts. Therefor, Gansu accelerated the construction of the comprehensive pilot area of the national ecological security barrier, implementation of giant panda, Qilian Mountain National Park pilots, as well of the implementation of the project, all of which are important initiatives to eliminate above mentioned threats and barriers. The implementation of the GEF project will assist Gansu province to promote conservation of biodiversity and eco-system. The Project Objective is: to strengthen the conservation of globally significant biodiversity in Gansu Province through improving the legal and institutional framework, reforming and mainstreaming the protected area system, enhancing habitat connectivity and reducing key threats.The project will achieve 1) improved legal and institutional framework for protected areas (PAs), Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and globally threatened species, and mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation in provincial planning; 2) strengthened West Qinling Mountains-Minshan Mountains protected area and ecological corridor network and reduction of threats; 3) knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation and gender mainstreaming through strengthening sectoral coordination, PA network, stakeholder participation, especially participation of peasants and herdsmen, and livelihood development, and through innovating conservation model. The project will establish a PA management model with international perspective, protect the rare and endangered wildlife in Gansu, servicing construction of beautiful Gansu, contributing to conservation of globally significant biodiversity, and offering experience to other regions in the world.The project has extensive beneficiaries.The direct project beneficiaries include provincial and local government agency staff including nature reserve staff who improved their knowledge and skills on biodiversity conservation due to the project – at least 750 (40% female); and local community members participating in wildlife conservation, habitat management efforts and sustainable livelihood interventions at selected sites (at least four villages, one at each nature reserve – 3,802 direct beneficiaries from 882 households, of which 60% will be women).The indirect project beneficiaries include:Improved protection of forest and other natural habitats in Gansu province achieved through the combined impacts of all project components will ensure the sustainability of ecosystem services that contribute directly to the provincial and national economy. In addition, in view of Gansu's position in the upper reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze river basins, indirect environmental benefits (watershed services, regulation of floods, etc.) would benefit millions of people downstream through sustainable and climate-resilient management of these landscapes. Ecosystem-based adaptation resulting from improved habitat protection and connectivity will support increased resilience of local communities dependent upon natural resources as well as biodiversity.

USD $2,752,294

Grant amount

USD $18,045,000

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($2,752,294)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of China

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation